Articles: Mainboards

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After a while we decided to resume testing Intel P35 Express based mainboards. In fact, it is not surprising at all, although it is fairly easy to purchase an Intel X38 Express based mainboard these days, and some mainboard makers are even offering X48 based mainboards in the nearest future. Our Asus P5E Mainboard Review revealed that Intel X38 doesn’t have any significant advantages over P35, however the higher chipset cost automatically increases the price of mainboards based on it. We will still be looking at the features and performance of the new Intel X48 solution later on, however, judging by the hasty launch and some preliminary data circling around, it is none other but an X38 with corrected bugs and will hardly be any cheaper. However, the price point is an important aspect when deciding on a platform. Even AMD processor fans admit some advantages of processors on Core micro-architecture, however, they remind us that the total system cost is usually higher for Intel platforms. Usually it results from the fact that LGA775 mainboards with good overclocking friendly features are normally more expensive than Socket AM2 solutions with some overclocking potential.

Our today’s review will be devoted to an inexpensive Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L mainboard based on Intel P35 Express chipset that sells at a little over $100 these days.

Gigabyte Mainboards Marking Scheme Revealed with S3 Series Example

At first we were going to briefly discuss Gigabyte mainboards on Intel P35 Express chipset here, but there are currently 14 mainboards like that in the company’s product range today. In fact, this already big number is a few times bigger, because some of the boards are offered in several modifications, so we will hardly be able to give all of them even a quick look within this article. There is an alternative solution though. We could take a look at Gigabyte’s main marking principles instead. The implications behind the model name lettering are usually quite transparent and clear, so you should be able to get an idea of the mainboard functionality from its name only. However, this info is not available anywhere. That is why we are going to make up for this omission right now.

The name of any Gigabyte mainboard starts with GA letters followed by the chipset name, which in our case is P35. Gigabyte’s marketing people decided to assign the mainboards we are talking about today to the S series, which stands for Smart, Speed and Safe. The three words starting with S can be replaced with S3 abbreviation, so the simplest Gigabyte mainboards will be marked GA-P35-S3.

If the mainboard is built using only solid-state capacitors, there is an additional letter D in front of the name derived from the word “durable). For example, GA-P35-DS3. It differs from the previous mainboard only by the type of employed capacitors.

However, even GA-P35-S3 uses solid-state capacitors with organic polymer electrolyte in the processor voltage regulator circuitry as a very important component, even though it doesn’t have the D letter in the model name.

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