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  • SodaAnt - Friday, December 14, 2012 - link

    I've never been sure why motheboard manufacturers continue to insist on skinning their main windows software instead of just using the default interface options, which in my opinion would go a long way to making their software not look like it was released for windows XP. Reply
  • Flunk - Friday, December 14, 2012 - link

    I always figured that they did that so the software looked like a 6th grade computer project. That way you know that they have to be good at hardware, otherwise who would buy it with such ugly software? Reply
  • arthur449 - Monday, December 17, 2012 - link

    That's the best rationale I've heard yet. Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, December 14, 2012 - link

    Should 6 SATA cables really be counted as a plus? With the exception of first time builders doesn't everyone already have a huge number of excess cables from older stuffed into their parts box? Reply
  • JonnyDough - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    Agreed. It might be a bit of a PITA to order cables, especially for first time builders but it would be great not creating more garbage. I think we're disposing of enough already, don't you? Just consider that you can't go anywhere on earth without finding trash on the shore. Reply
  • arthur449 - Monday, December 17, 2012 - link

    Either way, we don't have as many as we do power cables. Reply
  • klmccaughey - Sunday, December 30, 2012 - link

    I think the Sata ports make it a very interesting buy. With onboard sound/video that makes it an interesting option for a server / media server.

    I bet there are a lot of people (especially Anand readers) that have a second computer they user as server / bittorrent downloader / backup station all in one. I have one right next to me and had this board been around when I built it I would have been sold on it.

    I use this 'server' as a 4TB Raid5 backup station, it's plugged into one of my monitors so I can use it as a media station to watch stuff while I, um, work ;)

    I have been buying Gigabyte motherboards exclusively for about 8 years now. The reason for that is they are generally really reliable and overclock well. I build quite a lot of systems and they have not once let me down.

    Another use it for your HTPC or media PC.

    Their BIOS though is a bit annoying, but any time I contact their support they know what they are talking about and actually get back to you. ASRock would be my next choice.
  • PA Systems1 - Friday, July 05, 2013 - link

    As I now understand SATA, it requires an SATA 3 cable to get SATA 3 functionality. It is a good thing this mobo has 6 of those cables as I'm going from a build of SATA II to SATA III. Being so way behind the curve I don't have ANY of those updated cables. 6 cables is very generous and I'd thank Gigabyte for that should I choose this board. It's still a tossup between this one, MSI, Asrock or the higher priced ASUS V-Pro boards. I'm reading all these reviews very closely. There isn't any other board I've seen so far that offers 6 SATA cables. Anandtech is as comparable or better than Toms Hardware in providing in depth reviews and helpful information. Reply
  • jameserlay - Friday, December 14, 2012 - link

    Last paragraph, wouldn't it make more sense if it said "peace of mind" instead of "piece of mind"??? Reply
  • PA Systems1 - Friday, July 05, 2013 - link

    So we must give the writer/editor a piece of our mind. I've seen worse mistakes. Reply
  • ssj3gohan - Friday, December 14, 2012 - link

    It's funny that you should ask, because you're totally right: inside is a miniscule bit of silicon with a - by modern standards - very old-fashioned package. But the reason it's so small is simply legacy and second (and third, and fourth) suppliers. Many companies make these (and have tens of millions in stock laying around, the date code on the SIO chip on one of my july '12 boards reads second week of 2010!) and they are mostly interchangeable between mfgrs. If one runs out of stock or asks a fraction of a cent more, they can shop around at the next corner for a better deal without having to respin the board.

    And also: on any motherboard there is a ridiculous amount of space. ATX boards rarely have better than 40% fill factor, you can fit at least twice as much stuff on there. There is no need to use smaller chips.

    The reason not to ditch these chips at all is because it allows for any sort of high-voltage power/interface stage to be delegated to this cheap external chip. It's a huge pain to build 3.3 or even 5V buffers into a mostly 1.05V chip (i.e. chipsets), especially if they also need to have proper ESD protection circuitry. That's stuff that takes up a lot of expensive silicon area. Just having one chip that interfaces everything high voltage hugely simplifies the design of a motherboard. Note that it's not just legacy parallel/serial port connections, but also LEDs, fan control, measuring voltages and even power conversion interfacing that these chips can do.
  • klmccaughey - Sunday, December 30, 2012 - link

    Yup, exactly. They probably have a lot of that silicon not standard transistors / circuitry, but more for voltage and power regulation. It's a bit like a 1/4 inch bolt - industry standard and no need to change it. Reply
  • ssj3gohan - Friday, December 14, 2012 - link

    Haha, I see you responded to the complaints of a couple of people on power consumption (among which I have also had my say in the comments of one of your earlier reviews), but your response is not entirely satisfactory IMO.

    You say that it's the relationship between the numbers that we should look at to get an idea of which is more efficient than the other, but the relationship is not linear and not indicative of what a consumer will get! I build extremely efficient computers (5.4-15W idle, typically) and these absolute differences in power consumption still carry over to low power computers as well: employing a 10W more power hungry motherboard in a 15W computer means my efficiency goes down the drain, whereas on a 150W idle dual-graphics monster PC it doesn't matter one bit. What people need to know is the individual power draw (or losses) of components, not a number that is obfuscated by many, many other uncharacterized components with little or no links to information on their share of the power consumption pie - or influence on power consumption on this particular part!

    Second, I know from my experience with these boards that these power consumption numbers mean not a damned thing without the context of which BIOS/EFI settings you used, as well as how well you installed current drivers and such things. Or even what services are running at the time of measurement. One faulty setting can absolutely ruin power consumption, it's a sad fact of life.

    We, as readers, have absolutely no way of comparing your findings to anyone else, probably not even to your own other reviews. The only way to have robust power consumption figures is to have DC measurements of isolated system components, with known settings (e.g. 'stock bios F1, no modifications, running windows 8 fully idle, no active background services') and verified use states (i.e. 'system running in ACPI C2'). It's a lot to ask all at once, but waving away the extreme nonorthogonality of your measurements is not the direction I want to see the increasingly important segment of power consumption to go.
  • Parhel - Friday, December 14, 2012 - link

    How is power consumption becoming "increasingly important" for ATX desktop motherboards? I'm not seeing it. Reply
  • klmccaughey - Sunday, December 30, 2012 - link

    It is important for always on devices. If you are anything like me you have a lot of computer equipment about the house. I had the guy come round to do an Electricity provider switch-over and he did a few measurements and calculation for me. The computer power added up to a hell of a lot more than I expected.

    Energy prices are rising world-wide and there is a big push on in many sectors to get power consumption down and stop wasting so much. Initially I was a bit sceptical, but the more oil/gas goes up each year the more I am taking it seriously.

    If this is to be used as an always on media server or Raid board, I would actually be checking to make sure it isn't a power hog.
  • ggathagan - Friday, December 14, 2012 - link

    As you clearly understand, it IS a lot to ask all at once.
    The granularity you desire in this particular area of motherboard testing is well outside of the scope of these reviews, especially when factoring in all of the variables that you mention.
    There are time limitations, both on the part of the reviewer, as well as the part of the manufacturer.

    If you feel this particular arena of testing is so important, might I suggest starting your own site and performing reviews that focus on the details of power consumption you consider to be important?

    Or perhaps you could ask an existing review site if they would be interested in beginning a partnership that would allow you to produce a review addendum that covers these details on the boards that they've reviewed.

    I would think that power efficiency would be of particular interest to sites that focus on HTPC systems or sites that focus on low noise systems.

    Just as Anandtech has branched out over the years with regard to the areas of technology it covers, I can also see reviewing various products with this sort of focus in mind.

    This is especially true as the desire to reduce the size of systems tends to run into limitations due to power consumption and, by extension, heat production.
  • ssj3gohan - Friday, December 14, 2012 - link

    I kind of do already have a site on these subjects, although I don't do reviews, rather I push on the extremes of PC power consumption:

    On the face of it, I don't actually ask for that much extra testing, I mostly ask for reviewers (in general) to publish materials that show that they understand power consumption completely and have done the things that need to be done to get consistent, comparable results. This basically means understanding power states, measuring power consumption at true steady-state and verifying that all power saving methods are operating as they should. Only then can you get truly comparable power consumption results.

    The bit that is really hard to do is to completely isolate motherboard DC power consumption and losses. I don't expect this to happen anytime soon, but at least the DC power measurement can be done. That alone would be a big, big improvement.

    Even for ATX boards, power consumption is an issue for enough people and is something that has a place in a proper in-depth review. But these power consumption measurements should really mean something, and what I am seeing right now is measurements that can probably go either way depending on what the reviewer did - which is a black box to me.
  • Tech-Curious - Friday, December 14, 2012 - link

    Fascinating blog -- and amazing work on those custom builds of yours.

    That said, I think you're more concerned about power efficiency than ... uh, anyone else in the world. And you're probably more knowledgeable about computer power consumption than most anyone who visits this site, including the people who write reviews for it.

    None of which is to say that Anandtech (and similar hardware-review sites) couldn't or shouldn't try to improve their power measurements, but we must acknowledge that the audience for Anand's reviews isn't primarily concerned with power measurements. Power consumption matters, but it isn't the meat and potatoes of the meal here; it's more like a side salad.
  • klmccaughey - Sunday, December 30, 2012 - link

    Pwned ;) Reply
  • popej - Friday, December 14, 2012 - link

    Your results for THD+N look bad. Most probably are limited by input quality. Audio input on motherboard usually isn't used for anything more demanding then simple microphone, so its quality isn't important for manufacturer. Would be more interesting to measure output only, using good reference audio card or USB adapter.

    Result dependency on frequency isn't right either. Probably something is wrong in configuration, maybe drivers do poor resampling of audio signal.
  • Beenthere - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    This mobo looks pretty nice IMO. The sad reality is that what one person finds a mobo necessity other folks may find unnecessary be it 4+ fan headers, dual locking RAM, an IDE port, (28) or more USB and SATA ports, dual BIOS chips, etc. While some of these features are useful they all add to the price.

    The same applies to the BIOS. UEFI is basically for people who don't know how to use a standard BIOS. You're not going to find either BIOS design that makes everyone happy. Mobo makers deliver what they believe most consumers will like, particularly on the high priced mobo models.

    As far as the VRM circuit is concerned, Gigabyte does need to upgrade this on all of their AM3+ mobos so that consumers can run an overclocked FX-8000 series CPU without overheating the VRM circuit and having it throttle the CPU frequency. This VRM issue has been documented and reported to Gigabyte.
  • Gothmoth - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    has this gigabyte board AHCI as default or IDE?

    most gigabyte boards are still defaulted to IDE.. stupid for todays HDD´s and SSD´s.
  • geforcefly - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    On the overclocking page I noticed how high the voltages were pushed on the Trinity part. I remember 1.75v being a nominal voltage for a 180nm CPU... If the AMD CPUs didn't need so much voltage (which has been the same 1.4v for standard voltage since the 90nm Athlon 64) maybe they would use much less power for the same level of performance. Reply
  • Beenthere - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    Trinity laptop does not require a lot of voltage and performs fine.

    Trinity desktop is capable of using higher voltage for overclocking but in normal use it does not run hot nor draw a lot of power as it's only a 100W APU and that's the TDP for both the CPU and GPU segments under maximum load. This lower total power consumption of an APU is the reason why in the future most people will be using APUs instead of a discrete CPU/GPU as is currently the norm for enthusiast or performance oriented desktop PCs.

    You will be able to have as good or better performance with an APU - with lower power consumption and heat, compared to a highend discrete CPU/GPU package and the APU will cost much less than the discrete package.
  • just4U - Monday, December 17, 2012 - link

    I am pleased (overall) with this board although the price was a bit of a kicker. (we only had 4 choices at the time for trinity and all of them were a little pricey)

    Anyway... onto the problem...
    My Girlfriend plays a few mmo's and while waiting for a replacement videocard I setup the onboard video for her to use. Framerates were aceptable if you turned down the resolution and details. they would have been very playable if she didn't keep on disconnecting. I couldn't figure it out... still can't.. and it only happens when the onboard video is enabled. I keep hoping that Gigabyte will release a new bios so I can see if that solves what ever is going on but so far no luck. Not sure if this is a problem with the board, the onboard video.. or what. I've ruled out everything else.

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