Board Layout and BIOS of the D865GBF
Performance, and Value, Oh My!
as we'd expect, done a fair job at laying out
components on the D865GBF. Ten electrolytic
capacitors flank the Socket 478 processor interface
and the 865G MCH is passively cooled with a large
aluminum heat sink, but for the most part, there is
plenty of room to work around the board. The
memory slots are positioned parallel to each other and
are labeled to ensure that the user enables
dual-channel memory operation. The 4-pin
auxiliary power connector isn't in an optimal
location, but Intel's choice for the 20-pin ATX
connector was much better. You'll also notice
that there is a lot of excess space at the bottom of
the D865GBF, due in part to the number of features
Intel has integrated into the ICH5. At the back
of the board, Intel has included four USB 2.0 ports,
an RJ-45 port with Gigabit Ethernet compliance, a
15-pin VGA output, one serial port, a parallel port,
PS/2 connections and three, 1/8" mini-plugs for audio.
Intel's E7205 chipset launched, the big news was that
the platform utilized dual-channel DDR266 memory for a
combined 4.2GB per second of bandwidth. This go
'round, Intel has incorporated dual channel DDR400
support to compliment the 800MHz front side bus.
The 875P chipset includes similar capabilities; the
main difference between the two is that 875P also
comes equipped with Intel's Performance Acceleration
Technology, purportedly giving it a performance edge.
But even while Intel cites DDR400 compliance for its
865G platform, we were unable to boot the board using
programmed SPD settings.
One AGP 8x and six PCI slots
Integrated SATA Controller
though the D865GBF can technically be viewed as a
mainstream product, Intel has forsaken the CNR slot
normally found at the bottom of its boards.
includes integrated audio and Gigabit Ethernet, which
comes compliments of Intel's new CSA bus, as
previously mentioned. The board sports a total
of six PCI slots and a single AGP 8x slot.
Fortunately, none of the AGP problems we ran into with
the E7205 chipset and RADEON cards ever materialized,
and it seems that Intel has patched up the erratum
previously responsible for random rebooting.
we reviewed Intel's D845PEBT2 i845PE board, we noticed
that the memory slots came a bit close to the
installed AGP card and the same potential hazard
exists with the D865GBF. If you're looking to
perform a memory upgrade, the graphics card will
certainly have to come out first. Of course, the
new ICH5 lends the board native support for Serial
ATA. Proponents of Serial ATA RAID will have to
look elsewhere, though, since only the ICH5-R includes
that feature. Intel's D865PERL is one
alternative with software-based RAID 0.
more than a few third-party motherboard manufacturers
that have developed reputations for building
high-quality boards and then including capable BIOS
options to unlock the hardware's potential.
Intel, for the most part, has historically opted to
equip its boards with more conservative settings, the
sort that business and OEMs favor for ease of use.
Let's face it: without the option to overclock, frying
processors becomes significantly more difficult.
But Intel's staunch anti-overclocking stance has
loosened up as of late. The D865GBF includes a
special Burn-In mode that facilitates, at maximum, a
four percent overclock. So, our 3GHz engineering
sample was bumped up to a comfortable 3120MHz.
Additionally, the board features several options for
adjusting memory timings, many of which were
incidentally too aggressive for the board itself (our
XMS3200LL modules work at 2-2-2-5 on several other
boards). Beyond the "enthusiast" features, the
D865GBF's BIOS has a few AGP and USB configuration
hardware monitoring screen shows voltages, fan speeds
and temperature readings on the board, though
there are no adjustable voltage options within the
BIOS. Intel also offers a software utility that
displays these same readings from within Windows.
The main BIOS screen contains general system
information, as well as a switch for Hyper Threading
(in the case of applicable processors, like the newly
released 2.4, 2.6, and 2.8GHz Pentium 4 chips).
Extreme Graphics 2:
One of the more
significant selling points for Intel's D865GBF is its
integrated graphics, based on the 266MHz core
previously found in the i845GE MCH and updated with
AGP 8x support. We'd suppose that Intel is
adding a "2" to its Extreme Graphics moniker because
the 865G provides for more graphics bandwidth, thanks
to the dual-channel DDR400 memory configuration.
Even still, the graph above speaks for itself.
Intel will need a lot more than extra memory bandwidth
if it wants to compete with some of the other
integrated graphics products we've been hearing about.
Intel's 865G does provide impressive 2D image
quality. But, if you are going to venture into
3D, pick up a RADEON 9000, at the very least.
Intel Extreme Graphics 2 Driver