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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  • Glenn - Tuesday, February 03, 2009 - link

    On second reading of your original post I wonder if you need to "initialize" that disk within Administrator Tools/computer management/Disk Management ? If it's showing up in device manager that is likely the problem. The cables provided by gigabyte work in any motherboard slot to any internal sata device (HD or Optical Drive) in either orientation. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, February 03, 2009 - link

    You solved my problem! I am now in the process of formatting the drive after initializing. I have NEVER had this issue before as I guess this issue is Vista specific.

    I cannot thank you enough. I wish this article (and hence my question) had been up a couple days ago and saved me the several hours of wasted life. :(

    Now anyone have a good (free?) ghosting program that will allow me to clone my current 80gig drive to the 250gig so I can get rid of the old PATA to use in my old computer build?
  • semo - Tuesday, February 03, 2009 - link

    you've probably never had this problem because your drive already came with an os or the first thing you've done with a new hard drive is to install an os on it. either case, the initialization was done for you.

    to mirror a hard disk --> http://www.pcinspector.de/Sites/clone_maxx/info.ht...">http://www.pcinspector.de/Sites/clone_maxx/info.ht...

    to take a snapshot --> http://ping.windowsdream.com/">http://ping.windowsdream.com/

    get the source and destination right. you only get one chance!
  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, February 04, 2009 - link

    I've never directly swapped drives out like I'm trying to do here, but I have added additional drives before (all old IDE) and other than the Master/Slave issue the drives were always recognized upon reboot (with a drive letter already given). I'm sure this Vista method gives more flexibility (can have multiple drives installed but not actually recognized), but it was new and annoying to me.

    As for the ghost program I think I'm going to use HDclone. While the free version has slow copy times (~1gig/min), I only have an 80gig HD I'm cloning from so I don't mind a bit extra time. And according to their website they claim they now support the extra space when cloning (previously all the freeware ghost programs had the annoying habit of not adding in the rest of the space on the new HD and so you were left with creating another partition, or getting a program like partition magic to do the job the ghost program should have in the first place.

    Once again than you very much for all the help and quick advice!

    I'll be interested to compare boot times of Vista and games with the new drive. My current 80gig is a 7200rpm Maxtor from several years ago and while the new drive is the same spindle speed I'm assuming that the higher density will allow for quite a bit of an improvement. I'm sitting on the sideline for another year or so before jumping on the SSD bandwagon. Too rich for my blood at the moment, but I drool over them.
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, February 04, 2009 - link

    In XP when adding SATA drives IIRC it was normal to have to format the drive before it could be used. I don't remember initialization being a separate step though, just format the unformatted space and it would work. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, February 04, 2009 - link

    Just wanted to say I am no running my system on my new Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive, after a 2hour HDclone that worked flawlessly (and free). Not only that but the new/current version of HDclone also expanded the partition for the new larger drive so I literally just unplugged the old drive after the clone and Vista isn't even complaining to validate again (a fear I had since my copy is Vista Home Premium OEM). I didn't want to try to explain why after building my system 2 weeks ago I'm already swapping the HD....

    Thanks again!
  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, February 04, 2009 - link

    no = *now* Reply
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, February 03, 2009 - link

    That sounds exactly like something that may be the culprit. As I mentioned I just made the big switch from XP to Vista, and am not used to some of the Vista policies.

    I thank you very much for the advice and I'll have to try this ASAP!
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, February 03, 2009 - link

    The bios is pretty confusing when it comes to this (and the manual also doesn't help). I have made sure the SATA bios settings are NOT set to AHCI or Raid, I believe the "off" setting is for it to be seen as IDE.

    I kinda figured SATA didn't use the Master/Slave, but my concern is that since my primary OS drive IS a PATA drive, that there is an issue with trying to recognize a Master SATA (it shows up as master in the bios, whatever that means).

    Another thing is since trying to install the SATA drive (I've since taken it out until I can find some answers) right before Vista loads the windows icon and the logon screen my HD now makes a 5-6 second grinding noise like it's searching the entire drive or something. This never happened before trying to get the SATA drive hooked up, and while it doesn't seem to have affected performance once in windows, it is a bit annoying during bootup (I keep my system off most of the time so on average boot up 2-3 times per day).
  • The0ne - Tuesday, February 10, 2009 - link

    I'm not entirely sure of this myself not having gone through reliable tests but I've been having similar problems with HD's as of late.

    Make sure you only have one primary HD. If you have multiple HD set as primary, doesn't have to be active, you will run in problems. Vista chokes up as well. Make sure your HD's are labled properly when partition, Simple, Basic, Primary, etc. And then there's the odd external drive like my WorldBook 1TB that, if connected and power on, will 100% prevent XP or Vista to load up fully to the desktop (on my IP35E MB) or 100% crashes and resets the BIOS when XP/Vista tries to load (currently my EP45-DS3R MB). This WorldBook can only be connected once you're on the desktop.

    I have a hate relationship with WD external drives, they just want to die in my arms for no apparent reasons.

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