Gigabyte P35-DS3R – Layout and Features
The DS3R is the cheaper of the two Gigabyte P35 boards. The name DS3 comes from the P965 chipset. That Gigabyte P965-DS3 proved to be a cheap overclocking board, and is a favorite among overclockers. This DS3R is also a no-frills board. While it may be lacking in features, it has the P35 chipset at heart, so performance should be the same. The board looks fairly plain. The Northbridge cooling on the P35 is enormous. This is because it has no heatpipes to take heat elsewhere. Gigabyte cut costs on the intricate cooling solutions used before, but this alternative method should do the job just fine. Around the CPU socket area, you can see that the power management and MOSFETS run without any form of cooling. Gigabyte cuts costs here too. This will affect overclocking a tiny bit, lowering the maximum available headroom. The DS3 only has one PEG slot since it is supposed to be a mainstream board, not an enthusiast product. Gigabyte is able to charge less, since the enthusiasts will probably opt for the board with dual slots and pay almost double the price. The rest of the expansion slots are typical and arranged for maximum usability.
Gigabyte uses an ITE I/O chip for system monitoring. The HD Audio is powered by the ALC889A codec. The 680i uses the ALC888 codec, but there is no difference. The different revision is based on the chipset. Like most motherboards the Gigabit Ethernet controller is provided by Realtek as well, not by the chipset itself.
Gigabyte P35-DS3R’s 4 memory slots are color coded according to channels. However, they only support DDR2. DDR3 versions may come in the future, when DDR3 is commercially available, but for now, we will use DDR2 with the P35-DS3R. The 6 SATA2 ports provided by the ICHR9 chipset are colored orange. Another two SATA ports are provided by an onboard controller provided by Gigabyte. The PATA connector in green is strangely placed, since most PATA drives are optical and are on the top of the case. It would have been logical to switch the location of the black floppy drive connector with the PATA connector for less able clutter. The rear panel ports of the P35-DS3R are very standard. All of the legacy connectors are there. Most expensive enthusiast motherboards remove the parallel and serial ports and replace them with eSATA and other premium features. Gigabyte provides only 4 USB2.0 ports on the back, but a whopping 4 headers for 8 USB2.0 ports on the front.
Now on to Gigabyte’s elite P35 board!