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
- LGA 775
- Processors supported
- Core 2 Extreme
- Core 2 Quad
- Core 2 Duo
- Pentium Extreme Edition
- Pentium D
- Pentium 4 Extreme Edition
- Pentium 4
- 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.