Over the years we’ve had the pleasure of watching many companies evolve, expanding into different markets and ultimately attempting to meet the needs of a new group of consumers. Sometimes these transitions can be brutal, with final products that fail to live up to their billing. Said company will then chalk the experience up as a lesson learned and move on, or pack up their products and stay with tried and tested waters, never to enter that market again. Fortunately the latter example doesn’t apply to Gigabyte.
Gigabyte Technology, frequently referred to as Gigabyte, has been in the motherboard business for quite awhile, establishing itself as one Taiwan’s largest motherboard manufacturers, right up there with ASUS and MSI. Today Gigabyte is a well-known name in enthusiast circles, but just a few years ago the company relied mainly on its OEM roots.
From OEMs to Prosumers
The OEM market served Gigabyte well, but ultimately the company wanted to compete in the high-end space as well. Gigabyte had a few compelling features going for it. For instance, Gigabyte was the world’s first motherboard manufacturer to implement dual BIOS chips, providing end users with a form of backup protection in case their original BIOS became corrupted. In today’s Internet age of viruses that will attack the system’s BIOS, this feature is a welcome addition. For years Gigabyte was also the only motherboard manufacturer to implement integrated audio from Creative Labs, this was miles ahead of the audio CODECs implemented on most motherboards, if integrated audio was offered at all.
Despite this, Gigabyte’s initial offerings didn’t quite get everything right. Jumperless motherboards from manufacturers like ABIT and ASUS were becoming increasingly popular. In comparison, Gigabyte’s motherboards relied on dipswitches for multiplier adjustment, and the bus speed offerings weren’t as robust. Slowly but surely Gigabyte refined its formula, adopting new technologies and addressing end user’s concerns. Just as the Lamborghini Murciélago wasn’t born overnight, Gigabyte has been steadily tinkering with its board designs, testing new features for performance and stability before they’re finally adopted in the final retail product.
This slow but steady approach has been almost frustrating for us at times. There have been multiple instances where Gigabyte’s motherboards have come oh-so close to motherboard perfection in the roundups we’ve conducted, only to be set back by Gigabyte’s more conservative (read: jumpers and dipswitches) thinking. Then Gigabyte shocked us, and the world, with its 6-Dual Miracle last year.
System up and running with DPS2
CPU interface, empty DPS slot on left
The 6-Dual Miracle
For those of you who don’t know, the 6-Dual Miracle is the name Gigabyte has come up with to summarize a few important new features unique to Gigabyte’s motherboards. The first two miracles apply to Intel’s new Pentium 4 processors with Hyper-Threading and the dual-channel nature of the chipset, whether it is 875P, 865P, SiS 655, or E7205. The third, and most interesting miracle is Gigabyte’s Dual Power System (DPS). DPS is essentially an external power source, capable of delivering more juice to the CPU. This gives Gigabyte a six-phase power solution, more than any other motherboard manufacturer. Gigabyte claims that this should extend the durability of the system. With faster processors requiring increasing levels of voltage, you can be rest assured that the DPS has enough power on tap to keep up with Intel’s latest and greatest.
The fourth miracle relates to the dual active cooling solutions Gigabyte has incorporated on its motherboards. One cooling unit with fan is present on the chipset North Bridge, while the DPS module is equipped with active cooling as well. The fifth miracle refers to Gigabyte’s dual RAID controllers, one for Serial ATA drives and the other for parallel drives, while the sixth miracle is for Gigabyte’s tried and true DualBIOS technology we referred to earlier.
For 875P, Gigabyte has refined its 6-Dual miracle technology, and added another feature you won’t find on any other 875P motherboard – 6 DIMM sockets! Lets take a closer look at what this motherboard has to offer.