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Early Look: Gigabyte GA-P45-DS5

Moving around the board

The rear I/O is jam packed with eight USB 2.0, 4-pin and 6-pin Firewire sockets, both RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet sockets, optical and RCA S/PDIF, PS2 keyboard and mouse and finally six 3.5mm audio jacks providing the 7.1 channel surround sound - this is undoubtably an exceptionally well featured board.

Early Look: Gigabyte GA-P45-DS5 A closer look...

Gigabyte has revealed that its focus for this year is on power efficiency and, as a result of this, it will be rolling its Dynamic Energy Saver technology out across many of its mainstream products over the course of this year. The technology, which first debuted with the company’s second-generation P35 motherboards, is feature-complete from a hardware perspective, but Gigabyte’s DES engineers have admitted that there were still some improvements to be made on the software side.

Early Look: Gigabyte GA-P45-DS5 A closer look... Early Look: Gigabyte GA-P45-DS5 A closer look...
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Gigabyte expects there to still be demand for older front side bus-based motherboards for some time now because the P45 chipset will be one of the last Intel chipsets based on the current front side bus architecture. That’s not all though, as it’s also the last Intel chipset to support DDR2 memory – at least, that is where all information is pointing at the moment as Intel’s next generation Nehalem CPU architecture is looking like it will support DDR3 memory exclusively.

Early Look: Gigabyte GA-P45-DS5 A closer look... Early Look: Gigabyte GA-P45-DS5 A closer look...
Click for larger images

PCI-Express 2.0 comes to the mainstream with P45 and at long last if you want to run CrossFire the chipset can now split the single x16 link into two balanced x8 slots. You can see the digital switches between the blue and orange PCI-Express x16 slots in the right picture above.

Twin x8s are provided instead of the x16 and x4 slots P35 and P965 boards were forced to use – suddenly the nForce 750i chipset has a serious mainstream competitor on its hands, and the P45 has a far, far fuller featured southbridge. While we've yet to use the board – the BIOS, stability, performance, overclocking and finally the price will dictate our ultimate opinion, from what we've seen so far we're massively impressed with its layout and features and can't wait to see the final product.

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