Intel D865GBF 865G Motherboard Review

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

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

 

Quake III v.1.17 Demo001
Classic OpenGL

Quake III has the 865G chipset performing right up there with the higher-end 875P.  Both chipsets are capable of delivering 6.4GB per second of throughput to the Pentium 4 processor, and they both run stably at the 800MHz front side bus setting.  The E7205 "Granite Bay" chipset doesn't do nearly as well, likely due to the more restricted bandwidth pipeline, though its 339 frames per second isn't shabby.  AMD's Athlon XP 3200+ trails further behind "Granite Bay," though Quake III has never favored the K7 architecture anyway.

3D Mark 2003
Synthetic DirectX 9 Gaming

At 1024x768, the difference between the competing platforms is somewhat dulled.  However, there is still a discernable difference that seems to mirror what we saw in the Quake III tests.  That is to say, the 875P board reigns supreme with the 865G and E7205 systems following, in that order.  The nForce2 Ultra 400 system take last place, though by a fairly narrow margin.

Content Creation Winstone 2002 and Business Winstone 2002
Simulated Application Performance

In a somewhat surprising twist of events, the Athlon XP 3200+ turns the tides on Intel's entire product lineup, besting even the mighty 875P in both Content Creation and Business Winstone 2002.  The 875P takes a second place finish in Content Creation, right above the 865G and E7205 platforms, respectively.  Business Winstone actually favors the E7205 "Granite Bay," which may be due to the 60MHz speed advantage held by the 3.06GHz chip.  875P takes a second place finish and the new 865G is forced to the back of the pack this time around. 

 

Conclusion:

With the release of the 865 chipset family, Intel is making its first venture into the world of mainstream chipsets with dual-channel memory support.  The E7205 "Granite Bay" chipset proved that Intel was serious about eliminating RDRAM from its repertoire.  Then, the subsequent 875P release proved to be the first time the 850E chipset had been eclipsed.  Both chipsets were, and continue to be, prohibitively expensive for mainstream buyers, though. In fact, both E7205 and 875P motherboards continue to sell for more than $160 online.  Intel 865-based boards, on the other hand, promise to be much more affordable, and as we just saw, performance isn't a far cry from the 875P above it.

With regards to Intel's entry-level D865GBF, the board performs well, offers several useful features, and can be found online for under $140.  It isn't for everyone, but the board does have some particularly endearing features.  The first, and most obvious, is support for the new 800MHz front side bus.  It also features native Serial ATA support, though Intel's ICH5-R is missing, meaning RAID 0 support isn't available.  Instead look to features like USB 2.0 and integrated graphics to satiate the average user who is more concerned with general Web usage than Half Life 2.  The included Gigabit Ethernet feature may be a bit overkill, but it does allow the platform to utilize Intel's CSA networking architecture. 

Of course, there are downsides to go along with the D865GBF's virtues.  As we mentioned, there is no RAID 0 support on the Serial ATA interface (though Intel  claims there will be other boards to incorporate the 865G and ICH5-R components).  Most obvious is the integrated graphics performance, which is insufficient for most 3D applications.  Sure, it may keep the casual user happy, but as we found, even an older game like Quake III will reel from the lack of 3D punch.  If you're serious about Intel's new 865 chipset and would like a little more flexibility as a power user, consider Intel's D865PERL.  It costs about $20 less (at the expense of the integrated graphics) and is more closely tailored to the needs of an enthusiast.

 

  • Stable board, Intel quality
  • Feature-rich (S-ATA, Gigabit Ethernet, 800MHz FSB support)
  • BIOS options allow memory tweaking and minimal overclocking
  • Much more competitive price than 875P and E7205 boards
  • We'd like to see the ability to adjust front side bus settings
  • Integrated graphics are fairly mundane
  • Price is a bit higher than some other attractive 865-based motherboards

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

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