Gigabyte's GA8TX i850 Pentium 4 Motherboard - HotHardware

Gigabyte's GA8TX i850 Pentium 4 Motherboard

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Gigabyte's GA-8TX - i850 Pentium 4 Motherboard
No frills performance

By Dave Altavilla
1/10/2001

 
The beautiful thing about a new processor platform is that with it is born a whole new architecture and motherboard platform to go with it.  Pentium 4 motherboards are flowing fairly freely now from various vendors and the second P4 / i850 based product we have up to bat is from one of the largest Taiwanese vendors in the market, Gigabyte

You probably didn't know this but Gigabyte is in the top echelon of manufacturers in this space and they ship about a million motherboards a month.  That my friends, is a lot of product.  They do well in the OEM sector which is where the volume is, so it is no surprise.  However here at HotHardware, we are more interested in products based on the end user experience versus the OEM.  This is a look at Gigabyte's GA-8TX Pentium 4  i850 based motherboard.  Let's see if Gigabyte can deliver here as well.
 

Specifications / Features of the Gigabyte GA-8TX
Straight up i850 with a good layout

  • PROCESSOR 
    PGA 423 socket for Intel® Pentium® 4 processor 
    Supports 100/105*/110*/133* MHz system bus (400MHz data bus, 200MHz address bus frequency) 
    AUTO detect CPU voltage 
     

  • CHIPSET 
    Intel® 850 AGPset + ICH2 
    Creative CT5880 PCI sound chip; AC97 codec 
    Winbond W83627HF LPCIO + health monitoring 
     

  • MEMORY 
    64MB to 2GB memory size 
    4 x RIMM sockets; Dual RAMBUS channel support 
    Supports 64/128/256/512 MB RAMBUS RIMM module 
    Supports ECC type RIMM module 
     

  • SLOTS 
    1 x AGP Pro slot supports AGP Pro AGP card, and 2X/4X mode AGP card (1.5V only) 
    1 x CNR (Communication Networking Riser) slot (Shared with PCI slot) 
    5 x PCI slots support 33MHz & PCI 2.2 compliant 
     

  • I/O 
    2 x UDMA ATA 100/66/33 Bus Master IDE ports on board 
    1 x FDD, 2 x COM, 1 x LPT, PS/2 Keyboard, PS/2 Mouse on board 
    1 x Joystick, 1 x Line-in, 1 x Line-out, 1 x MIC on board 
    4 x USB ports (2 on board and another 2 by optional cable) 
    IrDA header ready 
     

  • POWER 
    ATX power connector, ATX 12V connector, 3.3V AUX Power Connector 
    Power-on by K/B, PS/2 Mouse, LAN, RTC, Modem & switch 
    Supports USB device wake-up 
    Suspend / Wake-on by ACPI & APM device 
    AC recovery ON/OFF control; 3 level ACPI LED support 
    Stop CPU fan during entering suspend mode 

  • FORM FACTOR 
    ATX , 6 layer PCB (30.5*24.4cm)

Those of you that have been doing your homework, will notice that the CPU socket on the GA-8TX is mounted to the board with plastic press fit pins.  Three cheers for Gigabyte and a few others who have found a way around the obstacle of mounting the socket heat sink retention brackets for the P4 socket.  We just got one other board that uses this method but the design on the GA-8TX allows you to drop the GA-8TX into any ATX case without the need for modification for the mounts on retention brackets. 

   

Other notables are that the layout is clean and well planned with power connectors on the edge of the PCB away from the CPU socket.  In addition, you'll notice in the middle shot, that the GA-8TX has a set of dip switches.  These are for setting the Front Side Bus speed on the board manually and there is no other way ( as with many BIOS setups on the market ) to set the CPU frequency. 

It is on this note that we see the more "OEMish" side of the Gigabyte approach to motherboards.  The Power Users in our audience may not find this board to be as flexible as other boards with soft menu CPU BIOS settings, like the Asus P4T.  Other than that, the GA-8TX seems to be constructed well and made of top end quality components.  Let's see if the whole board is equal to the sum of its parts.

Setup, Installation and Overclocking

 

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