Intel DG33BU - mATX For Your PC - Intel DG33BU - Layout: Up Close

Article Index
Intel DG33BU - mATX For Your PC
Intel DG33BU - Layout: Up Close
Installation, Software Setup and Testing
Test Setup and Benchmarking
Real-World Performance and Conclusion

Closer Look:

The Intel DG33BU packs quite a few features into such a small package.  The heart of this board is the new "Bearlake" G33 chipset.  This chipset provides the board with integrated graphics in the flavor of GMA3100.  Unfortunately, the Video Out is limited to 15 pin D-Sub, but most people that purchase this board - aren't going to be plugging in a 30" LCD.

 DG33BU Rear IO
DG33BU Rear IO
 DG33BU RAM Slots
DG33BU RAM Slots
 DG33BU CPU Socket
DG33BU CPU Socket

 

The Rear IO has a total of 6 USB2.0 ports, a 6-pin Firewire port, as well as 1000b Ethernet.  There are also your basic audio connections, and PS/2 Keyboard and Mouse connectors.  The four memory slots run vertical to the right of the CPU and are color-coded to make it easier to install Dual Channel DDR2.  The 24-pin PSU connector is right near the edge of the board - right next to the Floppy Drive connector.  This could make it a bit inconvenient to install a floppy cable if you so choose, but I haven't used a floppy drive in a machine for several years.  The CPU socket is fairly clear of obstacles and should allow you to install most large heatsinks on this board with no trouble.  Although this isn't an enthusiast board and there are no overclocking options available, you may want to drop a large silent HSF on your processor for HTPC applications.

As we carry on around the motherboard we notice a few other items of interest.

 DG33BU IDE Marvell GB
DG33BU IDE Marvell GB
 DG33BU Realtek FP Audio
DG33BU Realtek FP Audio
   
 DG33BU SATA USB
DG33BU SATA USB
 DG33BU Northbridge
G33 Express Chipset

 

The 1000b Ethernet is being handled by Marvell, and is located just above the sole IDE connector which resides along the very bottom of the motherboard.  On a full ATX board, this would be a horrible place as the connector would be jammed on the bottom of many cases, but for a mATX board, it's actually not a bad location - unless you are installing this is a very small mATX case.  Realtek handles Intel's High Definition Audio as we'll get to later.  Just because it has a "High Definition" identity, doesn't mean it's high quality.  The bottom right of the board is home to four SATA connectors as well as the CMOS reset jumper.  Finally, we give you a peek at the G33 Express chipset laid bare.  This little chipset also houses the graphics processor - which won't win any Framerate awards, but it offers an all-in-one solution for basic machine to surf the web, email, do word processing and basic photo and video editing.


DG33BU "Beta" BIOS:

We've had this board for a while and due to this, it has come with a "Beta" tag when you boot.  It's stated as being "Beta - Evaluation Use Only", but it has been rock solid through our tests with a Core 2 Duo E6600 processor.  Although the specs show that this motherboard can support Core 2 Quad processors, we have been unable to boot with our Q6600 and have been unsuccessful at flashing the BIOS (very common on Intel BETA boards).  The Intel rep I talked to states that the retail product will have full Quad Core support and be able to run the new 1333FSB processors with no issues.

DG33BU BootScreen
DG33BU BootScreen

 

The BIOS on many Intel motherboards is nothing to get really excited about, and the Intel DG33BU follows the trend.

 BIOS Main
BIOS Main
 BIOS Hardware Monitoring
BIOS Hardware Monitoring
 BIOS Security
BIOS Security
     
 BIOS Fan Control
BIOS Fan Control
 BIOS Video Config
BIOS Video Config
 BIOS Boot Options
BIOS Boot Options

 

The BIOS is pretty bare, but you have the option to turn on or off Multi-Core CPU support - although I'm unsure as to why you'd want to disable it.  The BIOS also lets you monitor system voltages, temperatures and fan speeds.  Moving on to the security features, we see the standard BIOS password options as well as Chassis Intrusion, XD and VT Technology and "Intel VT for Directed I/O".  These should help keep out unwanted people and some programs.

In the advanced System Setup area, you have the ability to control fan speeds in relationship to temperature zones.  You can adjust Intel's new DVMT options for the G33 Express chipset as well.  Lastly, there are a bunch of boot options to play around with if you are so inclined.  You'll notice that we never mentioned any overclocking options at all.  The fact is there are none.  You can't push this board 1Mhz above stock in the BIOS - nor can you increase memory voltages at all.  This is something to keep in mind if you have memory that requires anything higher than 1.8v to run.

We'll cover installation, setup and some preliminary testing on the next page.