GA-965P-DS3 Installation comments

Discussion in 'Gigabyte' started by Barry Watzman, Sep 9, 2006.

  1. This ia another post of my experiences with my new GA-965P-DS3 board.
    These are mostly Windows installation notes. My system has two SATA
    hard drives (being used as standard drives in a non-RAID mode) and two
    IDE optical drives (DVD burners).

    Generally, the board is working well and I'm happy with it. I've had no
    serious problems with it, but the BIOS seems just a tad less refined
    than on my previous high-end Asus boards.

    I chose this board while considering this board, the Asus P5B and the
    MSI-P96-Neo-F. All 3 of these boards are substantially identical in
    terms of base hardware, they all use the Intel 965 chipset, the Intel
    ICH8 and a supplemental chip from JMicron (Gigabyte calls it a Gigabyte
    SATA chip, but it's made by JMicron chip and apparently it's
    substantially if not exactly identical to the one used in the Asus and
    MSI boards). Consequently, some of these notes may apply to those
    boards (and any boards using a similar configuration) as well. I would
    have gotten the Asus board except for the fact that it doesn't have a
    serial port on the back (there is a serial port present on the board,
    but not only is there no connector for it on the back of the board, they
    don't even give you the cable to connect to it using an expansion slot
    bracket). Personally, if anyone made a board with two serial ports, two
    IDE ports (4 drives) and a floppy port that supported two floppy drives,
    I would have bought it. But no such board currently exists.

    A SATA hard drive to be used in a non-RAID mode should ideally be
    connected to one of the two SATA ports from the JMicron chip rather than
    to the Intel ICH8. This is because the JMicron chip supports AHCI and
    NCQ, while ICH8 does not, thus you may get higher performance using the
    JMicron chip. However, when I did my installation this way, Windows
    ended up installed on the hard drive as drive J: instead of drive C: (I
    had various other storage devices connected, including USB devices, that
    were assigned C: through I:). Because the ports on the JMicron
    controller are driven through a device driver, they will apparently be
    seen after any devices directly supported by the Intel chipset. The
    solution to this was to put the drive on port 0 of the Intel chipset for
    the Windows installation. Following installation, I moved the drive
    back to the JMicron chipset, but once installed as C:, it continues to
    be seen as C:. Problem solved.

    You will need to use the "F6" driver for installation so that the
    JMicron ports will be seen and available (even though the drive was
    temporarily on ICH8, Windows installation still needed access to the
    optical drives, which are IDE, and the JMicron chip is the IDE
    controller as well). When you attempt to use the F6 driver, you will be
    shown that it supports something like a half-dozen different chips, and
    you will be asked to pick one. Problem is, nowhere in the Gigabyte
    manual or on the baord is the part number of the chip given. Also, each
    chip is listed twice, once for the SATA ports to be used in a RAID mode
    and once in an AHCI mode (non-Raid). I therefore tried to select all of
    various chips (you can install more than one F6 driver), at which point
    it became clear that it apparently doesn't matter which chip you select,
    they are in fact all the same. Of course you should select RAID or AHCI
    based on your plans for using the two SATA ports.

    If you plan to do any DOS type operations on drives connected to the
    JMicron chip (and "drives" here includes both the SATA ports and the IDE
    ports, and both hard drives and optical (CD/DVD) drives), you should
    make up a DOS bootable floppy (or CD) that includes the DOS drivers for
    the JMicron chip, and the necessary config.sys (and, for optical drives
    (which need MSCDEX), autoexec.bat). Doing so will allow all of the
    JMicron chip's ports (SATA and IDE) and connected drives to be seen from
    DOS. The DOS driver is downloadable from the Gigabyte web site (it may
    be on the CD, but I got it from the web site). The best DOS to use is
    one extracted from Windows 98SE because it supports FAT32 and drives up
    to 137GB. You can access and manipulate the first 137GB of drives over
    137 gigabytes as long as you are VERY careful not to even attempt any
    operation that would access any part of the drive beyond the first 137GB
    (my drives are both 320GB).

    Some people are reporting that you can't use both the SATA and the IDE
    ports of the JMicron chip concurrently. If that is true at all, it is
    only true when the SATA ports are used in a RAID mode. I have no
    problems at all using two non-Raid SATA 320GB drives on the two JMicron
    chip's SATA ports with two IDE optical drives on the IDE port.

    Overall, I'm very happy with the GA-965P-DS3 so far. The Conroe / Core
    2 Duo E6600 is blazingly fast. Disk I/O also seems far faster than it
    was with my previous system (3.06GHz P4 with Hyperthreading, using
    standard ATA/100 IDE drives).

    If I have more comments, I will post them.
    Barry Watzman, Sep 9, 2006
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  2. Barry Watzman

    Bob H Guest

    Thks for posting this, I would never have know all this; I just purchased a
    version 1.0 in a CompUSA closedown for U$ 75.; had to purch a 775 Centrino
    to flash up to latest to get the E4300 to work; parts coming.
    Bob H, Apr 29, 2007
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  3. Barry Watzman

    Johnny Bravo

    Oct 1, 2007
    Likes Received:

    Very good review, I was trying to set ICH8 on AHCI for 3 days wondering why it doesn't work. Jmicron ports are ocuppied by RAID.
    Johnny Bravo, Oct 1, 2007
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