Gigabyte's GA6OXM7E i815 Socket 370 Motherboard Review

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Gigabyte's GA6OXM7E i815 Socket 370 Motherboard Review - Page 2

Gigabyte's GA-6OXM7E i815 Socket 370 Motherboard
It sure looks nice...but how does it perform?

By, Marco ?BigWop? Chiappetta
11 / 2 / 2000

  
As usual, when we get a new product here in the lab we give it a thorough visual inspection. Just by looking at the GA-6OXM7E it is obvious that much thought was put into the design and layout of this board. The craftsmanship and overall quality of all the traces, solder points and all the mounted components was excellent. 

Besides the cool blue PCB, the first thing we noticed was the abundant array of capacitors and coils surrounding the Socket 370 connector.

              

To put thing in the most basic of ways, the more capacitors filtering the power to the processor, the better!  Smooth clean power equates to excellent stability.  The GA-6OXM7E proved to be very stable throughout testing.  We did not experience a single crash until we pushed our processor way beyond it's rated specification.

Finally!  With the introduction of the i815, we're finally beginning to see motherboards with our favorite slot configuration.  The GA-6OXM7E comes with a single AGP slot, 6 PCI slots and a single CNR slot.  ISA slots will soon be nothing more than a fond memory....

              

Another welcome feature is the on-board Creative Labs audio.  Most other motherboards ship with a basic AC-97 compatible chip but not the GA-6OXM7E.  Most power users will still opt for a more powerful add-in sound card but the on-board sound is more than adequate for most tasks.  Once we had our test system up an running we actually played a little F.A.K.K. 2 using the on-board sound and it worked great.  Also notice the excellent placement of the audio connectors.  We've seen these audio connectors at all different locations on many boards but Gigabyte's placement is the best so far.  They are out of the way of all slots and components and they are placed high on the board so users should have no problems with the length of their CD-Rom audio cables.  I can't tell you how many times I've have to move a sound card to a different slot because an audio cable wouldn't reach!

Gigabyte has been implementing a feature they call DualBIOS on many of their "higher"-end boards.

The second BIOS chip you see in the picture above basically acts as a backup for the main chip.  Should you encounter an error during flashing or have your BIOS damaged by a virus like the C.I.H. virus, you can easily recover the system by restoring the data from the second chip.  This is a great feature and virtually eliminates downtime due to a BIOS problem.

Lastly, we just want to show you the plethora of connectors on the edge of the board.

There are connectors for the Smart Card reader, front USB ports, Fan Headers and a slew of others.  The GA-6OXM7E gets an "A" in the "Bells and Whistles" department!

Installation and Setup
It's ATX, you'll figure it out...

Ahh...the installation portion of a motherboard review.  It's very tough to come up with things to say with all of these ATX mobo's.  As long as you have the board properly insulated from your case using brass or plastic standoffs there isn't much that can go wrong.  Physical installation into the case was a no brainer.

Once your board is mounted, you'll want to enter the BIOS and do some tinkering to get the best possible performance out of your rig...

     

Please excuse the blurry photos, the El Wopo hasn't sprung for a tripod yet!  

There are also some drivers to install depending on which OS you're running.  Gigabyte supplies a CD with all of the drivers you'll need to get things up and running properly.  Simply run setup and you're good to go.

Benchmarks, Over-clocking and Conclusion

 

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