Motherboard Guide

Gigabyte GA-G1975X review

Gigabyte GA-G1975X (Intel 975X Express)

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With little competition over the past two years, NVIDIA's nForce family of core logic chipsets have been firmly entrenched as the best there is for the AMD platform and because of this, the only gaming setup to be considered is usually a NVIDIA SLI solution. Loyal Intel fans who are looking for dual graphics performance will also have to look towards NVIDIA's nForce4 SLI and SLI X16 Intel Edition chipsets for their fix. If you find anything wrong with this scenario, it is that NVIDIA has the high-end market cornered for both GPU and chipset. Sure ATI has great cards out, but there has been little support for CrossFire capable platforms and ATI's own Radeon Xpress 200 chipset series isn't really up to par in the high-end space to offer any real threat to the nForce4 series. ATI's next big thing is the RD580 platform featuring dual PCIe X16 lanes, but since this chipset hasn't been released yet, it doesn't come into the picture here.

So with Intel's recent launch of their 975X Express chipset, there is finally some competition, even if it's only on the Intel front. The 975X Express is actually a chipset refresh of their current 955X Express, much like what the NVIDIA nForce4 SLI X16 is to the nForce4 SLI. The only main difference is in the graphics department. The 975X Express supports configurable PCI Express lanes to allow splitting the PCIe x16 link into two PCIe x8 links for a balanced dual graphics setup. Of course, this isn't incredibly exciting since the nForce4 SLI has supported the same feature for over a year. However, it is the first Intel chipset to do so and with it comes along the long promised dream of a non-NVIDIA SLI or non-ATI CrossFire solution. Sadly, NVIDIA has since stated that they will only allow and support SLI based setups on their own nForce4 SLI/SLI X16 chipsets, but since ATI imposes no such restrictions, what we have is a native high-end ATI CrossFire ready chipset.

This is precisely why we are excited about the new Gigabyte GA-G1975X motherboard that landed in our labs. Based on a new design and branding, the GA-G1975X is set to take over as Gigabyte's flagship Intel motherboard for enthusiasts and gamers. With a chipset revamp and a design/feature overhaul that differs from their past motherboard offerings, the GA-G1975X Express introduces a new G1-Turbo series. We'll get to the nitty gritty details of this new series on the following page, but before that, have a feel of what the board and its impressive package has to offer:-

  • 5 x SATA data cables
  • 2 x SATA power converter cable (dual plugs)
  • 1 x 80-conductor Ultra ATA data cable
  • 1 x floppy drive data cable
  • 1 x SLI high-speed digital link interface bridge
  • IEEE 1394a (2 ports) and USB 2.0 (2 ports) bracket
  • Audio surround module with S/PDIF interfaces
  • I/O shield
  • Driver CDs
  • Hardware installation guides