Does It Actually Work? - Part 1
If you've already read the GIGABYTE X48-DQ6 review and our DES preview then you'll have a good idea about what GIGABYTE's DES or Dynamic Energy Saver is supposed to do. We decided to look a little bit deeper into how well it works and after about a week of having it running it seems to be doing its job rather well.
As with all new technology and even more so with features that are meant to save you power and money, there's always a bit of skepticism that has to be laid to rest. However, in this case it really seems like it all works as intended, although there are a few things you need to be aware of before you go ahead and enable DES if you have a suitable motherboard. First of all, don't expect to be able to overclock your system while using DES, since as soon as you change the BIOS to manual mode, DES doesn't want to play.
There is a way around this though, but it's not as flexible as real overclocking; it's to enable GIGABYTE's C.I.A 2 in the BIOS. This is a dynamic overclocking feature and it will overclock the bus speed of the motherboard when extra processing power is needed. This has several downsides; the most noticeable is that your RAM will be overclocked as well. Since you can still set your RAM speed manually even with DES enabled, this could cause your system to crash when C.I.A 2 kicks in, at least if you've tweaked it to its limits.
Another issue is with older processors, as if you look at the DES control panel you'll notice that under Dynamic Voltage it says CPU Voltage and then below that there is a bar and three numbered boxes. Each of those boxes relates to lower CPU Voltage, with level 1 being the closest to stock Voltage and level 3 being the lowest Voltage. This works great with Core 2 based CPU's, but it doesn't work with some older CPU's as they won't get enough power if you go below level 1. This can save some extra power over time if you have a suitable processor, but don't play with this setting if you've got an older CPU.