Gigabyte X48T-DQ6 Reviewccokeman - May 25, 2008
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With the price on performance DDR3 modules starting to drop down into the realistic realm, the switch to motherboards using DDR3 is starting to look more attractive for a performance based build. The Intel X48 based motherboards have been out now for a few months and are showing promise in the enthusiast realm. Supporting both DDR2 and DDR3 system memory, there are several choices to make. DDR2 is just downright cheap at the moment, so picking up four or even eight gigabytes of memory will probably cost as much as a two gigabyte set of performance DDR3. That being said, the performance potential of DDR3 based systems is starting to show its worth. So with the opportunity to try out Gigabyte's DDR3 X48 chipset based motherboard, the GA-X48T-DQ6, what better way to see if the performance potential can be realized by comparing the two head-to-head just to see if going the DDR3 route is indeed worth the expense.
The Gigabyte GA-X48T-DQ6 is an almost carbon copy of the X48-DQ6. It features the same "Ultra Durable 2" construction, using lower ESR solid SMD capacitors for a longer useful life span, Lower RDS (on) MOSFETs for reduced temperature through lower switching resistance, and ferrite core chokes for reduced power loss and EMI interference. "Ultra Cool" and "Crazy Cool" are coupled with Silent-Pipe cooling technology, which is said to offer up to a 50% cooling performance increase with this noiseless cooling solution, and DES (Dynamic Energy Savings) software is still used as a way to save on the energy consumed by the X48T-DQ6. While testing the DDR2 version of this board, the DES software was effective in reducing the energy consumed not just at idle, but under load as well. So just how will this comparison play out? Will the DDR2 version outperform it or will the X48T-DQ6 rise to the challenge?
Radically different from the previous Gigabyte packaging I have seen in the past, the X48T-DQ6 sports a new holographic look to the packaging. Nowhere to be seen is the standard white box with a splash of color. The front panel highlights the Ultra Durable 2 design of the X48T-DQ6 and features the use of LowerRDS (On) MOSFETs, ferrite core chokes and Lower ESR caps as part of the Ultra Durable 2 design. The Dynamic Enegy Saver touts a 70% power savings and 20% better power efficiency. Support for the latest 45nm products from Intel is supported on the X48T-DQ6. The rear panel displays additional information concerning the Ultra Durable 2 technology, as well as the Dynamic Energy Saving features. Graphs are used to show the savings that can be had from the use of the DES software and design.
Gigabyte uses a flip open design for the X48T-DQ6 box. Inside the flip up cover are the details on the DES and Ultra Durable 2 features, going into much greater detail. The heatpipe assembly and CPU socket are clearly visible through a clear opening in the box that allows for an up close inspection of the power circuitry and cooling components.
The inner box houses the X48T-DQ6. The board is packaged in a plastic clamshell instead of a static bag. This seems to be the way many higher end boards are now shipping. The additional box is what houses the documentation and accessory bundle.
Let's move on to see what the accessory bundle includes.