Gigabyte GA-EX38-DQ6 ReviewPropane - April 10, 2008
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There are many components that are included in a complete computer system, all of which are required for proper operation. However, there is one component that allows all of the other parts to interface with one another. This component is, of course, the motherboard. Motherboards allow the RAM, CPU, video card, hard drive(s), and everything else to talk to each other. As time has gone along, certain improvements have been made to motherboards, such as using solid capacitors, including power saving features, and providing the ability to modify almost any setting that controls voltage, bus speeds, etc.
The Gigabyte GA EX38-DQ6 is one of Gigabyte's higher end motherboards that uses Intel's X38 chipset. The motherboard has many features, including Blu-Ray and HD DVD audio support (and 7.1 + 2 channel output), 2Gigabit LAN (via Teaming), Ultra Cool Silent Pipe technology, ultra durable capacitors, chokes, and MOSFETs, and dynamic energy saving. Specially designed for 45nm processors, the EX38-DQ6 can run any Core 2 processor and can push the FSB up to 1600MHz and will push DDR2 RAM to 1200 MHz. In this review I am going to go through and look at and test every part of this motherboard thoroughly so you can know if it is the motherboard for you.
First, I would like to take a look at the packaging that Gigabyte chose to use for the EX38-DQ6 motherboard. This case is somewhat new to me and can also be found on the X48-DQ6. As the pictures show, the box is larger than the old box and is gold in color. A handle is also on the top of the case which could be helpful, especially if you bought the motherboard in a retail store. The front of the box lists some of the motherboard's main features, such as some major power savings and the X38 chipset that this board is based on. The back lists a lot more information about the board, and provides pictures of the motherboard and some cool graphs.
People have been becoming familiar with the door flap style packaging that comes on video game boxes and Gigabyte took that idea and used it on the packaging for the DQ6. Inside the flap is a lot of useful information about the board, so much information that it could keep you busy reading for a while. Everything from the Dynamic Energy Saver to the ferrite core chokes are covered on this flap, so no matter what level of understanding you have, you will probably find something to interest you. Also, you may have noticed the small window in the bottom right of the case. This is the actual motherboard and not just a picture. It was pretty cool to actually see the motherboard like this before I even opened the case.
Pulling the gold outer case off shows that the motherboard is enclosed in two pieces of plastic that fit the DQ6 snugly and a box of goodies are included underneath. The plastic case for the motherboard just comes right off without much effort, which is very nice.
On the next page I open up the accessory case and take a look at everything it contains.