GIGABYTE 965P-DS3 Motherboard Review :: 965P-DS3 Features

10-09-2006 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun
Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 Spec Sheet
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Motherboard Photo
Part NumberGA-965P-DS3
Price CheckFind Best Price
ChipsetIntel P965 Express ICH8
North BridgeIntel 82P965 MCH
SocketLGA775 Socket
Processor TypesCore 2 Extreme, Core 2 Duo
Number of CPUs1
Front Side Bus1066/800/533MHz
Memory TypeDDR2
Memory ChannelsDual
Maximum Memory8GB
External GraphicsPCI Express x16
IGP None
South BridgeIntel 82801HB ICH8
SATA3.0 GB/s
RAID0, 1
Expansion Slots
Form FactorATX
Motherboard Photo

The 965 chipset was launched by Intel in May of this year to coincide with the Core 2 CPU launches. The earlier 975X chipset supports the new Core 2 CPUs on the high-end, but the new CPUs required a mainstream chipset to support it, as Intel released a full line of CPUs on the 65 nanometer process, necessitating a new chipset. The 965 chipset supports the new Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme CPUs, as well as the older CPUs on the Socket LGA-775 platform.

GIGABYTE 965P-DS3 Motherboard Review CPU Socket

CPU Socket

GIGABYTE 965P-DS3 Motherboard Review DIMM slots

DIMM slots

The 965 chipset dropped support for DDR memory from the Intel chipset. DDR memory is for all intents and purposes dead in the computer market, as both AMD and Intel support DDR2 memory on their chipsets. The GIGABYTE board sports four DIMM slots, the norm on motherboards today, except for the odd mini-ATX boards. The 965 board supports up to 8 GB of 400/533/667/800 MHz memory. Windows XP 32-bit can only address 4GB so be sure to use 64-bit Windows XP or Linux if you have 8GB.

Multiple graphics cards on a motherboard have gone back into vogue with the launch of NVIDIA's SLI chipsets and ATI's Crossfire chipsets. Intel decided to support multiple graphics cards with their 975X high-end chipset. The 965 chipset supports Crossfire, as NVIDIA refuses to let any but their own boards officially support SLI. The 965-DS3 board has only one PCI Express x16 slot and doesn't therefore support Crossfire. I mention it because the chipset is new and hasn't been reviewed on before.

GIGABYTE 965P-DS3 Motherboard Review PCI slots

PCI slots

GIGABYTE 965P-DS3 Motherboard Review PCI Express

PCI Express

GIGABYTE 965P-DS3 Motherboard Review PCI Express x16

PCI Express x16

The expansion slots that GIGABYTE included with this board are interesting, to say the least. A single PCI Express x16 slot is present for the graphics card, three PCI Express x1 slots are present for PCI Express x1 devices, and three PCI slots comprise the expansion room on the board. It is interesting to note that the board has six expansion slots, as sometimes board manufacturers only include five or less, due to multiple graphics cards support.

GIGABYTE 965P-DS3 Motherboard Review SATA ports

SATA ports

GIGABYTE 965P-DS3 Motherboard Review FDD connector

FDD connector

GIGABYTE 965P-DS3 Motherboard Review IDE connector

IDE connector

GIGABYTE 965P-DS3 Motherboard Review RAID


GIGABYTE 965P-DS3 Motherboard Review GIGABYTE SATA controller

GIGABYTE SATA controller

SATA (Serial ATA) drives are becoming more and more prevalent, replacing IDE hard disks, as the SATA interface allows for higher transfer rates and more drives than the IDE interface. GIGABYTE outfitted their 965-DS3 board with six SATA ports, two above the norm. Many motherboards come with more than four ports, some with less, but the vast majority has four. An IDE port and a floppy drive controller make up the remaining drive expansion on the board.

Audio driver shots

GIGABYTE 965P-DS3 Motherboard Review
GIGABYTE 965P-DS3 Motherboard Review
GIGABYTE 965P-DS3 Motherboard Review
GIGABYTE 965P-DS3 Motherboard Review
GIGABYTE 965P-DS3 Motherboard Review

GIGABYTE 965P-DS3 Motherboard Review CD In and SPDIF


Onboard audio is provided by a REALTEK ALC883 CODEC. This is an excellent integrated audio solution that fully supports Intel's High Definition Audio standard that was introduced with the 925x chipset in 2004. REALTEK is quite popular among motherboard manufacturers with the majority of the onboard sound coming from this company. HDA offers support for 7.1 surround sound natively, multiple audio streams, and Dolby Digital surround sound support.

GIGABYTE 965P-DS3 Motherboard Review Rear Panel I/O

Rear Panel I/O

The rear panel I/O is where the motherboard manufacturers either sink or swim in the eyes of many enthusiasts. A minimum of four USB 2.0 ports is required for the average computer user, as keyboards, mice and many other devices use the USB interface. GIGABYTE outfitted the back panel with 4 USB 2.0 ports, a serial Port (COMA), a RJ-45 jack for the onboard LAN, a S/PDIF Out connection (coaxial cable), a PS/2 mouse, a PS/2 keyboard and a parallel port along with the 6 audio jacks for the onboard sound.