Gigabyte GA-73PVM-S2H

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I used this motherboard in my MythTV setup with fairly good results.

The motherboard's characteristics are the following (from the gigabyte website):

  • Form Factor
Micro-ATX
  • Socket
LGA 775
  • Processors supported
Core 2 Extreme
Core 2 Quad
Core 2 Duo
Pentium Extreme Edition
Pentium D
Pentium 4 Extreme Edition
Pentium 4
Celeron
  • 1333/1066/800 MHz FSB
  • Solid capacitors design in CPU VRM
  • DDR2 800 for outstanding system performance
  • Integrated NVIDIA CineFX 3.0 graphics
  • Ultimate graphics performance with PCI-E x16 interface
  • Integrated SATA 3Gb/s with RAID function
  • Features high speed Gigabit Ethernet and IEEE1394
  • High Quality 106dB SNR ALC889A HD audio
  • Integrated DVI/ HDMI interface with HDCP

The interesting points about this motherboard are:

- Integrated GPU (nVidia)
- Great connectivity: VGA + HDCP + DVI + Optical S/PDIF
- Power usage is more than reasonable!

The downside is that the GPU is a NVIDIA 7100 which does not support hardware Mpeg acceleration. Nevertheless, since it uses Core 2 duo processors, and since more and more videos use H.264, hardware acceleration is becoming less and less relevant - until something like DirectX emerges in the Linux world, but that's another story. According to Gigabyte specification in the motherboard's user's manual, in order to play full HD video (Blueray) a Core 2 duo 6550 or better should be used.


Experience with MythTV

I installed this motherboard with a Core2 duo E4500 (I do not have a full HD screen), and found that it actually uses fairly little power: along with a 750GB sata HDD, a slimline DVD drive, and a VFD 2-line display, the system uses less than 40W of power when idle, and less than 60W during demanding tasks (I installed a combined backend/frontend). I was therefore able to use a tiny solid state and high efficiency power supply, in my case the PW-200, which works flawlessly: it even improved the setup's power consumption by about 10W: with a standard power supply salvaged from an old Dell desktop, idle power was around 50W, and with the PC-200, it dropped to 40W.

I did not experience any kind of trouble to get support for all the system components, using Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (aka Hardy):

- Sound works out of the box with the snd-hda-intel modules, including optical out: be sure to un-mute the "iec958" output in alsamixer.

- Video works flawlessly with the latest NVIDIA drivers (apt-get install nvidia-glx-new): I currently use VGA because I was too lazy to purchase a DVI cable and my TV accepts VGA in, but picture quality is excellent and smooth.

Tips and hints

I had to upgrade the motherboard's BIOS to the latest Gigabyte BIOS (F6 at the time I'm writing this) in order to enable the Core 2 duo temperature sensors, and more generally to make lm-sensors work.