Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3
Overclocking Testbed
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6300
Dual Core, 1.86GHz, 2MB Unified Cache
1066FSB, 7x Multiplier
CPU Voltage: 1.5000V (default 1.3250V)
Cooling: Scythe Infinity Air Cooling
Power Supply: OCZ GameXStream 700W
Memory: Geil PC2-6400 800MHz Plus (2x1GB- GX22GB6400PDC)
(Micron Memory Chips)
Video Cards: 1 x MSI X1950XTX
Hard Drive: Seagate 320GB 7200RPM SATA2 16MB Buffer
Case: Cooler Master CM Stacker 830
Maximum CPU OC:
(Standard Ratio)
505x7 (5-5-5-15, 1:1, 2.3V), CPU 1.5000V, C2 Stepping
3535MHz (+89%)

Click to enlarge

Our combination of components resulted in a maximum stable overclock of 7x505 FSB with the F9 BIOS. This is an improvement of 50FSB over the F6 BIOS and 30FSB over the F8 BIOS release. We were also able to boot and enter Windows XP at 7x505 with our memory set at 4-4-4-12, but we had to change our memory settings to 5-5-5-15 for the system to complete the entire benchmark suite (including eight hours of dual Prime95). The performance penalty from running the relaxed memory latencies was minimal in our benchmark testing but still resulted in a one to two percent decrease in several of the benchmarks. Overall, the improvements in this BIOS release are somewhat amazing considering our previous test results. However, these results mean that the DS3 just now equals other boards in the same price range. We still value stability and overall system performance over high FSB rates that will only be used by a minority of users but this board now offers the best of both worlds to a certain degree.

Click to enlarge

We optimized the MCH (+.2V) , FSB (+.2V), and Memory (+.5V) voltages and were able to run the majority of our benchmark test suite at the 7X520 FSB setting but at very relaxed 5-6-5-18 settings. In order to complete the dual Prime95 testing we had to further relax our memory timings to 5-7-6-20, which resulted in the majority of our benchmark scores being worse than our 7x505 results. Our ASUS P5B-E 1.02G motherboard will run our entire benchmark test suite at 4-4-4-12 memory timings at the same 7x520FSB,so we feel Gigabyte still has some memory and MCH tuning to complete in the next BIOS release. Considering the fact that Gigabyte has already stated the motherboard needs a resistor change to exceed the 520FSB level, we believe the BIOS engineers have maxed out the board from an overclocking viewpoint and should concentrate on memory performance now. We have the revision 2 board in-house for testing currently and will have results up in the near future as this board utilizes the same BIOS but has an optimized electrical layout for improved performance.

Index Performance Results and Conclusion
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  • WooTzu - Monday, January 22, 2007 - link

    Look on the overclocked boards picture on the last page of the review, what is up with that fancy mobo at the bottom. Why can't I find this board anywhere, it's number 1, it should be in a brown box being under the arm of a cute UPS girl heading to my house.

    Where oh where can I buy this board???
  • handydave - Tuesday, January 9, 2007 - link

    I purchased one of these boards and I've had on and off problems. When I originally got it, it wouldn't boot. I removed everything from the system other than the memory, video card, and processor, and it still wouldn't boot. Since I didn't have any other components to test, I took it to a local tech store. Turns out, the bios wouldn't work with the 1Gig of PC2-6700 memory (1x1Gig Patriot PEP21G6400LL). It was Bios Ver 3. So I ended up purchasing 512Meg of PC2-4200 Memory (Generic) so I could atleast work on the machine. I returned the memory and picked up a different brand of PC2-6700 memory(2x1Gig Crucial Technology Ballistix BL2KIT12864AA804). That wouldn't work either. But then Gigabyte released a new BIOS which allowed the new memory to work, so I thought.

    That didn't solve my problem. The new memory worked, but the machine was very unstable. It would reboot 2-4 times a week with unknown driver errors. I couldn't encode any videos(Divx, PSPVideo 9 and others) as it would crash 1/2 way through the processes. I tried every bios out there with the same results. So this weekend, I picked up some PNY Optima 2x512Meg PC2-5300 and it seems to work ok. At least is hasn't bluescreened and my videos are encoding.

    This was one of the worst experiences I ever had with building a system in my 20+ years and I have all this extra memory I needed to puchase to get it to work. If your going to buy this board, be very careful of the memory you use.
  • Zoomer - Monday, January 15, 2007 - link

    That's a well documented problem. Just increase Vmem to 2.1v or so and you'll be fine.
  • damolinx - Sunday, January 7, 2007 - link

    F9 was a no go for me. I tried the same settings I have been using with F7 (which are not even the maximum I have stably achieved) and i would not work. My problem seems with te video card, as the computer seems to boot and you can "listen" to the booting process in the HDD, but no video at all; the video card fan will stay at its maximum speed.
    Last time I experienced this behavior was because I was not locking the PCIe speed at 100MHZ, and my ATI X1800XL seems to be very sensitive about it (not a god overclocker on its own either).

    I tried setting the PCIe frequency to AUTO and to 100MHz with no luck. Have anyone tested frequency locking is working?

    For the time being, is back to F7.
  • oldhoss - Thursday, January 4, 2007 - link

    Gary, any chance on doing a follow-up of the S3? Was thinking of pulling the trigger on that one, since the DS3 is still out of stock at a certain large online retailer. Also, it was mentioned in a previous article that the Crucial 10th anniversary memory was highly recommended for the platform. It is no longer available. Could you or someone recommend a reasonably priced alternative to Geil?

    Thanks much!
  • Baked - Thursday, January 4, 2007 - link

    Been using this mobo since its debut. I'm currently running F6 BIOS, and don't plan to update to the newer BIOS unless I run into problems. It's been rock solid for me. You can find my system spec in my profile.

    Let's just say if you can't get this mobo stable, you should probably go buy a pre-built. :rolleyes;
  • tayhimself - Thursday, January 4, 2007 - link

    How much is AT being paid by Gigabyte to write glowing and gushing articles about bios releases for their boards?

    You say its one of your favourite boards, but forget to mention why? Why would anyone get this over an P5B Deluxe?
  • imaheadcase - Thursday, January 4, 2007 - link

    They said in the article why its a favorite board..as why it is to lots of people.
  • HomeChicken - Thursday, January 4, 2007 - link

    Even though anandtech recommends the E6300 and E6400 chips for the DS3, does anyone know if there are any improvements for E6600 overclocking with the F9 BIOS?

    Right now I can't seem to reach 400x9 so I have to settle for 390x9. I have a DS3 F7, E6600, custom water cooling (keeps temps below 45C load), and OCZ 2GB PC6400 4-5-4-15. If F9 doesn't help I will try reducing the multiplier for 450x8, but I would have to do further testing to ensure my memory will hold up at 900MHz.
  • Spacecomber - Thursday, January 4, 2007 - link

    I was under the impression that these two Gigabyte boards functionally were very similar, but the DS3 uses the better capacitors. Does this mean the issues and the current state of their resolution (or non-resolution) is about the same for these two boards?

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