Gigabyte has traditionally provided solid boards while remaining relatively low profile. To some, their products were the best kept secret in the industry. Now Gigabyte is trying to make themselves a bit more prominent in all facets of the motherboard market. That includes, of course, the high end multiprocessing server/workstation boards. The GA-6BXDS is the first dual board from Gigabyte that AnandTech has had the opportunity to look at. How's it fare in the land of Tyan and Supermicro?

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Motherboard Specifications

CPU Interface Dual Slot-1
Chipset Intel i440BX
L2 Cache N/A (on-chip)
Form Factor ATX
Bus Speeds

66 / 100

Clock Multipliers 3x - 5.5x
Voltages Supported Auto Detect
Memory Slots 4 168pin DIMM Slots
Expansion Slots

1 AGP Slot
0 AMR Slots
4 PCI Slots (2 Full Length)
3 ISA Slot (1 Shared / 1 Full Length)

BIOS Award 4.51PG

The Good

Click to enlarge

Gigabyte's GA-6BXDS is a dual Slot-1 board with on-board SCSI all on a (fairly) compact PCB. The Intel i440BX chipset is at the heart of the GA-6BXDS, with Adaptec's 7895P handling dual channel Ultra Wide SCSI duties.

The 4/3/1 (PCI/ISA/AGP) slot configuration is a little dated these days, especially for the server/workstation market that this board is targeted towards. Only two of the PCI and one of the ISA slots are full length. An optional RAID port was also included on our evaluation board as well. Fortunately, four DIMM slots are provided to adequately cover memory expansion. ATX specifications are followed fairly closely, with all HDD/FDD/SCSI connectors located just in front of the DIMM slots. The ATX power connector is along the right edge of the board and shouldn't cause any cable clutter. The board is fairly small for a dual processor board, but much larger than most single processor boards. A few mid towers will be able to accept it without any trouble, but many will not, so be sure you check ahead of time.

Nine beefy 1200uF capacitors surround each CPU slot with a few smaller ones spread out around the board. Two 3 pin fan connectors are located next to the CPU slots for use with fans with a tachometer output. Two fold down universal retention kits are included, but not installed, and will hold any Celeron, Pentium II, or Pentium III CPU securely in place. Also included in the box are a CPU terminator card for enhanced stability with one CPU and an external SCSI port/backplate.

A single jumper provides for bus speed selection, either 66 MHz, 100 MHz, or Auto. Auto, of course, uses the state of B21 to set the bus speed and the other settings force the specified FSB. It would be nice to see some overclocked bus speeds here, but Gigabyte apparently does not think those are necessary for a multiprocessor board. Four DIP switches control the clock multiplier settings, which is of course not necessary to set on today's multiplier locked CPU's. Stability is excellent as we've come to expect from Gigabyte.

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