Gigabyte's tough all-rounder

Gigabyte's tough all-rounder

With its solid capacitors, robust Bios design and heat-pipe cooling solution, the Gigabyte GA- 965P-DS4 motherboard is 'ultra durable'. Despite the high-end components that went into the construction of this board, it's priced competitively with other boards in its class. It's based on the Intel P965 Express chipset and has an almost full complement of connectivity features.

The LGA775 CPU socket will accept most Intel CPUs. This makes it a good board to upgrade to if you have an older LGA775 socket-based CPU. We had no problems installing a stock-standard Intel cooler onto our Core 2 Duo E6700 CPU and did not experience any cramping when installing the graphics card or the 2x 512MB Corsair DDR2 800MHz memory modules for our testing.

We ran the WorldBench 5 benchmark to gauge the reliability and speed of the board, and the results were fairly positive. Over the course of a 24-hour period, the board ran the benchmark without any problems, though at 122, it recorded a slightly slower overall score than we expected. However, in the Cdex MP3 encoding test, the board was faster than average.

The motherboard supports up to 10 USB 2.0 ports and three FireWire ports. It has eight SATA II ports and can be set up in RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 or 10 modes. In a single drive configuration using our 10,000rpm, 150GB Western Digital Raptor hard drive, we achieved an average data transfer speed of 29MBps, which is an outstanding result.

The performance of this board's Realtek ALC888 high - definition audio codec was crisp and without any background interference. It should prove to be more than adequate for games, movies and music.

VERDICT: Despite a slight misstep in WorldBench 5, this is a zippy and durable board that provides good features for future upgrades.

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