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Intel 945P Motherboards from Gigabyte - Dual Core Compared

By: Cameron Johnson | Socket LGA 775 in Motherboards | Posted: Oct 12, 2005 4:00 am

Gigabyte GA-8I945P Dual Graphic


- The Layout



Now we come to the flagship of the Gigabyte I945P fleet. It's designed using a separate PCB to the 8I945P Pro motherboard but a few feature have stayed the same. First off the power and data connectors are all located at the same places as well as the colour coding scheme.


* Gigabyte GA-8I945P Pro Motherboard Pricing *


Gigabyte GA-8I945P Pro Motherboard


The main difference is the slot layout. You will see that this motherboard has two PCI Express x16 slots. The second PCI Express x16 slot is actually a universal slot running at the x4 protocol. This means that SLI is not officially supported; however, Crossfire is a possibility if Intel goes for Crossfire certification on the 945 platform. Intel is more likely to push for Crossfire support since ATI are less of a threat to Intel in the onboard graphics (and entire chipset section, for that matter) department than nVidia.


The main reason behind the use of the second PCI-E slot is for people wanting to run Dual Graphics cards on their motherboard for adding up to four monitors. In addition to this, you will be able to run PCI-E x4 SAS and ultra mass storage controllers on this motherboard.


- The Chipsets



The chipset of the 8I945P Dual Graphic is identical to the 8I945P Pro motherboard. The I945P chipset is Intel's mainstream chipset designed to replace the I925X chipset as well as the I915 series, as it has multiple CPU support as well as DDR-2 memory controller and 1066FSB support. On this motherboard, the extra PCI-E x16 slot is running off the Southbridge's PCI-E bus.


The Southbridge is the ICH7R, the same as the Pro motherboard. The cooling solution is also Active for the Northbridge and passive for the South.



Like its Pro brother, the Dual Graphic uses a 2 chip Firewire-B controller from Texas Instruments. The Larger chip provides the Firewire-A backward support with the smaller chip adding the Firewire-B support. A preference would be to see a Firewire controller to be PCI-E based, but PCI will do for now.



Like the Pro, the Dual Graphic also adds in extra support for IDE. The ITE GigaRAID controller chip gives two extra IDE ports with 2 devices per port. ATAPI devices are also supported in IDE mode, when RAID mode is set you loose ATAPI device support.



Gigabit LAN is also supported through the PCI-E Broadcom Gigabit LAN controller.


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