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The chipset at the heart of this Gigabyte GA-G31MX-S2 is the Intel G31 which sits squarely at the bottom of the Intel 30 series of chipsets. There are currently seven members of the 30 clan with model codes that describe their intended market and performance. A prefix P is for Performance, Q for Corporate (Quality we reckon) and G for Graphics, while 35 is high-end, 33 is mid-range and 31 is low-end.
When X38 launches next month it'll be classified as an Xtreme part that is super high-end with support for PCI-E 2.0 while the relative positions of the existing chipsets will remain unchanged. Between them they offer a huge variety of features - more than any chipset family I can think of off the top of my head, although Riyad may have views on this one.
Here's a brief chipset summary:
- P35 supports 1333MHz FSB with 8GB of DDR2 and DDR3 memory and an ICH9 Southbridge.
- There's no P33.
- G35 is P35 without support for DDR3 but with the addition of a GMA X3500 graphics core. This is a new core that appears to have ten unified shaders instead of the eight offered by GMA X3100 and I can't wait to see it in action.
- G33 is a P35 with the addition of a GMA 3100 graphics core so it only supports Shader Model 2.0 and is incapable of running the Windows Vista Aero interface.
- P31 is limited to the 1066MHz FSB with 4GB of DDR2 and an ICH7 Southbridge.
- G31 adds in a GMA 3100 graphics core.
Although P31 and G31 have model names that suggest they are bang up to date they appear to be technically inferior to P65 and G965 so with that in mind let's take a careful look at this Gigabyte.