Gigabyte P965-DS3 Motherboard Overclocking Review

Motherboards/Intel S775 by KeithSuppe @ 2007-07-29

The Gigabyte P965-DS3 is arguably the very best 965-based overclocking platform available. Today were dusting off a Rev.1 board which has been replaced by the DS3 Rev 2.0 and 3.3 models. While the board is technically obsolete she´s almost identical to her siblings and they even share many of the same BIOS versions. There are a large number of Rev 1.0 boards at the heart of many systems; this overclocking article is for them and anyone considering a Gigabyte P965-DS3.

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Test System & Methods

Test System / Methods:

Intel Socket-T Test System

Madshrimps (c)
CPU Intel Conroe 6400 SL9S9 L624A851
Mainboard 1.) Gigabyte P965-DS3 Rev.1.0 BIOS F10/F11B
2.) Asus P5W DH Deluxe/WiFi (BIOS 1901)
Memory Mushkin X8500 DDR2 (2GB)
Graphics Leadtek 7950GX2
Power Supply PCPower&Cooling Silencer 750EPS12V
Cooling Sub Zero CPU waterblock
Alphacool NexXxos Pro II Radiator (2x PABST 4412 FG/4L fans)
OASE 1500 12V ~ 24V DC-pump with Adjustable DC box
10mm ID tubing
Storage 2x Seagate Barracuda 80GB SATA Perpendicular
Optical Plextor PX755-SA DVD/RW SATA
Video Monitor Samsung 930b 19"
Operating System Windows XP

How we test:

This review is different from any other I've ever done since overclocking beyond 8x400FSB (3.2GHz) was accomplished using a desktop based overclocking utility i.e. EasyTune 5. When testing the board I found I had hit a wall beyond 420FSB and while most benchmark were stable at 425FSB this wasn't always the case and it wasn't Orthos stable. No matter the BIOS tweak or BIOS version 420FSB seemed to be the benchmark / Orthos stability limit. Raising voltages only had a deleterious effect which went beyond heat as I installed a 120mm fan just a few cm's from the NB. Surprisingly the P965 chipset allowed higher memory speeds at higher FSB speeds then it did at 266FSB. As in other reviews off this platform I ran the memory from the 800MHz divisor throughout.


  • SiSoftware Sandra XI: Arithmetic, Multimedia and Memory Bandwidth benchmarks are used for all motherboard tests.

  • SuperPi Mod v1.5 XS: testing PI calculations which stress co-processor and memory sub-systems. We run 1M and 2M calculations.

  • 3DMark06: Freeware version from Futuremark tests, CPU, Memory and graphics.

  • 3DMark2001 SE: Discontinued Freeware version, however; this benchmark is still valuable as a tool for testing 3D and memory performance.

  • MAXON CineBench 9.5: this benchmark stresses the CPU and graphics system primarily using OpenGL.

  • FEAR mp demo: built in benchmark tests CPU, memory and graphics.

  • HOC Prey Benchmark: Prey was developed by Human Head and 3D Realms and based off the DOOM3 engine. HOC and Guru3D have given us a valuable tool in this freeware version. Prey was only run on the Gigabyte tests above 400FSB. It will be included in all future motherboard/3D and memory tests until a better tool replaces it.

  • Below I've provided SuperPi 1M / CPUZ screenshots which I use top record all benchmarks results as a reference for building Excel charts. I've placed them below for verification and to exemplify the point at which FSB speeds delineate from Manual BIOS overclocking to EasyTune assisted overclocking.

    Manual - Overclocking | EasyTune - Overclocking

    Parameters for each FSB/CPU speed;

  • 8x266FSB = 2130MHz 1.312Vcore / DDR2-800MHz CL5-5-4-12 2.2V

  • 8x400FSB = 3200MHz 1.312Vcore / DDR2-800MHz CL5-5-4-12 2.2V

  • 8x430FSB = 3440MHz 1.325Vcore / DDR2-860MHz CL5-6-6-17 2.2V

  • 8x450FSB = 3600MHz 1.392Vcore / DDR2-900MHz CL5-6-6-17 2.3V

  • Clicking on the thumbnails below will show screenshots indicating parametrs at frequency.

    Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)

    These settings are used throughout all the following tests. Onto P5W DH vs. P965-DS3 Results ->
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    Comment from Rutar @ 2007/07/29
    I digg their bios update utility too.
    Comment from Kougar @ 2007/07/30
    Nice review of my board, I own the Rev 1 version. I would like to mention that no one should consider buying any 965P-DS3 unless it is the Rev 3.3 version, which ClubIt has long been selling for the same price as the other models. The Rev 2 added another much needed VRM module to the board to help provide CPU power. Three VRM regs alone is not enough for best results and vdroop. Rev 3.3 adds true FSB1333 support and changed some of the board trace layouts and cap placements to do so.

    It is a little strange you had so much issue with your RAM using the F10 or later BIOS's, as I see you did set "Option 2" for the RAM DLL setting. I can say that the Rev1 DS3 did not give stable RAM voltages for me, any voltage setting over 2.1v was unstable with my Corsair ProMOS RAM. I tested the RAM again on a P35-DQ6, and it was stable at 2.15 and 2.2v settings, so clearly the DS3 cannot handle high voltage DDR2 well. Again is why I mention users should only look at Rev 3.3 boards, if not P35 boards instead. Also the DS3 would not support RAM clocked above 1100Mhz, however the DQ6 has no issues running the same Ballistix kit above even 1220MHz.

    My top 24 hour Prime stable CPU overclock on the DS3 was 501 FSB x 7 = 3.5GHz, but nothing higher. Link (Sidenote, active NB cooling required) Dropping the CPU to a 6 multipler got the FSB over ~540FSB stable, but the board would finally throw in the towel a bit above that. Top OC required 1.475vCore to remain stable, compared to the 1.4375vCore my P35-DQ6 requires at the same exact overclock. It will also continue to overclock my E6300 to 3.8Ghz, but 540FSB is the absolute FSB ceiling of the P35-DQ6 at any CPU setting.
    Comment from MakubeX @ 2007/07/30
    The best thing is that the DS3 is dirt chap compared to other 695p OCing boards. However, at time I wouldn't get a 965p board, I would save up for a good P35, like the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R or DS3P. Still reasonably cheap and are also very good overclockers; plus you got support for Penryn.