Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 Motherboard Review :: GA-M59SLI-S5 Features

09-29-2006 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun
Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 Spec Sheet
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Part NumberGA-M59SLI-S5
ManufacturerGigabyte
Price CheckFind Best Price
DownloadsBIOS
Drivers
Manuals
ChipsetNvidia nForce 590 SLI
North BridgeNvidia nForce 590 SLI
SocketSocket AM2 (940)
Processor TypesAthlon 64X2, Athlon 64FX, Athlon 64, Sempron
Number of CPUs1
Front Side Bus1GHz HyperTransport Bus Link
Memory TypeDDR2
Memory ChannelsDual
Maximum Memory16GB
External GraphicsPCI Express x16
IGP
South BridgeNvidia nForce 590 MCP
Audio8-channel
IDE133/100/66/33
SCSINone
SATA3.0 GB/s
RAID0, 1, 0+1, 5
LAN10/100/1000
FirewireIEEE 1394a
USBUSB 2.0
Expansion Slots
BIOSAWARD
Form FactorATX
 

The AM2 platform is the replacement for the Socket 939 interface that the AMD Athlon 64 has resided since the launch. The key difference between Socket 939 and AM2 is added support for DDR2 memory. AMD launched a full range of AM2 compatible processors, mostly re-using the Socket 939 CPU frequency and cache sizes. The M59SLI-S5 supports all current AMD Athlon CPUs on the AM2 platform.


Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 Motherboard Review CPU Socket

CPU Socket

Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 Motherboard Review DIMM slots

DIMM slots


DDR2 memory support for computers was introduced in motherboards in 2004 with the Intel 925X chipset and LGA-775 platform. DDR2 has advantages over DDR1 in faster clock speeds, up to 1066MHz on memory currently, compared to DDR which was limited to about 650MHz, and a smaller and 240-pin memory DIMMs (Dual In-line Memory Modules) instead of 184-pin. DDR2 also brought higher latencies, meaning DDR1 often provides more memory bandwidth than DDR2 at the same operating frequency.

Gigabyte outfitted the M59SLI-S5 with four DIMM slots for up to 16GB of unbuffered non-ECC DDR2 memory. DDR2 667 and 800 are supported by this chipset with 1066MHz DDR2 just entering the market being the fastest available. The board only supports up to 4GB of memory when a Windows XP 32-bit is used, as that is the maximum amount of memory 32-bits can access. If you use Windows XP 64-bit or Linux, 16GB is addressable by the board.


Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 Motherboard Review PCI Express x16

PCI Express x16

Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 Motherboard Review PCI Express x16

PCI Express x16

Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 Motherboard Review PCI Express x1

PCI Express x1

Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 Motherboard Review PCI

PCI

Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 Motherboard Review Molex connector

Molex connector


SLI motherboards require 2 PCI Express x16 slots to operate in dual card mode. GIGABYTE decided to take it a step further, having 3 full-length PCI Express slots on the board. The middle slot is only capable of x8 operation, while the outer two slots can operate at full x16 mode when there are two NVIDIA video cards present. The third slot is for operating up to 6 monitors at a time. This motherboard is perfect for the stock market watcher that wants the biggest possible display area, as they can spread the screen across 6 displays. Two PCI Express x1 slots are situated above and below the first full-length PCI Express slot and the middle slot. Rounding out the expansion on the board are two regular PCI slots for legacy devices.


Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 Motherboard Review IDE connector

IDE connector

Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 Motherboard Review SATA ports

SATA ports

Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 Motherboard Review SATA ports 5+6

SATA ports 5+6

Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 Motherboard Review SATA ports 7+8

SATA ports 7+8

Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 Motherboard Review GIGABYTE SATA2 controller

GIGABYTE SATA2 controller



Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 Motherboard Review NVIDIA MediaShield

NVIDIA MediaShield


Serial ATA hard disk drives have all but replaced IDE hard disks in the market today. It's important for the high-end motherboard to have as many SATA connectors as possible, for expansion purposes. The M59SLI-S5 has eight SATA connectors, a extremely large number. The most SATA devices I've ever seen on a motherboard is 10, but eight is enough for everyone. Six are controlled by the NVIDIA MCP, two are controlled by a Gigabyte SATA controller. A FDC and an IDE controller are also present for floppy disk and CD-ROM support on the board.


Audio Driver Shots


Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 Motherboard Review
Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 Motherboard Review
Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 Motherboard Review
Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 Motherboard Review
Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 Motherboard Review


Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 Motherboard Review Audio connectors

Audio connectors


Onboard audio on the board is provided by a Realtek ALC888D CODEC. This CODEC fully supports High Definition Audio, as introduced by Intel in 2004. The ALC888 has the following features, 10 DAC channels supporting 16/20/24-bit PCM format for 7.1 surround sound playback plus channels of independent audio (multiple streams), Two stereo ADCs support 16/24/24-bit PCM format, one for stereo microphone, one for legacy mixer recording, and 16/20/24-bit S/PDIF-OUT and S/PDIF-In with an optional bracket. Virtually every sound API except for Creative's EAX 3.0 4.0 and HD are supported by the ALC888.


Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 Motherboard Review Back Panel I/O

Back Panel I/O


The back panel I/O has two RJ-45 jacks for the onboard Gigabit LAN controlled by the MCP chips using two Marvell 88E1116 PHYs. NVIDIIA introduced DualNet with the nForce 590 SLI chipset. DualNet allows LAN teaming, meaning if one of the LAN ports goes down, another in the chain can take its place. Four USB 2.0 ports are on the I/O as well, the norm for a motherboard. A PS/2 Mouse, a PS/2 Keyboard, a Parallel port, a COM1 port, S/PDIF In and a Firewire port make up the rest of the back panel.