Which board is better?

Discussion in 'Gigabyte' started by Gorby, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. Gorby

    Gorby Guest

    I have an P35C-DS3R with an C2D Q9650 with 4x1 Gig Corsair DDR2 RAM.

    I have been looking at getting either an EP45-DS4 or EP45-UD3
    motherboard. These are the only available at the local stores as most
    MBs are now DDR3.

    I've looked at the differences, but don't really understand why 2oz of
    extra copper in the MB is any better.
    It is said that the extra copper makes the board run cooler. But the DS4
    has extra cooling on the board with its heatpipe setup over the
    Northbridge, etc.

    The major difference I see is the DS4 has 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports.

    Which do you think is a "better" board? Which one is newer?

    Any help appreciated.
    Thanks
    Gorby
     
    Gorby, Feb 21, 2010
    #1
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  2. The "UD" boards (ultra durable) have heavier copper (the traces are
    thicker). Cracked traces are a source of motherboard failure. Thicker
    traces are less likely to crack. Also, UD motherboards have solid
    capacitors, while the "plain" motherboards have electrolytics.
    Electrolytic capacitors have a limited life, although if they are "good"
    electrolytics, that limited life can still be a couple (or more) decades
    (on the other hand, some "crappy" electrolytics have been known to fail
    within a year).

    You may also find differences in some or all of the associated support
    chips (sound, network, storage, etc.).
     
    Barry Watzman, Feb 22, 2010
    #2
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  3. Gorby

    Paul Guest

    I recommend downloading the user manual for each motherboard from the
    Gigabyte site. One page of the manual contains an architecture diagram,
    and anything they're ashamed of, will be admitted in the footnotes of
    that page. For example, on some motherboards, the PCI Express x1 slots
    and an x4 slot, share the same lane bandwidth. If you were to use the x4
    slot, the x1 slots stop working. It is for issues like that, that you
    should be reading the user manual and doing your comparison.

    As for a definition of half ounce or 2 oz copper, you can see a table
    here. Not all copper conductive layers in the PCB, will be the same
    thickness. Thicker copper helps with power transmission (in the power
    distribution layer). Thinner copper may help with track density and
    impedance control, in signal layers. Even if the copper is aiding
    in the transport of some heat, it eventually has to be
    transferred into the air stream, to get rid of it.

    http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Practical_Electronics/PCB_Layout

    As for finding motherboards with DDR2, there are still some out
    there. I would never think of looking in local computer stores,
    for "unique" motherboards. Local stores have limited stock.
    But if you shop online, you can still find older stock.

    Paul
     
    Paul, Feb 22, 2010
    #3
  4. Gorby

    John Doe Guest

    It might also help when using an infamous Intel heatsink/fan
    combination?
     
    John Doe, Feb 22, 2010
    #4
  5. Gorby

    Gorby Guest

    Thanks for that! It seems that the DS4 has "Ultra Durable2" while the
    UD3 has "Ultra Durable3" (which has the extra copper).

    There seem to be no bad footnotes in either manuals.

    The DS4 does have 2 ethernet ports and RAID in the ICH10 chipset, while
    the UD3 has 1 ethernet port and only RAID in the Jmicron chipset.

    My case has heaps of air blowing into it, so the standard heat pipe
    setup of the DS4 should be better than the extra copper of the UD3.

    It seems to me there is very little difference between the two. I had
    looked for vendors online, but they would come back to me and say that
    the board I had tried to purchase was no longer available at the
    distributors. So I have been left with finding a store (Local or online)
    that says they have a board, then phoning, to see if they really do have it.

    So... I'm going to buy the first one that is available. Either of them,
    it appears it doesn't matter.

    Cheers
    Gordy
     
    Gorby, Feb 22, 2010
    #5
  6. Gorby

    Paul Guest

    ftp://download.gigabyte.ru/manual/mb_manual_ga-ep45-ud3_e.pdf

    ftp://download.gigabyte.ru/manual/motherboard_manual_ga-ep45-ds4(p)_e.pdf

    On page 8 of the EP45-DS4 manual, is the block diagram. The board has
    a PCI Express slot wired with x4 lanes. If you plug an x4 card into the
    slot with the x4 lanes, the lane switches shown, will disconnect the
    three PCI Express x1 slots. So the EP45-DS4 does have a "trick". At least
    one person discovered this while using the board.

    The EP45-DS4 has two slots suitable for video cards. Using external
    lane steering logic, it can run two slots with x8 wiring on each. The
    EP45-UD3 has only one video card slot, running at x16. In fact, if
    Gigabyte wanted, they wouldn't even need to install a P45 Northbridge
    for that board - as the functionality they need to build the board that
    way, is met by the P43. There are no compromises in the lane wiring, and
    all three of the PCI Express x1 slots will be fully operational at
    all times on the UD3.

    It really boils down to what kind of cards you have available
    to you, to insert into the slots. For example, I have a PCI sound
    card that I move from system to system. I have a WinTV card which is
    PCI. I have a Promise Ultra133 card I use occasionally (when I'm playing
    with a lot of IDE drives). The system with three PCI slots might aid
    the reuse of my cards.

    One board has a parallel port, the other does not.

    I count having one GbE LAN port, as a good start. Two GbE LAN ports
    would allow Internet Connection Sharing (ICS), which may be a minor
    benefit if you don't have a GbE Switch or Router, and wish to share
    files at GbE rates between two machines. I've done a setup like this
    before. Windows has ICS built in.

    GbE (ICS) GbE
    Internet ----------- New_computer ------------ Other_computer

    The motherboard with two LAN ports also supports "Teaming", but I don't
    know if in the real world, there is a lot of situations that will come
    into play. This thread discusses how it works.

    http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r23387183-Realtek-NIC-and-Teaming-Question

    I'd have to pick the UD3, simply because it allows me to use my older
    cards. The DS4 might help solve problems, like adding high bandwidth
    PCI Express functions at a future date. So if you were planning on
    getting an expensive hardware RAID card with PCI Express edge connector,
    then the DS4 might be better for that. I don't view Crossfire to be
    a good enough reason to buy a motherboard with two video card class
    slots.

    http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/FileList/Image/mb_productimage_ga-ep45-ud3_1.1_big.jpg

    http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/FileList/Image/motherboard_productimage_ga-ep45-ds4_big.jpg

    On the DS4, instead of putting the three black PCI Express x1 slots,
    they could have put a couple PCI slots instead. At least that
    would have solved my particular wants a bit better. By doing that,
    then there wouldn't be any interaction with the usage of the x4
    PCI Express slot.

    Paul
     
    Paul, Feb 22, 2010
    #6
  7. Gorby

    Fishface Guest

    Why? Is there something wrong with the board you have now?
     
    Fishface, Feb 22, 2010
    #7
  8. Re: "Even if the copper is aiding in the transport of some heat, it
    eventually has to be transferred into the air stream, to get rid of it."

    I do not believe that heat is, at all or in any way, part of the
    thicker/thinner copper issue; I believe that the resistance of the
    copper is low enough that even in the boards with thinner copper, no
    significant level of heat is generated in the copper to begin with.

    HOWEVER, thicker copper would have less resistance. The significance of
    that is that is not necessarily so much that the heat would be better
    dissipated, but rather that the heat would never be generated in the
    first place (or, more correctly, that less heat would be generated).
     
    Barry Watzman, Feb 22, 2010
    #8
  9. The Intel heatsinks and fans are actually pretty good, if you are not
    overclocking.
     
    Barry Watzman, Feb 22, 2010
    #9
  10. Gorby

    John Doe Guest

    Have you ever used one with a quad core CPU? Strangely, the stock
    Intel heatsink that came with my quad core Q9550 is smaller than
    the heatsink that came with my dual core E6850. But what I was
    talking about is that because Intel heatsink/fan combinations have
    no backplate, they bend/warp an ordinary motherboard.
    --
     
    John Doe, Feb 22, 2010
    #10
  11. Gorby

    John Doe Guest

    Unfortunately, Bart does not know how to follow a USENET
    conversation.
    You are clueless, Bart. Copper thickness has absolutely positively
    nothing to do with generating heat.

    And try posting in context like the rest of us do here on USENET,
    Bart. Posting in context helps, especially in a technical
    conversation, assuming you do want others to know what you are
    talking about.
    --
     
    John Doe, Feb 22, 2010
    #11
  12. Gorby

    Gorby Guest

    Thanks again! You have settled my mind.
    I'm going for the UD3.

    I am not using Crossfire, nor intending to in the future. I have a
    Radeon 4870. This card runs all games at max for my 1680x1050 resolution
    monitor. Even if I upgrade to a 5670, then that is still a cheap, yet
    powerful single card. I don't see the need to Crossfire.

    I have no devices that use a parallel port. I print to a print server.

    I also have an XFi ExtremeGamer sound card that will be used on the
    board. The onboard sound chips are OK for speaker use, however you can
    hear hissing with headphones. The external sound card is much better
    (and is better in games, as well).

    What sort of cards use the x4 PCI slot? The XFi sound card only uses a
    x1 slot.

    Let's hope the UD3 is still there...
    Cheers
    Gordy
     
    Gorby, Feb 22, 2010
    #12
  13. Gorby

    Paul Guest

    PCI Express lanes are high speed serial connections. A "Version 1"
    lane is 250MB/sec. A "Version 2" lane is 500MB/sec. Generally speaking,
    they now put Version 2 lanes on the Northbridge, and the Northbridge
    drives the video card slot(s).

    The Southbridge has "Version 1" lanes. They are used for applications
    on the motherboard, such as the GbE Ethernet chip, a small SATA/IDE
    controller. Things like Firewire might use the existing PCI bus
    on the motherboard.

    Left over lanes, are wired to PCI Express slots.

    The way the slots work, is they can use as big a connector as they
    want. The motherboard designer could use x16 sized slots for every
    PCI Express connector placed on the board.

    Then, they don't have to wire up all the pins on the connector.
    They can install a x16 connector and wire up x4 of the lanes.
    This is why a buyer must read the architecture diagram *very carefully*
    to figure out what bandwidth any of the slots is getting.

    Installed cards, can use variable numbers of lanes. For example,
    if you used a x16 connector, then an x16, x8, x4, or x1 card could
    fit, but if only x4 lanes were wired, the maximum bandwidth
    available would be proportional to x4 (about 1GB/sec). The x1 card
    would get 250MB/sec max. The x4 card 1GB/sec max. The x8 and x16
    would also be limited to 1GB/sec max, because not all the lanes
    are wired up. (Note - the reason I'm quoting these particular numbers,
    is because an x4 slot would typically be connected to the Southbridge,
    and so the lanes are likely to be the slower kind.)

    Northbridge ------- PCI Express x16 Version 2 ----> video card
    | 8GB/sec
    |
    | DMI bus 2GB/sec
    |
    Southbridge ------- PCI Express x1 or x4, Version 1 lanes
    | at 250MB/sec per lane. Up to 8 lanes on
    PCI the Southbridge.

    x4 might be suitable for a USB3 or SATA3 card (coming soon to a
    store near you). x4 might also be suitable for some kind of RAID
    storage card (4, 8, 12, 16, 24 SATA connectors).

    With the slot types, you really need to survey the market, and
    see what slots are popular, and what slots you can use for
    various stuff.

    For example, there are "workstation" motherboards out there, which
    include a PCI-X bridge chip and a couple PCI-X slots. The slots
    are relatively long, and use PCI protocol like the smaller
    regular 32 bit PCI slots. But the PCI-X slots support much higher bandwidth.
    Normally, you wouldn't be interested in those, except if you could
    get RAID cards on the used market. Sometimes, you can find a better
    deal, on some older technology, that just happens to fit a PCI-X
    slot. PCI-X would more normally have been a server motherboard
    technology. Workstation motherboards, are desktop boards, with
    a couple PCI-X slots thrown in, so you can get some old stuff
    from servers and plug it in.

    Slowly, more PCI Express type cards are becoming available. And you may
    find the odd reasonably priced card with a connector larger than x1.

    Again, it all depends on the final objective for the box. If you
    were building a file server, you'd then spend more time matching
    slot type, to the used RAID controller market. The PCI Express slots
    they're putting on motherboards now, go largely unused, but things
    won't stay that way forever.

    I like the old 32 bit PCI slots, because I already own a few different
    cards, which I use regularly. I prefer my PCI sound card, because
    the EAX support isn't broken on it, and it seems to work better
    than some of the AC'97 and HDAudio onboard sound solutions I've
    tried. And my WinTV BT878, allows me to copy stuff from the VCR.
    I don't own any RAID cards (and will probably never be able to
    afford them). I have several SCSI cards, but the disks I have for
    them are museum pieces.

    Paul
     
    Paul, Feb 23, 2010
    #13
  14. Gorby

    John Doe Guest

    On second thought, probably not. If the motherboard is thicker,
    the pins are going to stick farther through before they latch, and
    actually bend the motherboard more. I used long clamp style heavy
    duty vise grips to hold the heatsink on the CPU, with some wood in
    between for cushioning. I think it stuck the CPU to the heatsink
    pretty well, at least the temperatures are very low :D

    Next time I go with Intel, I will consider the cost of buying a
    real heatsink/fan in addition to the CPU.
     
    John Doe, Feb 26, 2010
    #14
  15. Gorby

    Keith Guest

    what are your RAM settings- on my P35 board with Corsair PC6400
    (CM2x1024-6400C4) RAM, I cannot run 4 x 1 GB at 400 MHz only 270 , so I run
    only 2 x 1 GB at higher speeds to avoid RAM errors.
     
    Keith, May 27, 2010
    #15
  16. Gorby

    Gorby Guest

    Sorry! I can't help now. I've purchased a new MB with a P45 chip.
    I don't remember what the old RAM settings were. I do remember giving
    them a touch more voltage (as stated in the Corsair web site for that RAM).

    Those 4 sticks of Corsair RAM are now running happily in the P45 MB.
     
    Gorby, May 27, 2010
    #16
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