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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  • NimitzHarrington - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    Hi Gary,

    Excellent review. I'm glad I chose this board when I built my new system a couple of months back.

    However, I have not managed to get eSata fully working on this board. When I plug in an eSata HDD, Vista picks it up but it's listed as an internal disk. Therefore, I cannot remove it from "Safely remove hardware".

    I tried the latest Intel Storage Manager, but that did not help. I have had to resort to using HotSwap.

    Have you come across this during your testing (or has anyone else using this MB experienced and fixed this issue)?

  • Lazlo Panaflex - Thursday, February 05, 2009 - link

    An 8600 @ 5Ghz+...very nice o/c! I reckon that setup would fetch a pretty penny on Fleabay (unless Gary's using it as his main gaming rig...hehe ;) Reply
  • vlado08 - Wednesday, February 04, 2009 - link

    I expected core i7 architecture to use less power than core2 Quad in "idle" mode because it can switch off unused cores. So if I have a computer which is 24/7 in "on" state then the best power efficiency will be to use core 2 Duo. For example if it is used for downloading/uploading from internet.
    It seems I was wrong. Or may be it is a Vista problem failing to switch off unused cores of core i7?
  • jzodda - Wednesday, February 04, 2009 - link

    Have had it since october running my E8400@ 4.2ghz and 525 FSB 24/7

    This board is really a pleasure to work with once you get the hang of the various bios settings. Took awhile back then. Now there is an 1800 post thread at X-treme so info is no longer lacking on any setting.

    This board is a throw back to the good old Abit days of the BH6 and boards like it. Lots of fun.

  • SixOfSeven - Tuesday, February 03, 2009 - link

    LoneWolf15, what 4GB DDR2's are you using? Any problems setting things up? Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Thursday, February 05, 2009 - link

    "LoneWolf15, what 4GB DDR2's are you using? Any problems setting things up? "

    I apologize here. I used two 2GB modules, not two 4GB ones, and couldn't go back and re-edit.

    I'm using G.Skill Pi DDR2-800 modules which work at 1.8-1.9v with 4-4-4-12 timing. They're available at the `Egg for $45-50 a set with free shipping, and they're hassle free. Almost tempting to get a second set for Windows 7 x64 when it comes out.
  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, February 04, 2009 - link

    Just wanted to add (even though you didn't ask) I'm using the 2X2gig Reaper ram that has the heatpipe with a huge heatsink on top (making the ram 2-3" taller than it would normally be). There are no clearance issues at all. Reply
  • Matt Campbell - Tuesday, February 03, 2009 - link

    Time to break out the LN2 and see how far it really goes ;) Reply
  • Freak Out - Tuesday, February 03, 2009 - link

    I was wondering if you could post a picture of the test setup? Reply
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, February 04, 2009 - link

    Let me get one before I tear it down today. Reply

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