First we thought we would start off with a bit on the GIGABYTE implementation for saving power which they have called Dynamic Energy Saver or DES for short. On the technical side of things, DES looks and feels to be a more involved design when it comes to how it operates compared to the ASUS implementation.
GIGABYTE has a full range of boards that have from four Phases up to 12 phases of voltage regulators on board, depending on what model determines how many phases are implemented. So far, the DQ6 series of boards have 12 phases to work with, making it the ideal overclockers board, this allowing you to throw a much wider range of voltages at the system whilst keeping the flow from the PWM to the CPU as clean as possible, this without overload or extreme thermal interference that can come from boards with less voltage regulators.
From this design, GIGABYTE's integrated IC is able to turn off un-needed regulators on the fly, and when load is increased the board is able to again on the fly increase the voltage by enabling phases as needed. For the DQ6 series of boards, while technically there are a total of 12 phases, GIGABYTE's Dual Quad design uses the PWM in Parallel, meaning there are 2x six phases in total, so when we describe how the phases work we are speaking in their double rate terms.
When DES is enabled, the board works on a dynamic power scaling system that allows the board to shut down power phases when they aren't required. When at its idle state, the board runs on four phases; as the power requirements increase, the board turns on two extra phases at a time till the board reaches its full 12 phases (or dual six phases if you want to be technical). One of the biggest things we have seen with the GIGABYTE board is that you can actually monitor the phases as they turn off by using the DES software in Windows or by looking at the board itself. We showed you a while ago a GIGABYTE board working with LED's which we thought were Christmas lights, but actually indicate the amount of phases the board is running on.
During our tests we found that the board ran mostly on 10 phases when under load. Even when under Prime95 for 24 hours it only went to 12 a couple of times, but only for a few seconds. We were surprised to see that the board didn't hit the full 12 phases, but we surmised this was because the CPU wasn't drawing a huge amount of power, the extra phases really would only be beneficial for overclockers, as this is when the CPU generates more heat, and in turn requires more voltage and power to keep it stable. Our initial testing here shows that GIGABYTE DES does help, as if you didn't have DES enabled, all 12 phases would be unnecessarily running no matter what.
GIGABYTE has announced that all of its upcoming motherboards will feature DES as the company has gone the full green initiative. Making a difference really matters for this motherboard giant. So far we have only seen a couple of boards working with DES, mostly the top end boards; but within the next quarter we hope to see just about all of the new revisions out with DES technology.
UPDATE from GIGABYTE (March 20, 2008)
GIGABYTE contacted us today with word about support for DES in their motherboards. Here is the list of products that support DES. DES will be a feature of most of their motherboards from mid-range and up from now on.
GA-P35-DS4 ver 2.1
GA-P35-DS3P ver. 2.1
GA-P35C-DS3R ver 2.1
GA-P35-DS3R Ver 2.1
GA-P35-DS3 ver 2.1