iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Gigabyte 8PENXP (i865PE) Mainboard

The top model coming from the first-echelon manufacturer is well equipped and has the richest functionality. However, it doesn't support yet (?) the PAT technology activation. It's strange because the board must be positioned primarily for advanced users including overclockers... 

The layout is as expected not very convenient. As a result, audio-ins are placed in front of the PCI slots, IDE RAID and SATA connectors behind them, and some connectors are crowded along the left edge. Besides, connectors located around 6 DIMM slots can make it difficult to handle the memory. Also, it's not easy to reach the only jumper when the board is already installed. Its functions are not indicated on the PCB. The 3-phase switching voltage regulator incorporates 3 capacitors of 3300 uF and several less capacious ones. With the external DPS2 module the CPU power supply circuitry forms a 6-phase voltage regulator with 5 capacitors of 3300 uF and several less capacious ones. There are also voltage regulators of the AGP bus (1 1100 uF) and of the memory (4 of 1000 uF). 

The board measures 305x245 mm ("wide ATX", 9 screws fastens it). 

Proprietary technologies: 

  • DualBIOS (backup Flash EEPROM chip onboard with the BIOS copy);
  • DPS2 (external VRM module for maintenance of stable operation of the CPU).

A LED onboard protects from installation of old video cards which do not support +1.5V power supply. Another LED indicates power supply to the memory modules. System monitoring is supported by ITE IT8712F-A (which also functions as LPC Super I/O). It controls: 

  • processor, AGP bus voltages, +3.3, +5 and +12 V;
  • rotation speed of 2 fans; 
  • temperatures of the processor (built-in sensor) and the board (built-in sensor). 

Ports & connectors onboard

  • Socket 478 with preinstalled CPU cooler holder;
  • 6 slots for DDR SDRAM DIMM (if you want to use all 6 slots 4 modules must be one-sided, and the overall memory size mustn't exceed 4 GB (chipset's limitation); in the dual-channel mode identical modules must be inserted in pairs);
  • AGP Pro slot with a retention clip (protection from old video cards with increased power supply);
  • 5 PCI slots (32bit, 33MHz);
  • Power supply connectors: standard ATX and 4pin for 12V;
  • FDD;
  • 4 IDE (Parallel ATA): 2 on chipset, plus 2 at the expense of an integrated IDE RAID controller;
  • 4 Serial ATA: 2 on chipset, plus 2 at the expense of an additional controller;
  • Connector for an additional external VRM module (DPS2 comes bundled with the board);
  • 2 connectors for a bracket with FireWire ports;
  • 2 connectors for a bracket with additional USB (2.0) ports;
  • Connector for Game port;
  • Connector for a standard IR module;
  • Connector for audio-out from CD/DVD drive;
  • Connector for AUX-IN audio source;
  • Wake-On-LAN;
  • Connector for SMBus devices;
  • Case open detection header;
  • Connectors for a bracket with additional audio-outs and S/PDIF;
  • 4 connectors for fans (2 without rotation control, 1 connected to the fan on the chipset north bridge).

Rear panel (left to right, in units)

  • PS/2 ports for keyboard & mouse;
  • 2 USB (2.0);
  • COM (2) & LPT ports;
  • 2 USB (2.0) & 1 RJ-45 (Ethernet);
  • 3 audio connectors  (Line In/Out Microphone).


  • Package of the standard design;
  • Documentation: user manual, manual for IDE RAID, manual for SATA RAID, poster with brief installation steps (in English);
  • Cables: 5 SATA (with PCPlug-SATA power supply adapter), 3 ATA66/100/133 and FDD;
  • Bracket with an interface connector and power supply connector for an external SATA drive;
  • Bracket with 3 FireWire ports;
  • Bracket with Rear, Center/Sub & S/PDIF-Out (Coaxial & TosLink);
  • DPS2 panel (external VRM module);
  • I/O Shield;
  • CD with software:
    • drivers;
    • Gigabyte Management Tools;
    • Gigabyte @BIOS;
    • Gigabyte DMIView;
    • Gigabyte EasyTune4;
    • Gigabyte FaceWizard;
    • Gigabyte Windows Utility Manager;
    • Gigabyte IA Panel Utility;
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader;
    • DirectX 9.0;
    • Norton Internet Security 2003.

Integrated controllers

  • audio controller based on the Realtek (Avance Logic) ALC655 AC'97 codec; 5.1 audio system supported, front audio I/O and S/PDIF connector provided;
  • network controller based on the Intel 82547EI (PRO/1000 CT), 10/100/1000 Base-T (CSA Gigabit Ethernet) supported;
  • IDE RAID on the ITE IT8212F (GigaRAID) chip, supports RAID levels 0, 1 and 0+1 on the ATA133 protocol;
  • Serial ATA RAID on the Silicon Image Sil3112ACT144 chip, supports RAID 0 and 1 on the SATA150 protocol;
  • FireWire on the Texas Instruments TSB43AB23 chip with 3 ports supported.


jumpers and switches Password Clear jumper  
BIOS based on Award BIOS 6.00PG  Setup of memory timings + CAS Latency, RAS to CAS Delay, RAS Precharge, Active to Precharge Delay, Command Per Clock, Fast Chip Select, Dynamic Paging mode
Setup of memory frequency + Auto, FSBx1,33, x1,66, x2 (at FSB 800 MHz)
Setup of AGP bus -  
Setup of PCI bus -  
AGP/PCI frequency setup + AGP(PCIx2) = 66-96 MHz in 1MHz steps
PCI IRQ manual assignment +  
FSB frequency setup + 100-355 MHz in 1MHz steps
CPU clock ratio + x8-x50
CPU voltage control + Normal, 0.8375-1.85 V in 0.0125V steps
DIMM voltage control + Normal, +0.1, +0.2, +0.3V
NB voltage control -  
AGP voltage control + Normal, +0.1, +0.2, +0.3 V

We used the BIOS F4 as the latest available version. 


The functionality and overclockability are matchless though the board can't boast of its speed: it works a bit faster than other typical models based on the same chip but falls far behind its competitors with the PAT enabled (maybe only until a "magic" BIOS version:). Gigabyte also offers a wide range of boards on other chipsets of the i865 family. Thus, only the i865PE has 6 boards. 

Test results: 


Dmitry Mayorov (destrax@ixbt.com)

Vladimir Rybnikov (puree@ixbt.com

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