- Well built, almost-silent operation; 1600MHz FSB speed; flexible overclocking options; it has support for Intel's upcoming 45-nanometre CPUs; it's based on DDR2 RAM
- It ships with four eSATA ports, but they need to be plugged in to four of the eight internal ports in order to work; it has only two full length PCIe slots
Gigabyte's X38-DQ6 is very well built, has very good connectivity options and was stable in our tests. It still supports DDR2 RAM, and it will be able to handle 45-nanometre CPUs as soon as they are released. If you're after a high-end board, it's definitely worth a look.
Price$ 389.00 (AUD)
Gigabyte's GA-X38-DQ6 motherboard is for forward-thinking enthusiasts who want a board that's capable of running Intel's current and next-generation CPUs.
Gigabyte has gone all-out in the production of this board. It has used electrical components that are more efficient at delivering power to the CPU (and which also run cooler), and it has implemented a new surface-mount technology for the capacitors, which rids the underside of the board of many sharp solder joints (there are still a few, however). The chipset and the electrical components around the CPU are cooled by heat sinks, which are joined by heat-pipes. The surface temperature of the heat sinks reached 41 degrees Celsius while the PC was under a full processing load. This silent cooling method, along with an effective dynamic CPU fan controller, makes the X38-DQ6 a very quiet board, even when it's under a full processing load.
The X38-DQ6 is based on Intel's high-end X38 chipset, which is the latest in Intel's 3-series of chipsets (Q35, P35, P31, G35, G33 and G31 being the mainstream ones). The X38 replaces the 975X chipset in Intel's performance chipset line-up. The main advantages of the X38 are its support for the PCI Express 2.0 standard and 1600MHz front side bus speed. Gigabyte has chosen to pair this chipset with DDR2 memory slots, despite it being optimised for DDR3 memory, which means users will be able to use their existing DDR2 modules, instead of switching to the more expensive DDR3.
The board will run today's 65-nanometre, high-end Core 2 Extreme QX6850 CPU, but it will also be capable of running 45-nanometre, Core 2 CPUs when they're released, too. The BIOS will support front side bus speeds up to 1600MHz, which will be a requirement of the new CPUs, and it can run the DDR2 memory speed independently of the front side bus speed, so overclocking with slow RAM can still be undertaken with stable results. The board officially supports DDR2 RAM speeds of 1066MHz, 800MHz and 667MHz.
In our tests, we used two 800MHz-rated, 512MB DDR2 modules from Corsair, which we ran at 800MHz, while the front side bus (FSB) of the board ran at 1333MHz (the native FSB speed of the CPU). WorldBench 6 recorded a score of 110 with this configuration, which is three points faster than what a Gigabyte board based on the P35 chipset achieved with the same configuration.
In the iTunes encoding test (53min worth of WAV files to 56Kbps MP3s), the board recorded a time of 42sec, while in the Cdex test (to 192Kbps MP3 files) it recorded 1min 30sec. When we overclocked the CPU to 3.6GHz, the times fell to 34sec and 1min 14sec, respectively. To test the board's stability at 3.6GHz, we ran the Adobe Photoshop CS2 test from the WorldBench suite; its time improved from 409sec to 363sec.
Almost every type of conceivable connectivity option is present on this board. It has high-definition audio support for Blu-ray and HD-DVD movies, it ships with four eSATA ports (accessible via rear-mounted brackets) and two gigabit Ethernet ports. Because it implements the PCI Express 2.0 standard, it also supports ATI CrossFire graphics card configurations with both slots running at PCIe x16 speeds. (However, only cards based on the PCI Express 2.0 standard will run at this speed).
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Huawei Mate 9
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Lexar® Portable SSD
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Acer Swift 7
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Surface Pro 4
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Intel Coffee Lake 8th-gen Core processors release date rumours
- Intel's mobile future is in blazing modems as it buries Atom failure
- PC prices will continue to go up due to shortage of components
- Radeon Vega vs. GeForce GTX 1080 Ti? AMD, Nvidia announce dueling events at GDC 2017
- Toshiba's in chaos, but not quitting PCs -- yet
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTFull stack Developer - Senior (Java or C# and AngularJS) x 3QLD
- FTPrincipal Architect - Infrastructure | Major BankVIC
- FTMicrosoft ProgrammerSA
- CCDigital Communications ManagerNSW
- CCSolution Architect - Financial applicationsVIC
- FTPMO Specialist - PermanentACT
- CCSenior Technical Consultant - MicrosoftACT
- TPIT Project Manager - Office relocationVIC
- CCSenior Storage System Engineer - Tivoli Storage SpecialistNSW
- CCCloud Security Solutions Architect - Finance - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- CCArcSight Security Engineer - Contract - IT Services - SydneyNSW
- TPProject ManagerOther
- FTService Desk Analyst / Security EngineerQLD
- FTSenior Business AnalystSA
- FTCitrix EngineerNSW
- CCSalesforce DeveloperNSW
- CCTest AnalystWA
- FTSenior Software EngineerVIC
- CCService ManagerACT
- TPCrystal Reports DeveloperSA
- CCSenior .NET DeveloperNSW
- TPMid-Level Java DeveloperNSW
- FTChange Manager - Large Transition ProjectNSW
- TPMobile DeveloperWA
- CCCommercial Contract AdministratorACT