And now I would like to say a few words about the most troubling part of the Gigabyte mainboards design. Most overclockers are very concerned about another part of the cooling system known as Crazy Cool. It is an aluminum plate with shallow ribbing fastened at the bottom of the board right beneath the processor socket and chipset North Bridge. Unfortunately, this plate does more harm than good. Firstly, it doesn’t allow you to install any processor coolers that require a backplate and these models are pretty numerous currently. Secondly, it hinders natural bending of the mainboard PCB thus making it harder to fasten those cooler that use plastic clips as retention.
Unfortunately, the previously tested Gigabyte mainboard didn’t allow us to easily remove the Crazy Cool system, because it served as a bottom part of the chipset Silent Pipe cooling system retention at the same time. This was one of the primary reasons why we couldn’t recommend top mainboards from Gigabyte to computer enthusiasts. Luckily, Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6 has been significantly improved from this standpoint. Now they include two additional screws that can be used instead of the Crazy Cool system to hold the chipset cooling solution. The use of these screws allows removing the harmful plate and makes the board compatible with almost any processor cooler.
It is very nice that Gigabyte developers have listened to overclockers’ requests and made the right conclusions. Now we should simply wait for Crazy Cool to be completely removed from the boards: it will definitely be a victory of common sense.
As for the overall PCB layout, it is free from significant drawbacks, although it is still not absolutely ideal. In most cases you should have no problems assembling and working with a Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6 based system.
I would like to draw special attention to the mainboard rear panel that is stuffed with all sorts of connectors. There are a lot of ports there. As a result, Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6 hardly needs any additional rear panel brackets. The mainboard rear panel carries 8 USB 2.0 ports, two different IEEE1394 ports, two Gigabit network controllers, PS/2 connectors for keyboard and mouse, an optical and coaxial SPDIF output port and six analogue audio-jacks.
Another indisputable advantage of Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6 is the eight SATA2 channels, six connected via the chipset South Bridge and two more are implemented via the brand name RAID controller together with the PATA interface.