Power Consumption and Conclusions
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Comparing the power consumption of the Gigabyte X48-DQ6 to our other motherboards again shows the Gigabyte solution to be well ahead of the competition.  It’s surprising to see the ASUS X38 board using a considerable amount of extra power, even at idle, than the Gigabyte board since the two solutions are so similar.  The NVIDIA motherboards have always been known to use more power than the other chipsets on the market. 

Features

The Gigabyte X48-DQ6 is a great motherboard when it comes to features and layout.  The design of the board is pretty much flawless and features that they have put on the board encompass just about anything that casual enthusiast or gamer could want.  You get eight total SATA channels, an IDE channel for your legacy optical drives and support for RAID across all those storage options as well.  You also get up to 12 USB 2.0 ports but the best part is that 8 of them are built right into the back panel of the motherboard.  The inclusions of two built in Firewire ports is also a unique feature.

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While you can’t pair up a couple of NVIDIA cards for SLI graphics card action, you can use two AMD GPUs for CrossFire mode if you want.  You also have the ability to pair up two HD 3870 X2 cards that would effectively give you four GPUs in your system.  Support for Intel’s latest and greatest processors is also a key feature of this board and the X48 chipset – no matter what you’ll be able to upgrade to the 1600 MHz FSB processors when they finally become available. 

Performance

The Gigabyte X48-DQ6 is a great performing motherboard and the X48 chipset again proves that Intel knows how to design a product for their CPUs.  The motherboard implements the DDR2 memory controller rather than the DDR3 one that the X48 offers and while that may limit the memory performance in its most basic functions, the benefits of being able to get much more memory (4GB vs 2GB) at faster speeds for less money should make up for it. 

Storage and accessory performance is quality as you expect – the Intel ICH9 south bridge has been an upstanding citizen in that regard.

Pricing and Availability

As of this writing, I was unable to find the Gigabyte X48-DQ6 motherboard sale anywhere – X48 motherboards have been slow to reach the market even after the official unveiling last month.  To gauge pricing, I looked at the X38-DQ6, essentially the same motherboard with the newer chipset and support for the Gigabyte DES software, and you can buy it for about $260.  That is by no means a cheap motherboard, but when you compare that to the new NVIDIA nForce 790i Ultra SLI we reviewed recently, that sells for $349, it’s almost a steal. 

We’ll update this part of the review once we see the X48-DQ6 officially on sale.

UPDATE: Newegg.com is listing the Gigabyte GA-X48-DQ6 motherboard for $309.99 – above what we were expecting by a significant margin…  The DDR3 version the Gigabyte X48T-DQ6 is only $20 more at 329.99.  Oh, and if you want to spend a LOT of money, you can pick up the ASUS P5E3 Premium for $389.99….

Final Thoughts

The Gigabyte X48-DQ6 motherboard is a great choice for users looking to get a high end motherboard with a ton of features and performance but don’t want to the expense of the new DDR3 memory technologies.  With support for Intel’s 1600 MHz FSB processors, AMD CrossFire graphics and more than enough connectivity options for most anyone, Gigabyte should have a winning solution for just about any enthusiast.

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Be sure to use our pricing engine to find the best prices on Intel motherboards and anything else you might need:

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