Gigabyte EX38-DS4 ReviewMakaveli - February 19, 2008
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The Gigabyte EX38-DS4 utilizes the X38 chipset from Intel. The motherboard features a silent cooling system with rather large heatsinks on both the PWM and the northbridge. Notice that the southbridge is not connected via a heat pipe to the northbridge but rather, it is cooled by its own heatsink. On the back of the motherboard, you’ll see a copper backplate where the northbridge is. This setup allows the northbridge to dissipate heat in multiple directions.
The rear I/O panel has a surplus of connectivity, which is a real plus. The EX38-DS4 has eight USB 2.0/1.1 ports, a PS/2 connector for a mouse and keyboard, a coaxial S/PDIF Out connector, one optical S/PDIF Out connector, two IEEE 1394a ports, two RJ-45 LAN ports, and six audio jacks for 7.1 audio. The eight USB 2.0/1.1 ports are the most USB ports that I have ever seen on a motherboard’s rear I/O panel, so I was impressed by that.
The DS4 has two PCI-E 16x slots, two standard PCI slots, and three 1x PCI slots. ATI’s Crossfire X technology is supported by this motherboard as well. Many sound cards and Wi-Fi cards use PCI 1x slots so you can tell that Gigabyte really planned for the future by placing more than one PCI 1x slot on this motherboard.
You’ll find six SATA II ports on the bottom of the motherboard, all of the front panel pins, and two onboard USB 2.0 headers. The lime green IDE port is the only IDE connector you’ll find on the DS4 since SATA is the predominant technology for optical drives and hard drives. The southbridge chipset is the Intel ICH9R and is cooled by its very own heatsink.