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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  • Nickel020 - Saturday, February 14, 2009 - link

    many people including someone who posted here in the comments have the problem that the board won't boot in dual channel but everything is perfectly stable in single channel and the RAM sticks have all been verified to be working.
    Did you experience this problem when reviewing the board? The standard Gigabyte tech support guy has no clue how to fix this problem :( Could you maybe contact someone at GB to see if they're aware of this issue and if there is a fix for it?

    Would be great if you could do that!

  • Nickel020 - Saturday, February 14, 2009 - link

    I've been working on it and it seems that the RAM runs fine in single channel mode and slots 1 & 2.
    Trying DIMM clock skew now to check whether this may fix it.
  • GhettoFly - Wednesday, February 11, 2009 - link

    DFI's UT P45-T2RS isn't getting a lot of press coverage, but it's making some noise on enthusiast forums. Given Anandtech's excellent articles in the past on DFI boards, I was just curious if you guys planned to take a look at it, or was this Gigabyte the last P45 board you're going to review? Reply
  • The0ne - Tuesday, February 10, 2009 - link

    I have the EP45-DS3R and it performs very well. I have the Q6600 up to 3.42Ghz with ST 800Mhz memory. OC much better than the dead IP35E MB it replaced and I had thought I bought a lower performing board since it cost me $95 at frys :) Reply
  • Believer - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    I'm personally having major issues with this board and with my set of 4x2048MB OCZ Reavers.

    But then I don't receive cherry-picked products or have a hot-line to their tech support either.

    Reading up on a quite a few tech forums now have shown me I'm far from the only one with similar issues too.

    I suffer from the endless reboot cycling, the inability to boot with 4 memory modules installed and nonworking dual-channel support at either default, fail-safe or optimized BIOS settings.

    Upgrading BIOS to F7 didn't solve anything either.

    In order to get anything booted up I need to first install only 1 memory module, change in BIOS with upped Voltages to the MCH and DRAM, lower the FSB and/or memory to 800 and up the latencies.

    With such a change I can boot with all 4 of my Reavers installed.

    I have a friend with this board and Reaver memory too, and he can't OC the board the slightest without it crashing... not even slightly past the default PC2-1066 memory speeds, with FSB 333. But he doesn't have the other basic memory issues I'm having though. His and mine CPU temperature readings are low into the 30ish degree Celsius area too.

    Oh, and I might add I'm into my second RMA of the board without much of an improvement. The 2 boards showed two very different kind of memory issues though. But my memory runs just fine as long as I install them one and one, or 2 without dual channel config, I've stress tested them endlessly on default settings like that without problems.

    Anyone with similar issues that know what could be the fault?

    I have not get any response from Gigabyte's own tech support regarding this. Me and a few others with similar issues are being ignored on one of their own official support threads. That's service...

    I'm having a tech support from OCZ to help me sort out the problems too however, but he's leaning that it would seem to be my boards fault... again.

    Seem like third RMA might be getting closer.
    ... or I sit and drum my fingers waiting for Gigabyte to finally address the issues.
  • Jynx980 - Friday, February 13, 2009 - link

    Mine wouldn't even boot up. The CPU fan would not spin. A couple of other people on the Newegg reviews mention this problem also. How long did it take you to get your RMA approved? Mine is still "open" after a week. Tech support was ok. It took a couple of days but they did respond. Also haven't heard anything about the mail in rebate, and that's been about a month. I sent in a mushkin rebate on the same day to the same rebate center and I already have gotten the check. Reply
  • syseng - Friday, June 12, 2009 - link

    Gigabyte is obviously having financial problems. After 4 months, I do not have the rebates for my motherboard or graphics card. The companyhandling the rebates said Gigabyte has not released rebate checks in "quite a while". Resellers like Newegg should just drop them if they are not going to honor their commitments. Reply
  • Isme - Thursday, December 03, 2009 - link

    Gigabyte has had "financial" problems for 15 years. Quality has varied from time to time though it has usually been cases of bad engineering rather than bad workmanship.

    I think the "financial" problems aspect is that they are just cheap skates who intend that if anyone gets shafted on a deal it won't be Gigabyte. That is to say that direct exchanges have never been pleasant for private individuals. You really want to be buffered through a retailer or wholesale who is doing mass returns...or be an important reviewer...or just very patient.

  • Believer - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    Correct that, I just got a generic response from one of Gigabyte Tech Support.

    Looks like they're trying to pin-point it to the memory modules as no ordinary combination of 2 memory pairs are ever specifically supported to work together.
  • Isme - Thursday, December 03, 2009 - link

    Hmmm...does that mean the board really only supports a single dual channel pair? That would mean the other 2 slots are basically there is nice looking decoration only.

    Or was that response simply saying that Gigabyte never tested the motherboard with all 4 slots filled with off-the-shelf memory rather than hand-picked laboratory measured memory modules? Thus their answer could be more accurately paraphrased "we haven't got a clue and its your problem now sucker". With the whole overclocking fad I can sort of see this as a corporate answer (HObbyist know as much as we do and are willing to spend time -- so why should we waste our time providing a solution).

    Still it would be nice if they proved their claims using at least a couple sets of stock hardware in an non-overclocked configuration BEFORE releasing and advertising to the general public.

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