Gigabyte X48T-DQ6 Reviewccokeman -
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The Gigabyte X48T-DQ6 is an ATX form factor board built around the Intel X48 northbridge and ICH9 southbridge chipset for use with Intel socket 775 processors. The X48T-DQ6 offers support for 1600MHz bus processors (ex. QX9770), DDR3 1900/1600/1333/1066/800/MHz, and XMP memory module support with a maximum capacity of eight gigabytes. This motherboard uses Dynamic Energy Saver technology to reduce the power consumption of the processor in low demand situations. Ultra Durable 2 construction uses components designed to run cooler, which offers increased reliability and accuracy, as well as a longer life span. Prominently on the front side of the motherboard is the Ultra Cool heatpipe assembly to help cool the chipsets and power regulation circuits. The backside uses two heatsinks to increase the cooling capacity of the board. In comparison to its DDR2 based brethren, the X48T-DQ6 is just slightly different. These items I will point out as I come upon them.
The heatsinks on the back side of the board are called affectionately "Crazy Cool." The design is meant to more effectively deal with the heat generated from the CPU and northbridge socket of the motherboard. Gigabyte claims that this design enhances cooling performance by 50%. The one negative I saw with this design was installing aftermarket heatsinks or water blocks that use a backplate to strengthen the mount. But those fears were allayed when I took a closer look and realized what the small screws in the accessory pack were for. The southbridge uses the same additional cooling as the CPU socket and northbridge.
The I/O panel on the X48T-DQ6 offers a wealth of connectivity options. PS/2 connections are available for the mouse and keyboard, Optical and Coax S/PDIF out connections, two 1394a ports, two RJ45 Gigabit LAN jacks, eight, yes I said eight, USB2.0/1.1 ports and the six audio jacks for the realtek 7.1 HD sound.
Expansion capabilities include three x1 PCI-E slots, two standard PCI slots and two x16 PCI-E 2.0 slots that are Crossfire X capable and run in a true 16x X 16x configuration. Not having changed from the DDR2 version of the board is the location of the Clear CMOS jumper pins and the CMOS battery. Reaching these items with a dual GPU setup could be an issue. A plus is the fact that the board recovers from a failed overclock extremely well.
Most of the internal connections run across the bottom and right side of the board. From the left to right there are the parallel jack, the S/PDIF in connection, Ttrusted Platform Module connection and serial port connection. Further along there is a fan header, a single 1394 Firewire header, two USB headers and the color coded front panel connection header. The SATA connections all fall on the front right corner of the X48T-DQ6, and there are a total of eight 3Gb/s ports available. Six controlled by the ICH9 southbridge and two controlled by the Gigabyte SATA2 controller. The single IDE connection falls in between the SATA ports.
Moving on up to the top of the right hand side of the board are the floppy drive connection, the 24-pin ATX power plug and the four DDR3 DIMM slots supporting eight gigabytes of DDR3 1900/1600/1333/1066/800MHz memory, including XMP memory modules. Of course, the difference between the two boards is the memory support, DDR3 vs. DDR2. The DIMM slot colors are another point of difference, orange and yellow for the DDR2 version, pink and green for the DDR3 version. Right next to the DIMM slots are a series of LEDs. These LEDs are used in conjunction with the DES software to show real time energy savings and efficiencies during usage.
The CPU socket area is quite clear of the clutter surrounding many of the high performance motherboards on the market. This makes for an easy install of large CPU heatsinks. The X48T-DQ6 uses the same twelve phase power supply design that the DDR2 version uses. As part of the Ultra Durable 2 design, Low RDS (on) MOSFETs, ferrite core chokes and solid SMD capacitors are used to provide a stable and efficient power supply to the CPU. What does this mean for the end user? For a start, lower component temperatures, increased lifetime and reduced power loss.
The X48T-DQ6 uses basically the same SilentPipe cooling system as the X48-DQ6. By basically, I mean just that. The heatsink used on the PWM circuit and the southbridge are the same, but not the heatsink covering the X48 northbridge. Gigabyte has improved the cooling to this chipset by using a larger heatsink. The heatsink is just shy of being one inch wider and should provide an increase in the cooling capacity of the Silent Pipe system. The rest of the heatpipe assembly is the same as on the X48-DQ6. The blocks are solid copper and start at the southbridge, interconnected via heatpipes to the northbridge and PWM circuits to discharge the heat out the back of the I/O panel. By using this design, Gigabyte claims an increase of up to 50% in cooling performance.