Intel DG45FC mini-ITX motherboard

March 25, 2009 | 12:07

Tags: #g45 #home #hqv #htpc #itx #mini #mini-itx #motherboard #performance #result #review #sff #testing #theatre

Companies: #intel

Rear I/O

The DG45FC rear I/O includes:
  • One DVI-D port
  • One HDMI 1.3 port
  • Six USB 2.0 ports
  • One eSATA 3Gbps port
  • One RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Five 3.5mm audio jacks supporting 7.1 high-definition surround sound as well as microphone input
  • Optical S/PDIF out
Intel has everything covered for an HTPC, bar the RCA S/PDIF option. For some older TVs, VGA support can be had via an adapter and component output is a luxury that no one includes these days. With DVI and HDMI that include HDCP 1.3 support, this is enough for modern TVs and HDMI can be easily converted back to DVI for simple dual displays (however the adapter is not included).

Only Firewire is missing, however eSATA provides a better connectivity for hard drives and there are enough USB to satisfy all but those with the most hardcore connectivity needs. All in all, it's a good round up of connectors by Intel.
Intel DG45FC mini-ITX motherboard Rear I/O and BIOS

BIOS

Intel DG45FC mini-ITX motherboard Rear I/O and BIOS Intel DG45FC mini-ITX motherboard Rear I/O and BIOS
Click to enlarge

Intel offers no overclocking options at all. There are memory timings but no voltage options to help settle stability issues with more demanding memory or hardware that pushes its limits. We've not had any problems yet with any memory used in it because SPD settings are somewhat relaxed, so we wouldn't recommend using performance memory parts with a high voltage SPD here but everything else should be fine.

The memory page is actually easy to use - the memory installed is clear to see, and the SPD settings listed underneath directly correlate to what's above and the stickers on the side of the DIMMs. It's limited to just four options and the choice of 667MHz or 800MHz memory speed, but it's enough and for a HTPC most of us will leave this alone anyway.

In contrast, the fan control is also somewhat limited with convoluted settings that offer no precise measurement or easy to understand functions. What's ironic is that the non-native English speaking Taiwanese do a much better job of explaining functions in the BIOS.

Intel DG45FC mini-ITX motherboard Rear I/O and BIOS Intel DG45FC mini-ITX motherboard Rear I/O and BIOS
Click to enlarge

The temperature readouts seem pretty accurate, apart from the CPU die on our E5200, which seems to have gone a bit nuts. You'll also notice the ICH temperature of 74ºC - this rose to settle around 80ºC, just in the BIOS doing nothing in open air.

Overall, it's extremely basic, which leaves us yearning for a lot more: there's no profile saving, no flash utility, no slight voltage options, no advanced fan control which is essential to a low noise system: Intel lags well behind the rest of the motherboard world.
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