Gigabyte GA-8ANXP-D - Page 3

..:: GA-8ANXP-D Layout: Socket Area ::..

Now that we’ve had a chance to examine the product package, it’s time we took a good look at the board design and layout scheme. Just to re-cap our new stance on design, here’s a copy of our previous statement…With these new chipsets from Intel, I have noticed that the motherboard surface itself has become far more cluttered, mainly due to voltage generation devices necessary for the DDR-II modules and PCI-Express. As we progress around this motherboard, as well as many in the future, we will undoubtedly see the days of extremely clean and clear PCB surfaces head the way of the dodo. Because of this, we’ve developed a new modus operandi when evaluating the layout of the motherboard. Instead of going merely for cleanliness, we’ll be putting more of an impact on components locations and orientations for the end user. Clean PCB’s are nice, but locations and ease of access are going to be far more important with these motherboards.

The Socket T is oriented lengthwise from East to West across the motherboard. Due to the much improved mounting mechanics for the new LGA 775 processors, Intel has done away with the large retention bracket that was needed on the older Socket 478 implementations. The new mounting method simply requires pushing some pins through the four mounting holes, and you’re done. Around the Socket T, we find that Gigabyte has put to use the low profile component zones for the core voltage power supply. Gigabyte has implemented a four-phase design for the GA-8ANXP-D, as can be seen with the four side-mounted inductors. With the power draw that is needed to keep these processors running full bore, motherboard manufacturers have developed four phase power delivery solutions to provide smooth, adequate power to the processor no matter the load condition. The main control chips are manufactured by Intersil, along with the MOSFET drivers.

The bulk of the components and items that make up the processor portion of the GA-8ANXP-D deal with the core voltage supply, as was just mentioned. Unlike the other LGA 775 motherboard we’ve dealt with over the past month or so, Gigabyte has not positioned the four-pin 12V core voltage supply connector in the upper left corner of the board. Instead, Gigabyte has shifted the core components over to allow for their U-Plus DPS connector. For those that are familiar with the older DPS implementations, nothing has changed as far as usage or mounting goes. Simply insert the U-Plus DPS card, and lock it in with the included aluminum bracket. Gigabyte typically uses brightly colored connectors for critical devices, hence the bright orange connector for the U-Plus DPS.

Other than these few items, the processor portion of the GA-8ANXP-D is incredibly clean. Gigabyte has been able to implement the U-Plus DPS system into the GA-8ANXP-D flawlessly, even when it required a little ingenuity into how to implement the regular core voltage power supply components, which usually require a sizeable portion of real estate. By mounting the inductors in the manner that was done, it allowed for components to be mounted within the low profile zone, thereby allowing Gigabyte to implement the U-Plus DPS connection with no problems, all while still leaving the system with a solid stock core voltage supply.