Another motherboard manufacturer steps up to the AM2 plate
ASUS isn't the only company gearing up for a massive AM2 motherboard launch. DailyTech just got a hold of the Gigabyte internal roadmap with the full lineup of upcoming Socket 775 and Socket AM2 motherboards.
Gigabyte has five "tiers" of upcoming AM2 motherboards, each denoted by an "S." An "S5" motherboard is more high-end than an "S4" motherboard. Each "S" denotes a different feature, such as SLI, Silent, etc.
Like the ASUS offerings, Gigabytes best of breed motherboards for AM2 will feature NVIDIA's nForce 590 SLI chipset. The M59SLI-S5 has dual x16 PCIe graphics, dual eSATA ports, dual BIOS, ten USB 2.0 interfaces and eight SATA 3.0Gbps interfaces. One UDMA PATA interface is provided for legacy optical storage devices. Like other nForce 590 motherboards, the motherboard also features dual Gigabit LAN but over the Marvell Gigabit PHY. Gigabyte has two Firewire-400 headers on the motherboard with an additional third interface on the rear I/O panel.
The M59SLI-S5 also has the widely talked about RealTek ALC888DD "Dolby Digital" audio codec, an upgrade from the ALC883 codec that includes digital microphone support for VOIP and video conferencing. Gigabyte's internal roadmap claims that this motherboard is Tritium-ready, meaning it was designed with NVIDIA's specifications for voltage tolerances and overclocking. More importantly, the motherboard will automatically overclock when NVIDIA-approved components are used in conjunction with one another, such as a GeForce 7900 SLI pair.
A non-silent version of M59SLI-S5 same board will carry the "S4" moniker, the M59SLI-S4. There are actually several features missing on the "S4" motherboard that are found on the "S5," aside from the heat pipes. For starters, the motherboard does not feature any external SATA connectors and the internal SATA headers have been reduced from 8 to 6. Only one of the nForce PHY Gigabit headers are enabled, and only one physical BIOS is present. The M59SLI-S4 also uses the ALC883 audio codec instead of the ALC888DD. However, Tritium support has not been removed on this board, so LinkBoost and other features should still appear.