ga z68p ds3 Exclusive: First pictures of Gigabytes mSATA equipped GA Z68P DS3

Earlier today we swung by Gigabyte's headquarters in Taipei and they gave us a preview of some products that will be on display during Computex next week. Even though it feels like there have been a lot of leaks, it turns out that we can expect a lot more motherboards at the show, which really is quite surprising judging by the wide range of boards that have already made an appearance.

Earlier today we swung by Gigabyte's headquarters in Taipei and they gave us a preview of some products that will be on display during Computex next week. Even though it feels like there have been a lot of leaks, it turns out that we can expect a lot more motherboards at the show, which really is quite surprising judging by the wide range of boards that have already made an appearance.

First up we have the GA-Z68P-DS3 motherboard, which as first glance doesn't really look all that special, in fact, it looks almost old fashioned with a parallel port around the back. However, look a bit closer and you'll see that this board has an unusual feature, namely an mSATA slot. Currently this is intended for Intel's 20GB 311-series (formerly known as Larson Creek) mSATA SSD, although we can apparently expect more affordable mSATA options in the near future.

ga z68p ds3 Exclusive: First pictures of Gigabytes mSATA equipped GA Z68P DS3

Other features include two x16 PCI Express slot, although the secondary slot only offer four lanes worth of bandwidth, two x1 PCI Express slots and two PCI slots. The SATA ports consist of the standard four SATA 3Gbps porst and two SATA 6Gbps ports. There ar pin-headers for six USB 2.0 ports, but no USB 3.0 ports on this model.

Around the back we have a PS/2 port, six USB 2.0 ports, a parallel and serial port (something of a peculiar inclusion in our opinion), a Gigabit Ethernet port, three audio jacks, an optical S/PDIF out and an HDMI port.

ga z68p ds3 2 Exclusive: First pictures of Gigabytes mSATA equipped GA Z68P DS3

Keep in mind that Gigabyte is targeting this board towards the budget market space and the guys we talked to at Gigabyte implied that Intel's Rapid Storage technology was meant to be a mainstream technology rather than something for power users. As such this board was designed with that in mind and features Gigabyte's older Ultra Durable 2 PCB design, although part of the reason for this is also the increase in material costs and a motherboard that isn't going to be overclocked to an extreme level would in theory not need the extra thick copper layers that Gigabyte use in its Ultra Durable 3 PCBs.

ga z68p ds3 3 Exclusive: First pictures of Gigabytes mSATA equipped GA Z68P DS3

It's interesting that Gigabyte has chosen to use Intel's Z68 chipset in what many would consider as a very basic motherboard, but the reasoning behind it isn't totally unsound. Considering that so far, none of Gigabyte's competitors has anything similar on the market, there's something of an opportunity here for Gigabyte, especially if we get to see cheaper mSATA SSDs in the coming months, as then this type of board could prove to be pretty popular with those on a slightly tighter budget that still want to experience the benefits in performance SSD caching have to offer.