Gigabyte GA-G1 975X: Will a Turbo Help the Pentium 4?

"The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook."

This quote from the American philosopher and pragmatist William James sums up our first look at the Gigabyte GA-G1 975X motherboard today. This is not a full review of the board, the 975X chipset, or their capabilities but a preview of the performance potential of this combination. We will fully review this feature rich board along with others based on the soon to be released Intel 975X chipset in the very near future.

Gigabyte's new series of G1-Turbo motherboards are designed specifically for gamers and overclockers. With the release of this series Gigabyte is concentrating on providing additional bios options, increased system performance, and improved feature sets for the computer enthusiast. The first release in this series is the Gigabyte GA-G1 975X that features the new Intel 975X chipset. This chipset is a follow-up to the Intel 955X that includes optimizations to the Intel Memory Pipeline technology, support for the upcoming 1066MHz processor system bus dual-core processors, and full support for graphic based PCI Express x16 lanes that can be configured as two PCI Express x8 slots for multi-view or GPU capability. The system currently supports ATI CrossFire technology and can support NVIDIA SLI technology in the future.

Besides the Intel 975X chipset, the main technology being introduced on this board is Gigabyte's exclusive Turbojet Technology that offers very effective heat dissipation from the processor, northbridge, and system memory sections of the board. The two front fans blow air over the system memory section with the two rear fans removing warm air from the northbridge and processor sections. Gigabyte has added additional heatsinks for the capacitors and the entire system is designed to work well with most aftermarket cooling solutions. We did not have an issue installing a Gigabyte G-Power heatsink/fan combination in our system. We will be comparing the thermal characteristics of this system to Asus's 8-phase power and fanless cooper heat pipe technology in the near future. However, after utilizing this board for the past few days we believe Asus's fanless heat exchange system is a more eloquent and desirable system for ensuring a quiet system.

The Gigabyte GA-G1 975X offers (2) physical PCI Express x16 slots, (2) 32bit PCI slots, and (2) PCI Express x4 slots. This design offers a very good balance of slots and allows for numerous add-in peripheral cards. However, in between the two x16 PCI Express slots are two 32bit PCI slots. This configuration could potentially render the first 32bit PCI slot useless when utilizing the first x16 PCI Express slot. We did not have any issues utilizing this slot with video cards containing single slot cooling systems but were unable to install a sound or network card upon installation of a NVIDIA 6800 Ultra or X850XT in the first x16 PCI Express slot. The combination of (2) PCI Express x16 slots and (2) PCI Express x4 slots allow the capability of running up to 4 VGA cards simultaneously. Also located in this area is the debug LED display and the C.R.S. (CMOS Reload Switch) system. The C.R.S. provides a CMOS default settings retrieval and auto system reboot capability. The push button activated switch allows the user to reload the CMOS default settings when the system is unable to boot up.

Let's quickly find out if the performance of this board is worthy of the "Turbo" designation.

Basic Features
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  • Spacecomber - Friday, November 11, 2005 - link

    From the article,

    quote:

    The CPU socket area has an ample amount of room for alternative cooling solutions. We utilized the stock Intel heat sink but also verified several aftermarket cooling systems would fit in this area during our tests. However, due to the Turbojet fan housings, installation of certain heatsinks could be problematic.


    Why not go ahead and report what aftermarket heatsinks did fit, and if you had any that didn't, mention those as well? It would also be helpful, and in line with the previous poster's comment about wanting to see the board installed in a case, to see what the motherboard would look like with a one of the popular oversized heatsinks mounted on the CPU. I think that this would go a long way to give a sense of scale to the pictures of how much room there is around the CPU socket and whether it is crowded by the "turbo" feature.

    Just a couple of wishes that might make a good review better.

    Keep up the good work.

    Space
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Friday, November 11, 2005 - link

    Hi,

    I will list out the heatsink/fans that fit and provide a case picture in the full review. I always test the motherboards in a typical mid-size ATX case and not on a test bench. I think utilizing a test bench does not account for installation, fitment, connection, or thermal issues. This is one area that I am convinced that if the board is not tested in a case that we are doing a disservice to the readership.

    Please email me if you want to a preview picture of the board in the case with a large Gigabyte or Thermaltake heatsink/fan setup installed already.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Friday, November 11, 2005 - link

    quote:

    how is putting a turbo on a scooter going to help?? ;)


    I was wondering how long it would take for that comment to be made. ;-> However, every little bit helps when you have a Pentium 4 at this time. :>

    Your statements about the fans are a concern of mine as well. We have the system running 24/7 with varying degrees of climate changes in the room at this time. I will report on any changes in the sound or vibration levels in the full article. Gigabyte has assured us the fan design under went rigorous testing before manufacturing commenced.
    Reply
  • tuteja1986 - Friday, November 11, 2005 - link

    I trust gigabyte : ) they are a cool company and i don't think the tiny fan would die. If i was going to buy a Intel CPU then i would difinitely buy this motherboard. I am hopping Gigabyte comes out with AMD 64 version but anyways this is a awesome motherboard that i would recommend to any wanting to have an Intel SLI setup :) Reply
  • xsilver - Friday, November 11, 2005 - link

    sorry if this offends you but you sound like a gigabyte plant

    most enthusists dont use gigabyte at all as their overclocking is usually mediocre

    and about the fans -- i know from expierience
    1 of those tiny fans after 5 months sounded like a blender and was much louder than everything in the entire system
    I cant imagine how bad 4 of them will be

    oh - and its not just gigabyte, most if not all 40mm fans suck, no wait, blow, no wait :P
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Friday, November 11, 2005 - link

    No offense taken. :-)

    Gigabyte is working diligently to establish their top tier motherboards as a choice of the enthusiast again. This board and bios was able to overclock our 840EE further than any other board we have tested to date. How it performs with a single core processor will be revealed in the full article. We also have updated bios from Asus so the results should be interesting. ;-)

    I am not totally convinced about the fan setup either but I promise you I am beating on them at this time. I think Asus's fanless heat exchange system is a more eloquent and desirable system. I will have a thermal comparison in the full review.
    Reply
  • Zebo - Friday, November 11, 2005 - link

    Gigabyte trying to cheat by 6Mhz x multi right out of the box? Crazy but not as crazy as those 4 whinny fans. All 40 & 60mm fans whine like crazy to move any air whatsoever, in the 4000-7000rpm range and why I take them off every chipset I've ever owned. (be sure and replace with large passive HS) But 4??!!? Well thankfully most PD buyers have a super tornado on processor to mask the whine...or add to it.

    Kudos to Intel for another great chipset supporting both x-fire and SLi.. Wish they'd make em for AMD processors too.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Friday, November 11, 2005 - link

    quote:

    Gigabyte trying to cheat by 6Mhz x multi right out of the box?


    I was upset about this and not because they are doing it as just about everyone else has had FSB creap also. What upset me was going to manual mode and entering 200FSB, seeing 200x16 on post, and then finding out through Everest or CPU-Z that it still was at 206FSB. I tried all settings up to 206 with the same result. I posted that comment in the test setup section but will go into further details in the full article. I would be careful of any future performance tests available on this board as it can be missed based upon how the bios reports the settings at post. I have relayed my concerns to Gigabyte. In fact, I am going to update the article at this time as it has just upset me once again. :(
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Friday, November 11, 2005 - link

    feeling a bit feisty this morning Gary?
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Friday, November 11, 2005 - link

    quote:

    feeling a bit feisty this morning Gary?


    Not now, :->

    Live and learn... This was my "first look or preview" type article and as such I am still learning. I appreciate the comments good or bad and will take them to heart for the next one. I certainly cannot improve or address the wants of the readership without honest feedback.

    We wanted to get a preview out on this board and more importantly the expected performance of the 975X chipset before the boards hit the market next week. There are several test comments I have noted for the full article about the board that were touched on but not fully detailed (some additional details added now)in the preview. We will also have single core testing, thermals, expanded audio testing (X-Fi and others), CrossFire results, and a couple of surprises coming up. I think the full article and additional testing will be well received (from an Intel user viewpoint).

    In this "First Look" we wanted to show the board and provide technical specifics about it so we can go straight to the additional testing and results in the full article along with providing details about the 975X chipset itself. Hopefully, we will have additional 975X boards to compare against also if time permits, if not we will follow up in a couple of weeks.

    As a side note- I am doing everything possible to test the Turbojet fan setup accurately. We did not publish Gigabyte's claims as to thermal improvements as we want to prove this in a typical user environment. Although initial results look very good regarding thermals I believe at this time Asus has the better overall solution.
    Reply

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