By far the best part about the Gigabyte 965P-DS3P (rev 2.0) was its overclocking abilities. This is a motherboard that you could spend hours tinkering with BIOS settings, but there was no real need given how easy it was to work with, and how quickly it found the limits of both our E6300 and E6700 processors. The E6300 was able to reach a 500MHz FSB, which resulted in a total clock frequency of 3.50GHz. The E6700 on the other hand was happy with a 370MHz FSB which resulted in a 3.70GHz clock speed.
The feature set of the 965P-DS3P is exceptional, making it one of the most feature packed sub-$200 solutions to date. The board's dual-channel DDR2-800 memory support is impressive particularly when combined with low latency memory. However, through overclocking we found that it could easily support DDR2-1000 modules. Overclocking is obviously a key strength and the main highlight of the 965P-DS3P, but the standard performance was also exceptional.
There is a long list of motherboards that make use of the excellent Intel 965P chipset, and there are also a few good examples such as the MSI P965 Platinum that are cheaper. The feature list of the P965 Platinum is just as extensive and the board design and layout are very similar. However we don't believe build quality of these two boards can be compared, and the P965 Platinum certainly does not offer the overclocking performance of the 965P-DS3P. Then there is the ASUS P5B Deluxe which is a little heavier on features but again does not offer the overclocking potential of the 965P-DS3P and also costs a little more.
On a side note, for some users it has been a rough road owning a 965P-DS3 motherboard. Although we have praised Gigabyte for producing such an exceptional product with the 965P-DS3P (rev 2.0), this was unfortunately not their first attempt. The original 965P-DS3 was developed some time ago and it has taken Gigabyte up until now to perfect it.
Sadly for those that spent their hard earned cash on the original board have to sit by while others enjoy the second revision boards. Again the new revisions of the 965P-DS3 and 965P-DS3P are very impressive.
Overall Gigabyte has created an impressive motherboard, having me to struggle to find much wrong with the 965P-DS3P. The board is priced aggressively at $170 as there are few solutions than can compete with the 965P-DS3P. In fact given how the 965P-DS3P offers pretty much everything found on the latest and greatest high-end motherboards for a fraction of the price, it really does eliminate most of the competition if 'high-end' and overclocking is your thing.