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


Audio Quality

As I mention in all my motherboard reviews, onboard audio used on most motherboards is crap. I can't put it any other way, sorry. In this review, I will include the results from the current top gaming soundcard, Creative X-Fi Fatal1ty. Although this is a $300 soundcard, you will get identical results from the "Extreme Music" version which is just around $100. Performance is about the same, too. After looking at these results, you can decide if $100 is a worthwhile upgrade from onboard audio.

We used the X-Fi as the input card in the RMAA tests, looping back when that particular card was tested. RMAA uses a word-based scale to describe performance. We translated these words to a scale of 1-6; 1 being "Very Poor" and 6 being "Excellent".

As expected, onboard audio on both Gigabyte boards is horrible when compared to a true high end audio card. Interestingly, the 945P-S3 scored lower in two tests. My guess is that both boards are very close between the "Poor" and "Good" quality marks.

At this point I would normally include audio performance results. However there seems to be a driver issue with the Rightmark 3D Sound software and the audio used on the Gigabyte boards, because neither board would work. RM3DS would report a score of 0% which of course is impossible. The sound does work on both boards, and I confirmed that there is the expected CPU hit when sound is enabled. I'm sorry, but we'll have to skip this test, this time around.

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