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Intel’s enthusiast X38 chipset looks to have a short life with X48 just around the corner. But, with support for upcoming 45nm processors and next generation technologies like PCIe 2.0, pulling an X38 out of the bargain bin might be a great opportunity for those looking to stay on budget.
As of now, the Gigabyte X38-DQ6 is far from a bargain product so you will have to wait for X48 to arrive before picking one up for a song. Today, we are going to test the capabilities of the X38-DQ6 and compare it to an enthusiast favorite, NVIDIA’s 680i SLI.
For many enthusiasts, the 680i SLI has provided a great return on investment. After the initial BIOS updates fixed many initial issues, the chipset has grown to be a powerhouse for running SLI. Unfortunately, Vista has ushered in more issues for the 680i platform, like weak SLI performance and an intermittent network dropout that has frustrated many 680i owners. Recently, it has came to light that Intel’s new 45nm processors will not work on the chipset so for the enthusiast crowd, the writing is on the wall for 680i when Penryn processors become available. Of course, the 780i is on the way but at what cost? By the time 780i is available, X48 will be too leaving the remaining stock of X38 boards heavily discounted, we hope.
Today, we are going to take a look at one of the best examples of X38 engineering, the four Gigabyte produced motherboards with the X38 chipset, one using DDR3 and the other three DDR2. The flagship DDR2 model named X38-DQ6 is an enthusiast class motherboard with overclocking options galore along with a near perfect board layout. Dual PCIe X16 slots provide a solid GPU upgrade path for CrossFire and with two PCI slots located in user friendly positions, your legacy cards will still find a home in your new system.
Let’s dive in and see what Gigabyte has put together for us.