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New motherboard arrived

July 9, 2008

Well, as I stated in my previous post, I ordered a new Gigabyte GA-X48-DS4 motherboard to replace my ASUS board that couldn’t handle 4 DIMMS of memory.  It came in yesterday and I finally got it all up and running.

First of all, I had to remove the old ASUS board from my case, which was a chore considering all the cables in there.  I finally got it out of the case, at which point I had to remove all the extra junk like the heatsink, heatsink mount, I/O shield, etc.  I also took this opportunity to swap out the motherboard standoffs that I had been using.  The case I have is a cube case that uses longer standoffs than my other tower cases.  Unfortunately, I thought I had lost those longer standoffs awhile ago so I had been using shorter standoffs with washers under them to give them some height.  Well, when I moved in to my new place recently, I found the bag with the longer standoffs, so I installed those.

When I unpacked the new Gigabyte motherboard, I was a bit scared because one of the smaller heatsinks on the board was hanging half off the board.  One of the small plastic pegs that held the heatsink in place had popped out and was just sitting in the static bag.  The metal spring that goes on the plastic peg was also missing.  Luckily, the peg was in the bag and the metal spring had gotten caught on one of the stickers that was on the motherboard itself.  So I put the spring on the peg and reinstalled it.  The heatsink is now secured to the board like it should be.  Not a good start, though!

I got everything installed into the case, but then discovered that the 8-pin power connector on my power supply didn’t have long enough wires to reach the 8-pin header on the motherboard.  As I said, this is a cube case, which is basically two mid-towers slapped together.  There is a metal motherboard tray straight down the middle of the case.  The motherboard is mounted on one side of the case and the drives and power supply are mounted in the other side of the case.  This is a good configuration if you’re looking for a crapload of hard drive mounting space (which is why I got this case), but the location of the power supply makes it difficult to run the cables to the motherboard.  Luckily I had an old 8-pin connector from an old modular power supply, so I spent a half an hour cutting and splicing the cables to extend my 8-pin connecter by about 10 inches.

After that headache, I got the heatsink mounted, the RAM DIMMs installed, both of my new Sapphire HD 3650 graphics cards installed, and all the fans and power buttons and LEDs connected.  Finally, I powered the system on.  YAY!  Everything worked!  I got two of my hard drives set up in a RAID0 configuration, installed Vista x64 onto the RAID, and Vista didn’t blue screen with the RAM like it did on my ASUS board.  Now Vista is up and running with the full 8GB of RAM!  I got SP1 installed and went to bed because by this time it was about 11:30pm and I have to get up at 5am to go to work.

So when I get home today I have to finish up installing the latest hotfixes, anti-virus, etc.  But I’m just glad that everything works and I can finally use the full 8GB of RAM that I ordered!

One note though:  this is a CrossFireX-enabled motherboard, and I bought two Sapphire HD 3650 graphics cards which support CrossFireX, but neither Gigabyte nor Sapphire included any freaking CrossFireX interconnect bridges!  So in order to get CrossFireX working, I now have to hunt around for the freaking interconnect bridge.  From what I can tell, I need two bridges, which will run close to $30 with shipping and handling!  Are you kidding me?  I spend over $200 for a motherboard and $70 per video card and nobody is going to give me a cable that probably costs 50 cents to manufacture?  How cheap can you guys get?  When I bought my ASUS SLI motherboard, ASUS included an SLI bridge.  When I bought my MSI SLI motherboard, MSI included an SLI bridge.  Why can’t Gigabyte or Sapphire include a freaking bridge with their product?  That’s just cheap and it really pisses me off that I now have to go buy something that should have been included from the start.  If Gigabyte is going to advertise CrossFireX as a major selling feature of their motherboard, they should include the parts to make it work.  Same with Sapphire.  Stop being so cheap and just include the freaking cable.  All you’re doing is pissing off your customers by nickel-and-dimeing them to death.

Whatever.  As of right now, I have a motherboard that works like it says it should and I’m okay with that.  Overall, though, I’d have to say I’m pretty lukewarm on the whole Gigabyte experience.  With the poorly installed heatsink, lack of CrossFireX cables, and a crappy BIOS (my ASUS board had SOOO many more options in the BIOS), the only things going for this board are it’s 8-on-the-back+4-in-the-front USB ports, Intel X48 chipset, and 6 SATAII connectors.

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