Motherboard Guide

Gigabyte GA-965P-DS4 Rev 2.0 review

Gigabyte GA-965P-DS4 Rev 2.0 (Intel P965)

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GA-965P-DS4 Rev 2.0

Features

The original GA-965P-DS4 was a step below Gigabyte's flagship GA-965P-DQ6 board with almost the same feature set, but without the 'overkill' components like the 12-phase PWM, eSATA connectors, Crazy Cool and Quad BIOS. It also came with the value Realtek ALC883 HD Audio CODEC compared to the ALC888DD of the GA-965P-DQ6. With the new GA-965P-DS4 (Rev 2.0), PCB circuitry has been tweaked and you can visibly see that they've replaced all the inductors onboard with shielded variants. Besides the shielded inductors, two other significant changes include the upgrading of the onboard LAN chip from a Marvell 88E8053 to the newer 88E8056 and bumping the audio chipset to ALC888 for better audio performance. The GA-965P-DQ6 still has the best onboard audio of the series though, as the ALC888DD features additional Dolby Digital Live.

Besides these changes, the GA-965P-DS4 (Rev 2.0) is a performance LGA775 motherboard featuring the Intel P965 and ICH8R chipset combo. The board is also capable of supporting CrossFire dual GPU configurations with two PCIe x16 slots. However, since the P965 is a single GPU chipset by nature, the second PCIe x16 slot (orange) operates at x1/x4 speeds and shares the same bus with the three PCIe x1 expansion slots, controlled by an internal switch. This means that if you have a dual GPU setup, all three available PCIe x1 slots will stop functioning as the PCI Express lanes are routed to the graphics slot.

With the ICH8R Southbridge, the GA-965P-DS4 (Rev 2.0) has six native SATA 3.0Gbps connections with RAID support, plus a Gigabyte SATA 2 controller (a re-badged JMicron JMB363) that provides one Ultra ATA 133 and two additional SATA 3.0Gbps ports (also RAID capable) for a total of eight SATA ports. It also features three FireWire-400 ports through the Texas Instruments TSB43AB23 chipset in addition to the Realtek ALC888 audio and Marvell 88E8056 PCIe Gigabit LAN mentioned above.

There aren't any real significant changes between the GA-965P-DS4 (Rev 1.0) and the new GA-965P-DS4 (Rev 2.0) software wise. As a confirmation, we popped over the Gigabyte's website and found that both boards share the same BIOS - not just the same BIOS number, but the exact same files, so users that already have Rev 1.0 have nothing really to be worked up about. New buyers however, would be pleased to note of the Rev 2.0's slightly updated hardware components, so ensure that you are getting the latest GA-965P-DS4 revision from your retailer.


Layout

The overall layout and design of the GA-965P-DS4 is the same as the GA-965P-DQ6 for both Rev 1.0 and Rev 2.0 PCBs. They have the same Silent-Pipe heat-pipe setup, but instead of the large Crazy Cool back plate of the GA-965P-DQ6, the GA-965P-DS4 (Rev 2.0) has two smaller heatsink blocks at the bottom of the board localized for the Northbridge and Southbridge chips only. Like most enthusiast boards today that go with a heat-pipe solution, fitting third-party CPU coolers are subjected to the clearance of the heat-pipes.

For quite some time now, Gigabyte has provided their boards with two physical BIOS chips for backup and recovery. The GA-965P-DS4 (Rev 2.0) now also includes what Gigabyte calls Quad BIOS; originally only available on the GA-965P-DQ6. Quad BIOS adds two more soft copies of the BIOS on the recovery CD and HDD (via Gigabyte's Xpress BIOS Rescue hidden HDD partition) for additional protection.