Gigabyte 8GPNXP Duo: Features and Layout


 Gigabyte 8GNXP Duo Motherboard Specifications
CPU Interface Socket 775 Pentium 4 (Prescott)
Chipset Intel 915P/ICH6R
BUS Speeds 100MHz to 600MHz (in 1MHz increments)
DDR2 Speeds Auto, 1.66, 2.00, 2.66
PCI Express Speeds Asynch, Synch
vCore Voltage 0.8375V to 1.60V in 0.0125V increments
DRAM Voltage Normal, +.1, +.2, +.3
PCI Express Voltage Normal, +.1, +.2, +.3
Memory Slots Two 240-pin DDR2 Slots
Plus four 184-pin DDR400 Slots
Dual-Channel Unbuffered Memory to 4GB
Expansion Slots 1 PCIe x16 Slot
3 PCIe x1 slot
2 PCI Slots
Onboard SATA/RAID 4 SATA 150 drives by ICH6R
Can be combined in RAID 0, 1, Intel Matrix
Onboard IDE/RAID One Standard ATA100/66 (2 drives)
Plus 4 drives by ITE 8212
(RAID 0, 1, 0+1)
Onboard USB 2.0/IEEE-1394 8 USB 2.0 ports
3 IEEE 1394b FireWire Ports by TSB81BA3
CIA2 Motherboard Accelerator Disabled, Cruise, Sports, Racing, Turbo, FullThrust
Onboard LAN PCIe Gigabit LAN by Broadcom PLUS 5751Gigabit PCI Ethernet by Marvel 8001
Onboard Audio C-Media ALC880 (HD Audio)
8-Channel with SPDIF in/out
Wireless LAN WiFi 802.11g Included
Tested BIOS F5 Award

The Gigabyte 8GPNXP-Duo, like the DFI LANParty UT 915P-T12, is designed to make the upgrade path to Socket 775 as easy and flexible as possible. Both boards will work with DDR2 or DDR memory. The Gigabyte adds a further twist by providing 4 DIMM slots for regular DDR memory. Gigabyte includes their trademark Dual-Power module to provide 8-phase power to the 8GPNXP-D. Gigabyte has redesigned the Dual-Power module for their latest Intel Socket T boards. It is lower profile and is located between the ports and the CPU where it will not interfere with airflow to/from the CPU. More than any other manufacturer, Gigabyte tends to load their top motherboards with every feature but the kitchen sink, and in this regard, the 8GNXP-Duo is a loaded motherboard even though it is based on the mainstream 915P.



We first tested the 8GPNXP-Duo in our launch review of the 915/925X chipset, where it was very useful to have a board supporting both DDR and DDR2 for our testing. In this 915 roundup, we have tested both dual memory motherboards with DDR2 memory, since we have found DDR2-533 running at more aggressive 3-3-3-10 timings to be a small amount faster than DDR.

Features of the 8GPNXP-Duo are very similar to the Gigabyte 8ANXP-D motherboard tested in the 925X roundup. This includes Dual Gigabit LAN connections with the Broadcom attached to the faster PCI Express bus and the Marvel attached to the PCI bus. Gigabyte provides 4 SATA ports with RAID capabilities supported by ICH6R. 4 more IDE ports are added to the ICH6R 2 ports (total 6) with the added ITE 8212 controller. Since many have complained about just 2 IDE ports on the 915/925X chipset, buyers of the Gigabyte will appreciate the additional ports for IDE (PATA) devices.

Gigabyte was the first manufacturer to support on-board fast Firewire "b" ports and 3 1394B ports are included on the 8GNXP-Duo. Gigabyte also fully supports the Realtek ALC880 high-definition audio codec, which interfaces with the Intel HD audio (Azalia).

A wide range of overclocking options is available in BIOS with useful ranges for the typical overclocker. Memory voltage can be adjusted to 2.1V from 1.8V, a wider range than Gigabyte usually provides for memory. The FSB, CPU voltage, and PCI Express voltage also have ranges that are useful for overclockers. Gigabyte does not provide any BIOS options for PCI Express clocks, so you have to depend on the board to make adjustments for you to get past the 10% overclock roadblock.



Layout of the Gigabyte generally works well, and we do like the pull release for the PCIe x16 slot. All you have to do is mount and unmount a 2-slot nVidia 6800 Ultra to learn to hate the push-lever design used on most motherboards. There are a couple of things that could definitely be improved upon on the layout of the Gigabyte, however, and they are the same complaints voiced in the Gigabyte 8ANXP-D The IDE and floppy connectors are at the end of the PCIe video slot - a terrible location. What makes it worse is a long card (like the nVidia 6 series) falls right between the floppy and IDE connector, making cable routing to mount and unmount the video card to be a real pain. The 24-pin power connector is fine at the upper right edge, but the 4-pin 12 volt sits almost in the center left of the board. That makes snaking the 12V cable around the CPU difficult in most case designs. The 4-pin 12V connector would be better located at the board edge where it would not interfere with the heatsink/fan on the CPU. You can work around these two issues, but they can definitely be improved upon. Otherwise, the layout works fine in most cases.

Foxconn 915A01: Overclocking and Stress Testing Gigabyte 8GPNXP Duo: Overclocking and Stress Testing
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  • krelian - Wednesday, December 8, 2004 - link

    I been a Intel user since the first Pentium 3 came out now I have a Intel P4 3.0C I refused to spend more money on things I had already bought so I stayed with the 478 socket, seeing as Intel wants me to move to an expensive platform, I say I'll ditch Intel head with the AMD crowd, I'm sure I won't be the only one, maybe legions of intel campers will leave. Reply
  • ChineseDemocracyGNR - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    About the config I put together in the previous post; does anyone know if the overclock lock on the 915P chipsets apply to lower FSB's too? Could I overclock the 133MHz Celeron D to 200MHz on any 915P motherboard?
    Reply
  • ChineseDemocracyGNR - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    The 915P chipset provides good value for the money. For example:

    ECS 915P-A $79
    Intel Celeron D 325J 2.53GHz $88
    Albatron GeForce 6600 128MB $120.50
    or
    Albatron GeForce 6600GT 128MB $190.50
    (newegg prices)

    The processor can be overclocked to 3.6+GHz very easily, much like the Athlon Mobiles.

    That makes a good budget gaming rig, better than anything you could put together with an AMD processor for the same money. So, at least in my opinion, AMD has a better mainstream/high-end processor, and Intel wins the value segment. Who would say?
    --

    I have now read the entire article, and oh boy! Though I prefer to read about socket 754/939 motherboards, this has to be the best motherboard roundup I ever read. Ever. Well done.

    --
    #22,

    thank your fixing it. The typo I wrote about on page 10:
    "The fact that Asus manages a higher OC than more recognized OC boards like DFI and Asus "

    Don't you mean ABIT in the last word there?
    Reply
  • ocyl - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    Wesley > Thank you for paying attention to the audio features/components of these motherboards, particularly Dolby Digital Live :)
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    #21 - The Foxconn results have been corrected on p.20. Thank you for bringing it to our attention. Reply
  • ChineseDemocracyGNR - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    A few typos:
    "The fact that Asus manages a higher OC than more recognized OC boards like DFI and Asus "

    page 10.

    On page 20, the "Front Side Bus Overclocking Testbed" table is probably wrong.

    ---

    Good article.
    Reply
  • LeadFrog - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    Why does only the socket 915 get a 16mb cache Hard Drive? Reply
  • danidentity - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    Wes, I said thanks before but I'll say it again, great roundup. We appreciate your hard work, always. Reply
  • danidentity - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    Live -

    The P5GD2 is expensive compared to most boards, but it includes a ton of stuff, like 8 SATA ports, dual gigabit LAN, on-board 802.11g/b, and on-board hi-def audio with Dolby Digital Live (realtime encoding, like SoundStorm).

    Most 915P boards aren't as close to as expensive as the Asus. The Abit AG8 is ~ $130, equal or cheaper in price than the K8N Neo2.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    #16 - After I did the price analysis today I changed "outstanding value" to "good value". Thanks for the comment about the review being good reading. It is appreciated as a huge amount of work went into this roundup. Reply

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