First glance at the gives us the impression of a nice and clean layout that boasts a multitude of color, which has become a standard on Gigabyte boards. The board actually has a good deal of weight to it which gives it a quality feel before you ever fire it up!
As we see on most high end boards today, Gigabyte has incorporated a heatpipe design on the board for its cooling. Pros are that it does seem to work well. Cons are that you cannot add any after market coolers without removing the system and potentially messing things up. That is just something to consider as you look at this board. That certainly will not affect most.
Part of the reason the board feels so beefy is because of the heatsinks added to the back of the board.
The top right of the board is where we find our DDR2 slots. The Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6 supports up to 8GB of DDR2 memory in dual channel configuration at DDR2 speeds of 1066/800/667 MHz . We also have our 24-pin power connector here which is located right next to a 4-pin molex power connector that is used for extra power when running a Crossfire setup. Right next to these power connections is where we find our floppy connection for the board. All of these connections are located on the edge of the board, which is an optimal placement for them.
The bottom right of the board is the location of all of our SATA ports. The Gigabyte GA-X38_DQ6 has a total of eight SATA ports on the board. Six of these ports are powered by the ICH9 Southbridge chip, while the other two are powered by the Gigabyte SATA2 chip. The Gigabyte SATA2 chips is also what powers the lone IDE connector on this board. Our front panal connector pins are also located here, and are color coded for ease of use.
At the bottom left of the board we find that we have three x1 PCI-E slots, two legacy PCI slots and two PCI-E x16 slots. This board is able to run in a Crossfire setup with two ATi cards that are Crossfire enabled.
The Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6 is equipped with the Realtek ALC889A audio chip, which provides 7.1 channel High Definition audio, and supports both Blue-ray and HD DVD.
The top left of the board gives us another good look at the heatpipe system that Gigabyte uses for cooling the board. We also have our CPU socket here, which is clear of all obstacles that could hinder your cooling solutions. We had absolutely no issues with the water cooling setup that we use in our testing.
Up in the very top corner of the board we have our 8-pin 12v power connector. This is wisely placed at the edge of the board and is out of the way of anything else.
The back I/O port has a wide variety of connections, including: PS/2 keyboard and mouse connectors, Coaxial and optical S/PDIF outputs, eight USB connectors, two firewire ports, two lan ports and your six audio jacks. That is quite an impressive list!