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Gigabyte 8S655TX Ultra Motherboard on SiS655TX

June 16, 2004



As was the case with ASUS models, Gigabyte released one-PCB-based boards on both SiS655FX and SiS655TX. To be more exact, there is only one SiS655TX-based model. It has top functionality (copy of 8S655FX Ultra) and top performance. Whereas ASUS preferred to separate positioning of its products, and its Deluxe version only exists on SiS655TX.




The board's layout is surprisingly good, although the disposition of connectors along the left side is not very convenient, and Audio-Ins are inevitably allocated at the back panel (but at least, their cables won't create a mess around the graphic card). The only other inconvenience is that IDE RAID connectors, when used, won't let you install a long extension card into the fourth PCI slot. But the access to the only jumper won't be hampered even after the board is installed into the case. Noteworthy, the description of the jumper's functionality is absent from the PCB. The triple-channel CPU voltage regulator has 6 x 3300 µF and 6 x 1500 µF capacitators. The board also features voltage regulators of the AGP bus (2 x 1000 µF capacitators and several less capacious ones) and the memory (3 x 1000 µF capacitators and several less capacious ones).

The reviewed model is the only one in its line, but in fact, it inherits the PCB of SiS655FX-based boards and has the same functionality as 8S655FX Ultra (we have tested the 8S655FX board from this family). Noteworthy, the reviewed model has some laid out but unsoldered elements too. They are the WOL connector, fan and CI sensor connectors, and the clear CMOS jumper. The board measures 305x245 mm (a full-size ATX, nine-screw mount, firm fixation). An ITE IT8705F chip is used to control:

  • CPU and memory voltage, +3.3 and +12 V;
  • RPM of 2 fans;
  • CPU temperature (with the help of a built-in sensor).

Onboard ports, sockets, and connectors

  • CPU Socket 478, Prescott-based CPU support announced);
  • 4 x DDR SDRAM DIMM (up to 4 1-GB modules, DDR266/333/400 without ECC; dual-channel mode possible with two, three, or four DIMMs);
  • 1 x AGP (with a clip);
  • 5 x PCI;
  • Standard ATX and 4-pin 12 V;
  • 1 x FDD;
  • 4 x IDE (Parallel ATA) — two in the chipset, two function due to an additional RAID controller (connected discs can be grouped into RAID, levels 0, 1, 0+1, and JBOD);
  • 2 x SATA (Serial ATA) — both in the chipset, connected discs can be grouped into RAID, levels 0, 1, and JBOD;
  • 1 x Game;
  • 2 headers for 2 additional USB (2.0) ports;
  • 2 headers for 3 FireWire ports;
  • 1 x CD/DVD Audio;
  • 1 x AUX-In Audio;
  • 1 for standard IrDA module;
  • 1 for SMBus devices;
  • Headers for additional Audio-Outs and S/PDIF;
  • 4 fan connectors (3 enable rpm control, chipset heatsink fan is connected to the other one).

Back panel (left to right, blockwise)




  • PS/2 ports for mouse and keyboards;
  • 1 x LPT and 2 x COM;
  • 2 x USB (2.0);
  • 2 x USB (2.0), 1 x RJ-45 (Gigabit Ethernet);
  • 3 x Audio (Mic-In, Line-In, Front).

Bundle




  • Box of a standard P4 Titan series design;
  • Documentation: board user manual and IDE RAID setting guide in English;
  • Cables: 2 x Serial ATA, 3 x ATA66/100/133, 1 x FDD;
  • PC backpanel strap with 2 x USB and 2 x FireWire;
  • PC backpanel strap with Center/Sub, Rear, S/PDIF-Out connectors of Toslink and Coaxial types;
  • I/O shield;
  • CD with software:
    • necessary drivers;
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader;
    • eBook Reader;
    • DirectX 9.0;
    • Norton Internet Security;
    • Gigabyte @BIOS;
    • Gigabyte DMIView;
    • Gigabyte EasyTune4;
    • Gigabyte FaceWizard;
    • Gigabyte Windows Utility Manager;
    • Gigabyte IA Panel;
    • Gigabyte Management Tools;
    • Gigabyte System Information Viewer.

Integrated controllers

  • Avance Logic ALC658 AC'97 5.1 codec based audio controller with front Audio I/O and S/PDIF connectors;
  • Realtek RTL8110S-32 based LAN controller supporting 10/100/1000 Mbit/sec Base-T (Gigabit Ethernet);
  • Texas Instruments TSB43AB23 based FireWire controller supporting 3 ports;
  • ITE IT8212F based IDE RAID controller supporting up to 4 devices and enabling organisation of RAID levels 0, 1, 0+1, and JBOD basing on ATA133 protocol.

The integrated audio quality was tested in 16 bits, 44 kHz, using the RightMark Audio Analyzer 5.2 test program and the Terratec DMX 6fire sound card:

Frequency response (40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB:
+0.19, -0.14
Very good
Noise level, dB (A):
-79.8
Satisfactory
Dynamic range, dB (A):
79.7
Satisfactory
THD, %:
0.0044
Very good
IMD, %:
0.053
Good
Stereo crosstalk, DB:
-75.5
Very good

Total: Good (details). Noise level and Dynamic range all but reach our Good mark. If it had happened, this board's integrated sound would have deserved a better estimate.

Proprietary technologies

  • Gigabyte DualBIOS (the board has a reserve Flash EEPROM chip with a BIOS copy);
  • Q-Flash and @BIOS (utilities to update new BIOS versions without loading DOS);
  • EasyTune 4 (utility for Windows, that enables real-time overclocking and parameter control);
  • Xpress Recovery (utility used to create a reserve data copy in a hidden HDD area and then restore the data);
  • Xpress Install (automatic selection and installation of necessary drivers and applications from the supplied CD).

Settings

Jumpers and switches Password clear jumper CMOS settings are cleared automatically after the system fails to start several times in a row
BIOS, Award version 6.00PG Memory timings + CAS Latency, RAS Active Time, RAS Precharge Time, RAS to CAS Delay, Dual Channel Mode
Memory frequency selection + Auto, DDR200, DDR240, DDR266, DDR300, DDR320, DDR333, DDR360, DDR400, DDR452, DDR482, DDR502, DDR536, DDR602, DDR670
AGP bus setup -  
PCI bus setup -  
AGP/PCI frequency divider setup + AGP(PCIx2) = 60—100 MHz at 1MHz increments
PCI IRQ manual assignment +  
FSB frequency setup + 100—355 MHz at 1Mhz increments
CPU multiplier -  
CPU core voltage control + 0.8375—1.85 V at 0.0125V increments
Memory voltage control + Normal, +0.1 V
Chipset voltage control -  
AGP voltage control + Normal, +0.1, +0.2, +0.3 V

We used BIOS F3, the latest available version for the moment of testing. The mentioned BIOS parameters are available in the version, but the viability of non-standard settings hasn't been tested. In version F4, CPU firmware has been updated and D stepping Pentium 4's compatibility with memory has been improved.

Performance

According to the results of preliminary tests, this model is somewhat slower than the other reviewed board based on the same chipset. However, the figures speak for themselves, and no visible lag reveals in real tests.

Test ASUS P4S800D-E DeluxeGigabyte 8S655TX Ultra
7-Zip archiving, min:sec 8:248:26
MPEG2 coding, min:sec 10:4410:58
Photoshop image processing, min:sec 12:2312:19
Return to Castle Wolfenstein (Fast@800x600x32), fps221221
Serious Sam: The Second Encounter (Speed@800x600x32), fps135134

This model on the manufacturer's site




Dmitry Mayorov (destrax@ixbt.com)

16.06.2004


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