The recent introduction of the Intel's new P35 chipset brought with it the official introduction of the 1333FSB and DDR3 support for Intel processors. The P35 chipset is also the first chipset to officially support the upcoming 45nm CPU architecture. We reviewed the P35 chipset and the new Intel ICH9 Southbridge in detail and found the combination to offer one of the best, if not the best, performance platforms for Intel's Core 2 Duo family of processors.

This does not necessarily mean the P35 is the fastest chipset on paper or by pure design; it's just that the current implementation of this "wünder" chip by the motherboard manufacturers has provided us with the overall top performing chipset in the Intel universe at this time. Of course this could change at a moment's notice based upon new BIOS or chipset releases, but the early maturity and performance levels of the P35 has surprised us.

Our first look at DDR3 technology provides a glimpse of where memory technology is headed for the next couple of years. We do not expect widespread support for DDR3 until sometime in 2008 but with the right DDR3 modules we have seen performance equaling or bettering that of current DDR2 platforms. However, this does not mean DDR2 memory technology is stagnant now; far from it, as we will soon see standard DDR2-1066 modules with fairly low latencies running at 1.8V with overclocking capabilities up to or exceeding DDR2-1500 in some cases.

What immediate impact this will have on the DDR3 memory market is unclear right now. Based on our early information we should see the more performance oriented DDR2 motherboards outperforming their DDR3 counterparts until DDR3 latencies and speeds are greatly improved. We do expect these improvements to come, just not quick enough to hold off the initial onslaught of DDR2-1066 and what is shaping up to be some impressive overclocking capabilities.

That brings us to today's discussion of the Gigabyte GA-P35T-DQ6 motherboard based upon the Intel P35 chipset with full DDR3 compatibility. This motherboard is Gigabyte's current flagship product and we expect the product to launch on or right after June 4th. Gigabyte was kind enough to provide us with a full retail kit for our preview article today.

The P35T-DQ6 motherboard is based on the same platform utilized by its DDR2 counterpart, the P35-DQ6, which has already provided an excellent performance alternative to the ASUS P5K series of motherboards. As we stated in our preview article, making a choice between the current P35 motherboards is difficult and is largely dependent upon the user's requirements.

We initially found the ASUS boards to be slightly more mature, as they offer a performance oriented BIOS with some additional fine tuning options not available in the other boards. However, that is quickly changing as we receive BIOS updates and new board designs from other manufacturers. We will provide an answer for what board we think best exemplifies the performance and capability of the P35 chipset in our roundup coming in the latter part of June.

In the meantime, we have our second DDR3 board in-house for testing and will provide some early results with this somewhat unique motherboard that brings an excellent level of performance to the table. The question remains if this board can outperform the ASUS P5K3 Deluxe, and we hope to provide some early answers to that question today. Let's take a quick glimpse at the Gigabyte GA-P35T-DQ6 now and see how it performs.

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  • SirJoe - Saturday, June 2, 2007 - link

    this is cool for you computer buffs
  • Googer - Saturday, June 2, 2007 - link

    I just did a google search for XMS3 and the only merchant to have it in stock at the bargain price of $599 is Tiger Direct! Yikes, I think I will wait a while untill the price of DDR3 becomes competitive with DDR2.
  • AdamK47 - Wednesday, May 30, 2007 - link

    Sorry Gigabyte, I just can't see myself ever buying a board with pink memory slots. Shoulda stuck with the blue.
  • Stele - Friday, June 1, 2007 - link

    "Pink it's my new obsession
    Pink it's not even a question..."

    :D Sorry, couldn't resist the temptation :P
  • yacoub - Wednesday, May 30, 2007 - link

    Thank you especially for the note about larger heatsinks being very difficult to mount and the associated image of the back of the motherboard so folks can see what they face if they have a heatsink that requires connecting a backing plate (as most of the larger ones do).
  • yyrkoon - Wednesday, May 30, 2007 - link


    Gigabyte has provided the user a fairly comprehensive BIOS that is enthusiast oriented in the latest F2N release. In our opinion, Gigabyte continues to annoy the crowd that will buy this board by insisting on using the Ctrl-F1 sequence to open up the additional performance oriented BIOS settings. However, with the "secret" settings revealed we were able to match all BIOS settings on the ASUS P5K3 when tuning the board.

    What annoys me, is that every Gigabyte motherbord review has this same 'annoyance' written in. Come now fellas, you can only say it about 500 times, beore it starts getting old, and how hard is it really to press two keys in combination ? Gigabyte obviously is doing this for a reason, and if it takes me writting this comment to point that out, well, I just dont know . . .

    Saying something like: 'You will need to press cntl + F1 to access the 'protected' portion of the BIOS . . .' Would sounds less critical, would not come off as negativity, and would keep you guys from sounding lazy . . .
  • TA152H - Wednesday, May 30, 2007 - link

    It's not hitting the keys that is the problem, it's remembering to do it. When you have loads of computers with motherboards, it's nice if they have a standard way to access features, instead of adding an inane key sequence like CTRL-F1. It is annoying, because four years down the road if you have to work on this motherboard, for whatever reason, you have to try to remember this bizarre and otherwise trivial detail. Standards are nice, especially when following them doesn't involve a tradeoff.
  • yyrkoon - Thursday, May 31, 2007 - link

    Yeah, well I personally have a bad memory, but after reading countless Gigabyte motherboard reviews from AT here, I do not think I will ever forget this key combination.

    Anyhow, this is one reason why when given the chance I always opt for ABIT boards, while other may opt for Asus, Gigabyte, whatever. Once you become used to a given OEM BIOS Layout, it is hard to make a change in OEMs without suffering a bit in the knowledge department(at least temporarily).

    *yyrkoon hugs his NF-M2 nView . . .
  • TA152H - Saturday, June 2, 2007 - link

    Keep in mind, not everyone buying a motherboard from Gigabyte is going to be reading these articles, and proper journalism dictates they don't depend on people knowing every previous article, so they appropriately bring it up. Before you remark what's the point in them mentioning it for people that don't read it, it's certainly going to be read by Gigabyte and by complaining enough times, they may take notice.

    I agree that it is often best to just buy from one maker, or limit the number. Unfortunately, I'm an idiot and I end up with stuff from too many makers. I try to buy only Intel and Supermicro, but they are too expensive sometimes, so I've ended up buying a lot of Taiwanese junk before finally finding a company from there I have had success with (don't ask me why, but Epox seems to work best for me). So, I've got all this Asus, Soyo, Aopen, MSI, Gigabyte, Tyan and a few I don't even remember running and it's difficult to deal with all the different BIOS settings when they get cute and try to be different. On the plus side, these motherboards tend to break pretty regularly so I have less and less of the inferior brands. Well, except for Epox. I have no idea why these things never break on me, but I have a feeling it's just random luck :P .
  • Frumious1 - Wednesday, May 30, 2007 - link

    I won't forget, but I'm still annoyed by this, just like I'm annoyed by a BIOS that moves certain features into odd areas. I hate that there are about 20 ways to manage memory timings, voltages, bus speeds, etc. (and that's just picking either an AMD or an Intel platform). What's really stupid about Gigabyte's method of hiding settings is that it's not even all of the settings that get hidden. The major area lately that doesn't show up is memory timings. You can tweak voltages and fry your RAM, but GOD FORBID you play with memory timings! (There are some other things that get hidden as well, but I don't recall exactly what. I base this off my DS3 system.)

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