P45 Refresher


The GA-EP45-UD3P is based on the Intel P45/ICH10R chipset combination. The P45 is manufactured on a 65nm process, which makes it not only smaller but more energy efficient than 90nm chipsets like the X48. It typically runs much cooler than the X48 and P35. Officially, the P45 does not support the 1600Mhz front-side bus used on the Core 2 Extreme QX9770 quad-core processor. However, just about all motherboard manufacturers are unofficially supporting 1600FSB.

The P45 supports either DDR2 or DDR3 memory. Once again, official support is limited to JEDEC approved memory speeds up to DDR2-800 or DDR3-1066. Unofficial memory support by the manufactures is available for speeds up to DDR2-1366 and DDR3-2000 depending on the supplier. Gigabyte claims support for DDR2-1366+ on this board and we were able to hit DDR2-1300 with a less than impressive memory kit.

The P45 MCH is limited to 16 PCI-E lanes; unlike the P35, these lanes support the latest PCI Express 2.0 specification. PCI Express 2.0 doubles the standard bus bandwidth from 2.5 Gbit/s to 5 Gbit/s. We have not noticed any real performance differences between PCIe 1.0 and PCIe 2.0 in most cases, but as graphics technology improves, we expect to cross over that line shortly. Also keep in mind that two x8 PCI-E 2.0 slots are equivalent to two x16 PCI-E 1.x slots, provided you have PCI-E 2.0 cards installed.

The big news is that the P45’s PCI-E 2.0 slots can work in a dual x8 configuration for CrossFireX. The P35 had a slow x16/x4 CrossFire setup with the x4 slot running off the Southbridge. Compared to the dual x16 setup on the X38/X48 boards, we have not found any appreciable performance differences in GPU testing with AMD’s latest single GPU video cards.

With the P45 chipset comes the new ICH10R Southbridge. Except for official Turbo Memory support, consider this Southbridge to be a slightly revised ICH9R with support for six SATA II ports, AHCI, Matrix RAID, and twelve USB 2.0 ports.

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  • GhettoFly - Tuesday, February 03, 2009 - link

    I'm guessing the 1250 kit you guys managed to clock at 1300 was Corsair's TWIN2X2048-10000C5DF. I have a set of those, but haven't tested with my UD3P yet; however I got my Geil DDR2-1160 C4 kit up to DDR2-1333 C5 on this board with only 2.48V using the 1333 OC profile: http://i4memory.com/f90/gigabyte-ep45-ud3p-memory-...">http://i4memory.com/f90/gigabyte-ep45-ud3p-memory-...
    This board is too much fun!
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, February 04, 2009 - link

    Yes, it is the Corsair kit and it was an early review sample to boot. Corsair sent us a new SPD and I managed to hit 1333 this morning at 2.50V on it, so I can report that 1333 is stable on this board now after a few runs of Crysis and PCMark Vantage. :) Reply
  • GhettoFly - Wednesday, February 11, 2009 - link

    It just seems a bit odd advertising DDR2-1366+ OC capabilities when the ICs needed for such clocks (D9GMH/GKX) are EOL :p Reply
  • x86 64 - Sunday, February 15, 2009 - link

    I'm still seeing some around and very cheap compared to what they used to be. You can pick up two 2x1GB (4GB) kits of PC2-10400 or PC2-9600 for under $275-$300 US.

    I think there are third party manufacturers who are still making the D9GMH\GKX, etc, because companies like Cellshock (now recently defunct) and Team Group (active) are still selling both of the most popular flavors of D9. Team is very big in Asia so it's not like they are some small niche company like Cellshock moving a small quantity of old stock. All of Team Group's Xtreem memory (not the "Dark" branding) is either GMH or GKX. How else to explain the constant flow of Micron D9 IC's to certain companies? Could there be that much stock still left over in Asia where they are selling them this long after they were discontinued?? I would be surprised.

    Reply
  • GhettoFly - Sunday, February 15, 2009 - link

    It has to be old stock of the ICs at least; when you look at the codes on the ICs themselves (not the D9Gxx code, but like 7KD22) I'm pretty sure the first number indicates the year of manufacture, 7 being 2007, 6 being 2006, etc. I haven't see any Micron RevD chips that have those codes staring with 8 even on sticks with a 2008 production date, for example my Geil 1160 C4 and Team Xtreem 9600 kits, the ICs on both have that code starting with a 7. Reply
  • Mr Roboto - Wednesday, February 18, 2009 - link

    I don't know what the number is on the IC's themselves but you can check the manufacture date of your memory using a monitoring program like Everest.

    I have a set of Team's and using Everest they say the 14th week of 2008 as the date or manufacture.

    Whether or not the IC's were made then or the modules themselves is debatable.
    Reply
  • x86 64 - Sunday, February 15, 2009 - link

    I think you might be right. I just pulled the spreaders off my Team 1200Mhz and sure enough it starts with a 7. I hope they don't run out anytime soon because it's so much fun to push this stuff :)

    It's weird, this has to be the first time in a long time that I'm happy with "last generation" hardware. I just don't see the benefit of i7 and DDR3 right now. I'm enjoying the rock solid P45, excellent inexpensive dual and quad Penryn's and dirt cheap high performance memory. I'd rather buy double the current hardware then spend the same amount for an entry level i7 system and get a 20% increase in performance. I'm sure the i7 will make a great server or HPC but I'm not impressed to much with the desktop parts. We need some multithreaded applications first. Software is seriously lagging.

    I'll wait for the die shrink and in the mean time stick with my DDR2 and D9GKX\GMH :)
    Reply
  • x86 64 - Sunday, February 15, 2009 - link

    Also here's a picture of a TG kit from a review at XBit Labs from the summer of 2007 and it's marked with a 6 which would be in line with the markings on the recent chips, just one year back.

    http://www.xbitlabs.com/images/memory/team-xtreem/...">http://www.xbitlabs.com/images/memory/team-xtreem/...
    Reply
  • GhettoFly - Wednesday, February 18, 2009 - link

    Looks like I have to eat my words about no D9 being manufactured in 2008, these are powering the G.Skill 2GBHK sticks I got in today.
    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showpost.php?p...">http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showpost.php?p...
    Reply
  • Glenn - Tuesday, February 03, 2009 - link

    Great article Gary! I have built approximately 10 systems so far with this board or it's single PCIe X16 twin UD3R, and the "C" version with the DDR3/DDR2 slots. My experiences with each are just as pleasing as you have reported. My own system is the C version with a Q9550 slightly overclocked to 3.4GHz. I am excited to see the followup on the Ultra Durable 3 technology.

    I am equally or even more excited that you are testing the support of Gigabyte and other manufacturers. I have built over 100 systems using gigabyte P35/G35 and now P45/G45 boards in the past year and a half and I honestly nearly quit using them over some issues with the G45 board when it was first released. It wasn't even close to stable but subsequent bios'es corrected all my complaints. I could get no response from Gigabyte during that time and was pretty pist off! Interestingly enough, I just about switched all my builds to Asus, but I was reminded of past problems with them on my first P45Q build when I went to download the newest drivers! Why does a multibillion dollar company like Asus insist on having a dog-assed slow website that is so painful to negotiate? At times during the day, one can't even get a page to open without timing out! And it's been that way for years! Gigabyte! You owe Asus a "save" on that one! Kudos to Anands crew for taking up these frustrations with the mfgs! Great article!
    Reply

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