Gigabyte GA-EP45T-Extreme Motherboard Review

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Board Layout and Features

Gigabyte GA-EP45T-Extreme Review

The PCB for the GA-EP45T-Extreme is incredibly packed with nearly every square centimeter of space covered in components. The board supports DDR3, six SATA 2 connections, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, three PCI slots, a PCIe x16 2.0 slot, a PCIe x8 2.0 slot, a PCIe x4 2.0 slot, and a PCIe 1x 2.0 slot. There is enough connectivity on this board to satisfy nearly anyone.

Gigabyte GA-EP45T-Extreme Review

The CPU socket has a large number of components surrounding it. The PWM features 12 virtual phases provided by the ISL6336 6 phase controller with two chokes and associated MOSFETs per phase. This configuration should provide enough current for even the most power hungry quad-core processors while providing a stable voltage.

Gigabyte GA-EP45T-Extreme Review

The memory slots are set up with the matching colors to be utilized for dual-channel operation. The DDR3 is fed with the ISL6322G 2-phase controller providing stable power for high-speed DDR3. The board itself states DDR3-1900 operation as part of the features.

Gigabyte GA-EP45T-Extreme Review

The southbridge has a cluster of components around it. There are six SATA ports provided by ICH10R, a PATA port and a floppy port supported by two iTE chips, two BIOS chips for stability, and a unique hardware based RAID setup that removes any driver requirements. You will also notice a few convenient buttons that control board power and reset along with a two digit debug LED.

Gigabyte GA-EP45T-Extreme Review

The expansion slots are configured for CrossFire support while maximizing slot availability. The primary PCIe slot and secondary PCIe slot can be utilized with double-slot cards while still keeping a PCIe 1x 2.0 and PCI slot available for other expansion cards. Triple card CrossFire is supported although the third slot features only 4x connectivity, potentially crippling performance.

Gigabyte GA-EP45T-Extreme Review

Gigabyte’s SilentPipe technology has been highly successful with modest heatpipe assemblies that effectively cool the southbridge, northbridge, and PWM MOSFETs. A new addition to this rendition of the SilentPipe is an incorporated waterblock and additional heatpipe assembly. It isn’t necessary to use either for normal use; however, using either option greatly helps dissipate additional heat from overclocking. The northbridge itself is fed by an ISL6322G 2-phase controller providing a stable power source for some high FSB overclocking.

Gigabyte GA-EP45T-Extreme Review

The back panel features legacy PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports, optical and coaxial SPDIF connectors, eight USB 2.0 ports, 2 Gigabit ports, 6 audio jacks, and a CMOS clear switch. This CMOS clear switch was crucial in overclocking this board as occasionally the BIOS wouldn’t recover from a failed overclock.

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