Intel D865GBF 865G Motherboard Review

Intel D865GBF 865G Motherboard Review - Page 1

Intel D865GBF 865G Motherboard Review
Springdale Goes Mainstream, With Graphics

By: Chris Angelini
and Dave Altavilla
May 21st, 2003

We've come to know Intel as a conservative company, generally unwilling to take precarious risks on unproven technology.  Yet, just last month, Intel unveiled its first true flagship platform since the i850E, complete with an 800MHz front side bus and two channels of 64-bit DDR400 memory.  We certainly can understand the importance of an 800MHz front side bus.  Not only does the faster bus establish a performance advantage over AMD's best effort (which incidentally also recently saw an increase in front side bus speed), but it also lays the foundation for the upcoming 'Prescott' core that will also launch on an 800MHz bus.  Similarly, the rationale behind DDR400 is also clear.  In order to avoid incurring the performance penalty associated with clock synchronization, Intel needed the memory bus to run at a derivative of the system bus.  NVIDIA encountered the same issue with its nForce2 platform, which is why we saw Athlon XP processors running faster with synchronous memory, even though NVIDIA boasted DDR400 capabilities.  As Intel's luck would have it, DDR400 memory is more available now than when nForce2 launched. But why does DDR400 still sound so risqué?  Well, we haven't found memory modules from any two manufacturers that behave in exactly the same way.  Although we'd expect the D865GBF to run properly with aggressively tuned memory settings, the board has to be manually de-tuned a bit to operate properly.  Even still, Intel looks to have built a platform worthy of succeeding the RDRAM-equipped i850E. 

Keep in mind that the 865G board on the bench today represents one chipset from a family of three other "mainstream" platforms.  The "G" denotes that the silicon includes an integrated graphics controller. Its brother, 865P, is the entry-level solution with 400/533MHz front side bus support and DDR266/333 memory support.  Finally, the 865PE features a 533/800MHz FSB and the same dual-channel DDR400 memory bus as the 865G we're looking at today. 

Specifications and Features of Intel's D865GBF
Dual Channel DDR400 Goes Mainstream



  • Supports Intel Pentium 4 Socket 478 processors with 800/533 MHz FSB (with Hyper Threading support)


  • Intel 865G / ICH5

  • Supports Ultra DMA 33/66/100 and Serial ATA 150

  • Accelerated Graphics Port connector supports AGP 8X Interface


  • Four 184-pin DIMM sockets

  • Supports 3200/2700/2100 (Max. 4GB)

Serial ATA:

  • Integrated Serial ATA; two channels, no RAID support


  • Six channel audio

USB 2.0:

  • 8 USB 2.0 ports


  • Intel 8254 Gigabit Ethernet through Communications Streaming Architecture (CSA)

Internal I/O Connectors:

  • 1 AGP 8X slot, 6 PCI slots

  • Floppy Port supports up to 2.88MB

  • 2 x Ultra DMA 33/66/100 Connectors

  • 2 x Serial ATA 1.5G bps Connectors

  • CD/AUX/Modem audio input

Back Panel I/O:

  • 1 x PS/2 Keyboard, 1 x PS/2 mouse

  • 4 x USB connectors

  • 1 x 15-pin VGA connector

  • Audio I/O

  • 1 x RJ-45 LAN Connector

  • 1 x parallel port, 1 x serial port


  • ATX form factor (12" x 8.5")

  • Hardware monitoring - Including Fan speeds, Voltages, CPU and System environment temperature

  • Three fan headers

By integrating Serial ATA and an extra USB 2.0 controller, Intel has given the 865G chipset enhanced functionality that results in space savings on the board itself and increased connectivity.  Intel gives third-party manufacturers the option to connect a 10/100Mbps PHY to the chipset's ICH5, but the D865GBF instead features a Gigabit Ethernet controller that stems from the MCH with its own dedicated link. 

Intel has championed the use of USB, so it is no surprise that USB 2.0 support is included in the ICH5.  Four ports are offered on the board's back panel and an additional four are available through headers.  Because the D865GBF is a more mainstream product, the board doesn't sport Firewire capabilities.  However, Intel's "enthusiast" 865PE board, the D865PERL, does offer Firewire connectivity.  The D865PERL also sports the ICH5-R controller, a feature that Intel lists as option for the 865G product family.

The BIOS, Layout and Intel Extreme Graphics 

Tags:  Intel, Motherboard, GB, review, board, view, 5G, IE, AR

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