Passive cooling solutions have really taken off this year, and they have been incorporated in a variety of different hardware from motherboards, video cards, and even CPU heatsinks. The GA-G33M-S2H uses two copper heatsinks to cool the Intel G33 Northbridge and ICH9 Southbridge chipset. The entire board layout itself is fairly standard as far as micro ATX motherboards go too. A couple notable features consumers should key in on are the three SATA 3GB/s, four onboard USB 2.0, and two Firewire headers. Consumers should also know that this board only supports two PATA devices, which might be a cause for concern with some legacy users.
The spacing around the CPU is more than adequate for consumers to use third-party CPU heatsinks or water cooling. This board also sports Ferrite core chokes, low RDS (on) MOSFET and solid capacitors.
The back I/O panel has some of the normal ports users will see with any motherboard, but with a few exceptions. This board is one of the first to have an HDMI port built-in as well as support for eSATA and Optical S/PDIF Out. Consumers should also note that using the DVI and HDMI ports in a dual-monitor setup is not supported on this motherboard. But, using the analog and HDMI or DVI port in this type of setup should work fine.
This motherboard supports up to 8GB of DDR2-800 memory, and users can increase the memory rating, timings, and bandwidth through the BIOS if they want to use higher-rated RAM. This is also one of the first micro ATX boards I have reviewed to include support for more than 4GB of RAM.
The GA-G33M-S2H has one PCI Express x16 slot, one PCI Express x1 slot, and two PCI slots on board. This should be more than adequate for those users who do not want to use the on-board video and add a PCI Express video card and add-on sound card.
The GA-G33M-S2H has four on-board headers to support eight USB 2.0 ports. It also has three SATA headers and an easy-to-read jumper panel to connect the power button, reset button, speaker, hard drive activity LED, and power LED. The ICH9 South Bridge chip can also be seen in this photo under the copper heatsink at the top of the photo.
The Texas Instruments TSB43AB23 chip handles all of the Firewire functions for this motherboard. It is capable of transferring data between the 33-MHz PCI bus and the 1394 bus at 100M bits/s, 200M bits/s, and 400M bits/s. The TSB43AB23 device provides three 1394 ports for this board. Two are available via headers on the board and one port can be accessed through the back I/O panel.
The Realtek RTL8110SC Gigabit Ethernet controller manages one Gigabit Ethernet port on this motherboard.
The Silicon Image’s SiI1392 HDMI transmitter interfaces with the on-board graphics to support DVI and HDMI displays with resolutions up to1080p. The built-in High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) engine secures the digital link for transmission of HD video and audio.
Gigabyte motherboards typically come bundled with a variety of accessories and other goodies to entice consumers and give them an extra incentive to buy their products.
The GA-G33M-S2H comes with two SATA cables, one IDE cable, one FDD cable, driver CD, user manual, and an I/O back plate. This bundle is not the most “accessory rich” Gigabyte product we’ve seen, but to keep costs down they only included the basic necessities.