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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [08.30.06]
Manufactured by: Gigabyte


Board Layout

We'll try something different with looking at the layout of these boards this time. I'll look at each section of both boards at the same time. The P965 one will be first each time:

Both boards have the exact same PCI layout, which is good, because it's an excellent layout. Three PCI slots is still required, as most people will want to use a good soundcard and probably a WiFi adapter. That leaves one extra PCI slot for something else. Using PCI-E 1X slots as 'spacers' was a good idea too, as it leaves plenty of room below the graphics slot for a huge double-wide video card. Nobody uses those things anyway ;)

Once again, layout is very similar between the two boards near the SATA port cluster. One criticism I have at this point is that the IDE header is near the bottom of the board, which will likely cause problems for those using large ATX cases. Due to the maximum allowed length of IDE cables, you might have to lower your optical drives a bit to reach.

The GA-965P-DS3's ICH8 southbridge required a heatsink, but only a small one in this case. It is low-profile, fanless, and tucked out of the way of the video card.

Both boards feature excellent header placement, with all USB headers along the very bottom of the board. Some motherboards put them between the PCI slots, which wreaks havok on airflow between PCI cards. Audio headers are also neatly tucked away. The GA-P945-S3's floppy port is placed awkwardly, but it's doubtful you'll ever use it.

The front panel header on both boards is colour-coded and very well labeled, so that gets huge bonus points from me!

One thing I don't like about Gigabyte boards is the Clear CMOS header has only 2 pins. That means there is no jumper, so to clear the CMOS you must find a jumper of your own to close the 2 pins, or get in there with a screwdriver.

Next Page: (Board Layout Part 2)