Gigabyte’s EP45 is the next P45 board we’ve received for testing after the ASUS P5Q in the June issue. It makes use of an ICH10R south bridge.
The board layout is free of all hassles. The fins are of better quality and are sturdier than we’ve seen in some of the older Gigabyte boards. There is good heat transfer between the two heat pipes, and the parts of the board don’t really get too hot. The SATA connectors are lower beyond the PCI-E slot so there is no problem of cables coming in the way of long cards. The board supports up to 16 GB of DDR2 1200 MHz memory and also has two gigabit network adapters onboard. There are buttons on the board for power, reset and clearing CMOS, and they’re clearly visible.
In terms of performance, once again there is little to report. Other than miniscule changes here and there, there’s nothing that makes this or any other P45 board stand out. The only places there are some changes are in the video encoding. The Gigabyte P45 did it some two seconds faster than the P35 of last year. PC Mark 2005 was 8557 as compared to 8485 of the Abit IP35-Pro. 3DMarks score was also up by some 200 points.
All the features found on some of the higher-end Gigabyte boards are present including Gigabyte’s power saving technology—DES. The board only comes with a single PCI slot which means if you attach an additional sound card, there isn’t any space for a wireless LAN card for example.