Basic Features

GIGABYTE GA-N680SLI-DQ6
Market Segment: High End Enthusiast - $279.99
CPU Interface: Socket T (Socket 775)
CPU Support: LGA775-based Pentium 4, Celeron D, Pentium D, Pentium EE, Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Extreme
Chipset: NVIDIA 680i SPP (C55XE) + 680i MCP (MCP55PXE)
Bus Speeds: Auto, 100 to 650 in 1MHz increments
Memory Ratios: Auto, Sync, 1:1, 5:4, 3:2
Memory Speed: 400MHz~1400MHz in various increments
PCIe Speeds: 100MHz~150MHz in 1MHz Increments
Core Voltage: Auto, 0.68750V to 2.375V in 0.00625V increments
FSB Options: Auto, Linked, Unlinked
CPU Clock Multiplier: Auto, 6x-11x in 1X increments - Core 2 Duo, downwards unlocked
Core 2 Extreme 6x-16X
DRAM Voltage: Auto, +025VV ~ +.775V in .025V increments
DRAM Timing Control: Optimal, Expert - 10 DRAM Timing Options
NB Voltage: Auto, +.05V ~ +.20V in .05V increments
SB Voltage: Auto, +.05V ~ +.35V in .05V increments
FSB Voltage: Auto, +.05V ~ +.35V in .05V increments
HT Link Voltage: Auto, +.05V ~ +.35V in .05V increments
Memory Slots: Four 240-pin DDR2 DIMM Slots
Dual-Channel Configuration
Regular Unbuffered Memory to 8GB Total
Expansion Slots: 2 - PCIe X16 (2-x16 electrical for SLI or Multi-GPU)
1 - PCIe X16 (1-x8 electrical)
1 - PCIe x1
3 - PCI Slot 2.2
Onboard SATA/RAID: 6 SATA 3Gbps Ports - 680i MCP
(RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5, JBOD)
4 SATA 3Gbps Ports - JMicron JMB363
(RAID 0, 1, 0+1, JBOD)
Onboard IDE: 1 ATA133/100/66 Port (2 drives) - 680i MCP
Onboard USB 2.0/IEEE-1394: 10 USB 2.0 Ports - 4 I/O Panel - 6 via Headers
3 Firewire 400 Ports by TI TSB43AB23 - 1 I/O Panel, 2 via Header
Onboard LAN: Marvell Gigabit Ethernet - PCI Express - 88E1116 PHY - 2 ports via 680i MCP
Marvell Gigabit Ethernet - PCI Express - 88E8056 - 1 port
Marvell Gigabit Ethernet - PCI Express - 88E8052 - 1 port
Onboard Audio: Realtek ALC888DD - 8-channel HD audio codec
Power Connectors: ATX 24-pin, 8-pin EATX 12V, 4-pin 12V Molex
I/O Panel: 1 x PS/2 Keyboard
1 x PS/2 Mouse
1 x Serial Port
1 x S/PDIF Optical - Out
1 x IEEE 1394a
1 x Audio Panel
4 x RJ45
4 x USB 2.0/1.1
BIOS Revision: Award F3B
Board Revision: v1.0

Gigabyte follows a trend they started in the GA-P965-DQ6 series of boards by offering a significant level of BIOS options for tweaking the board, with emphasis placed on the available memory and voltage settings. In order to reach the majority of these settings you must utilize the archaic Ctrl-F1 keyboard sequence. We figure Gigabyte is still utilizing this keyboard shortcut as they must have paid rights to it, or maybe they are hoping to license it to Apple when they release an iCtrlU device. Whatever the reason, we hope Gigabyte will discontinue its use shortly.

For those who have been using Intel based boards exclusively, Gigabyte displays the FSB speeds in the typical Intel lingo of 100~650MHz instead of the NVIDIA heritage speak of 400~2600 QDR. Our one drawback with the BIOS is the voltages are listed in +{x}V values, which can be confusing if you do not know what the base voltages are for the item selected. We generally found the board would do a very good job of setting the various voltages when Auto was selected until we wanted to go over a 30% overclock. We would then have to chose Manual and adjust the voltages, at times having to do several reboots to lock in the right settings when overclocking. Considering our previous experiences with other 680i boards and knowing what voltage settings generally worked when overclocking, such as 1.45V for FSB, this additional time spent going through a test trial was somewhat frustrating.

The board is fully featured and looks to be hunting bear when it comes to the option check off list. We believe the majority of additional features like the two extra LAN ports and four additional SATA ports would make this an ideal board for home/multimedia/office/gaming server. It would also work well as the center piece for a gaming system where storage, expansion slots, and networking are a priority over pure overclocking performance. The Realtek ALC-888DD offers full Dolby Digital Live and DTS connect support and Gigabyte tossed in IEEE-1394 support as well. With the included external cables you also have the choice of up to four e-SATA ports depending upon your drive configuration.



Gigabyte also includes a full suite of utilities for the board: EasyTune5, Download Center, Xpress Install, @BIOS, and Xpress BIOS Rescue. We found the @BIOS utility to be very handy for downloading and then updating the BIOS while in Windows. For those who are squeamish about updating their BIOS within Windows, Gigabyte has their Q-Flash utility built into the BIOS that allows updating from a floppy drive. Now we just need the ability to update from a USB flash memory drive instead.

EasyTune5 is probably one of the most useful utilities in the Gigabyte arsenal and allows for control of the FSB and certain voltages within Windows. We found the utility worked well for squeezing out those last few FSB increases, but we still found ourselves tweaking the BIOS the majority of the time. The PC Health monitor provided basic readings of the system temperatures along with voltages. The board offers limited support for the NVIDIA nTune utility that limited changes to certain memory settings and FSB rates only.

Index Board Layout and Features
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  • sirius4k - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    Overview in Gigabyte' website said there will be some eSATA (Quad eSATA or something) ports. On this preview... read panel indicates no eSATA ports :S
    ---
    No eSATA means going back to Striker Extreme... of course.
    Reply
  • yacoub - Friday, March 30, 2007 - link

    The reviews at NewEgg are tearing this board a gaping butthole. I'm staying away. :[ Reply
  • Gary Key - Monday, April 02, 2007 - link

    Every review at NewEgg was either a four or five star rating for this board. Where are the bad ones? Reply
  • Binkt - Monday, March 19, 2007 - link

    Can someone over there put in a few PCI-E RAID cards in those extra PCI-E slots and see if they function? The Areca SATA RAID cards (ARC-12x0ML) are what I'm looking at right now. Pretty please?!

    There is a rather cryptic FAQ entry on using PCI-E for "graphics" slots on Areca's website in regards to this subject. I'd just like some more physical validation before plunking down the green.
    Reply
  • erwos - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    Am I the only one who's totally and utterly confused as to why this board has four ethernet interfaces? I can see using two interfaces. I could even contemplate three for really weird setups. But what networking setup requires four gigabit interfaces? Are they supposed to be bonded, or used for fail-over?

    Speaking purely as a gamer, the MSI P6N Diamond looks like a better deal. It may be shorter on the ports, but that built-in X-Fi seems a lot more handy than a couple more SATA and ethernet ports.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    1. XP Professional will show 3.25GB of RAM when 4GB is installed. The board will show 4GB at POST.


    2. The RAM timings will drop with 4 x1GB when overclocking, at stock speeds with the F3 BIOS they require an additional .0125V to operate at the same timings.

    3. The timings matter when using 2x2GB compared to 2x1GB,512MB, however at same timings we found 2X2GB was generally more stable and performance did not vary more than a percent or two.

    4. If you use a 32-bit OS such as XP you are limited to 3.25GB of usable memory space.

    5. This board did not have an issue with Vista-64 and recognizing 4GB or 8GB of memory, as stated in the article we are still conducting memory compatibility testing as certain modules perform better than others (stability, voltages, timings), even though they are based on the same IC. Gigabyte still has some tuning work to do in this area.

    Thanks, more information will be in the roundup.
    Reply
  • anandtech02148 - Saturday, February 24, 2007 - link

    per example dfi infity 975g requireds 300watts just to post.
    also what is the idle /load for this? more electricity mo heat.
    Reply
  • cornfedone - Saturday, February 24, 2007 - link

    ...or don't. As long as gullible, foolish fanboys buy these defective products, there is no FINANCIAL incentive for these unscrupulous companies to change their ways and deliver quality products.

    Obviously if every hardware review site on the planet can duplicate the unending operational (and often design/engineering) defects in these mobos, then certainly the mobo and chip makers could detect these defects BEFORE they ship this crap if they weren't intentionally pumping garbage out the door to suckers willing to pay $200 plus for a mobo that is a total POS.

    There is absolutely NO reason to release a defective hardware product today other than financial greed and/or technical incompetence. Hell most of the Asian mobo companies can't even make a friggin quality copy of a reference mobo from AMD or ATI so why would you expect them to deliver a properly functioning "performance mobo" priced at hundred of dollars more when they can't buy a clue?

    With any luck all of the slimy mobo makers will go tits-up soon and the real mobo companies will see an opportunity to provide quality mobos to the marketplace. At $200 a copy there is one Helleva incentive for honest, competent mobo companies to step forward and waste the Asian scum who are dumping crap into the marketplace. When a $200 plus mobo causes data corruption it's time for a massive class action lawsuit to end this consumer fraud and exploitation.

    Now is the time.
    Reply
  • sdsdv10 - Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - link

    quote:

    At $200 a copy there is one Helleva incentive for honest, competent mobo companies to step forward and waste the Asian scum who are dumping crap into the marketplace.


    Cornfedone, what major motherboard manufacturer isn't in Asia? It appears you are painting all the current companies with the same bruch, Asus, Gigabyte, abit... Who would be left to be the "honest, competent mobo companies"?
    Reply
  • tuteja1986 - Sunday, February 25, 2007 - link

    Well Gigabyte GA-N680SL-DQ6 isn't even selling it. It will sale next month. They still have time to fix the bugs. Anyways i say buying the striker at launch for $400 was a foolish thing to do since it was buggy as hell. It took for them months to fix the problem. Reply

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