Gigabyte GA-8S655FX Ultra - Page 3

..:: Layout: Socket Area ::..

If thereís one thing weíve noticed in our reviews of Gigabyte motherboards over the past several months, itís that they are rather, well, bright. Gigabyte adopted a new way of visually classifying their motherboard product capabilities via using colors as forms of identification. This has been used for both aesthetic reasons and for ease of identification of product features simply by taking a look at the motherboard itself. As we have seen in previous reviews, items such as an orange retention mechanism for the processor socket tells the user visually that the motherboard supports both 533MHz and 800MHz FSB microprocessors, as well as how the orange and purple DIMMís mean that the board offers a dual channel solution with support up to DDR400 specifications.

The Socket 478 processor socket and retention mechanism are oriented lengthwise from north to south, running all the way to the top edge of the motherboard. The area around the heat sink retention mechanism is rather cluttered along the left hand side, with a large number of capacitors and other vital electrical components. Along the right hand side of the retention mechanism, we find little in the way of any major electrical components, although near the top edge of the PCB we do come across the CPUís three-pin power connector. This is the typical location for this fan header as it provides capabilities for use with HSF units that have shorter power cables than do some aftermarket solutions that are more popular amongst the overclocking and enthusiast crowds.

To the left of the processor socket area, we next come across the core components of the GA-8S655FX Ultraís core voltage supply. Here we can see that the GA-8S655FX Ultra provides a three-phase power solution driving two FETís per phase. The GA-8S655FX Ultra uses a pairing of the Intersil ISL6556BCB, and HIP6602BCB chips for phase control, over / under voltage monitoring, and for driving the FETís. The 6556BCB chip controls the voltage for the processor, and allows for up to 4 buck channels, a 6-Bit VID, and features integrated temperature compensation. Due to the 6-Bit VID input, this allows for voltages between .8375V to 1.600V in 12.5mV steps. As usual, some may be rather disappointed at the lack of higher voltage settings for the processor, although as we have seen in the past many manufacturers find ways to up the voltage that can be supplied with a little engineering know-how. The 6602BCB chip is the MOSFET driver which drives both gates in a range of 5V to 12V. This area also houses both the input and output capacitors for the core voltage power supply, all of which are manufacturer by Sanyo and are rated for either 3300uF or 1500uF.