GIGABYTE DES Advanced
First off on the list is DES Advanced. DES isn't new to us as we have already taken a look at the features of it. So, only a basic run down of DES Advanced is needed here.
The same principal behind DES applies to the new Advanced version. The board works off a Hardware IC chip from Intersil Technology that controls the voltage phase states, dependant on CPU load. In the simplest terms, when the CPU is at low load or idle states, depending on what level of throttling has been selected by the end user, the board shuts down un-needed extra phases. With current CPUs this allows the system to shut down all but two phases. At the same time, the CPU clock speed is throttled down using EIST and the voltage is also dropped even further than Intels specs, allowing for further voltage savings.
If you are lucky enough to have a VRM11.1 CPU (such as the new E8400 Series) GIGABYTEs board is VRM11.1 compatible and is able to shut down to a single voltage phase at idle mode; that's just one phase working when the system has no load. This is extremely impressive as most systems spend 80% of their time in idle mode each day in office environments and even in an average home users PC.
DES Advanced changes a few things that were a problem on DES based systems, namely overclocking. Unless you used the C.I.A.2 overclocking feature with the original DES systems, as soon as you manually clocked up the FSB you would lose DES; it would simply shut off. DES Advanced continues to work when you manually overclock the system to keep the power levels down while still giving you a good overclock. However, during our tests we found that with DES Advanced enabled we couldn't get the CPU to run as high a clock speed as we could when we ran without DES enabled. For example, we managed to hit 571MHz FSB with DES Advanced disabled, but with it enabled FSB speeds were limited to 552MHz. While still good, that extra clock speed can mean the difference between buying and not buying this board. Thanks to GIGABYTE, though, if you're the extreme user who isn't focused on power saving, you can disable DES Advanced and clock your way to freedom.
The Test Board
Our test board for today is GIGABYTEs EP45 Extreme Motherboard. This is the newest board to come from GIGABYTE with the latest VRM 11.1 specs as well as featuring DES Advanced in its latest form. This makes it an ideal candidate for today's tests.
Not only will we be testing DES Advanced's ability to keep power down, we will also be performing some overclocking tests to determine how much of an influence there is by the DES Advanced system under overclocked conditions.