Features of the 8IEP1000 Pro 2
- Package and Contents
Gigabyte has started a new packaging line for its new GT series boards. This new box is rather dark with a Ferrari decal with the model number on the bottom and information on the major features the new GT series supports, including information on C.I.A and M.I.B.
Gigabyte provides the motherboard, user manual that covers the entire 8IPE1000 series, Driver CD, USB 2.0 expansion bracket, decal sticker for easy reference to jumpers and a information booklet explaining in more detail the features of the C.I.A and M.I.B technologies.
- Layout - High's and Low's
Now we come to the part we all like, the motherboard itself. Gigabyte hasn't changed the PCB design in regards to its I865PE and I865G series. It doesn't feature the Dual Power system onboard, so this connector has been removed and a forth phase power system has been added instead to allow for heavy voltage Pentium 4 CPU's. As far as expansion slots go, you get your standard AGP port supporting revision 3.0 specs. Just in case you have been living on mars and don't know, Revision 3 specs are for AGP 4x 1.5v cards or AGP 8x 0.9v cards only. Older TNT and such cards will not work but will simply fry the chipset.
Gigabyte has been doing this for some time, while it is now standard, it is still a great feature - color coded DIMMs. Setting up 128bit memory can be confusing for the uninitiated. Gigabyte has two orange slots and two purple slots. This tells you what two DIMMs slots have to be matched in order to get 128bit memory mode operational.
The placement and arrangement of the connectors is something that Gigabyte has done a reasonable job at. The IDE connectors are located behind the DIMM sockets, which keeps the cables up high enough to reach the top of most full tower cases as well as keep the bulky IDE cables out of the air flow from the front of the case. Above these two are the FDD and 20 pin power connectors. The benefit of this is the same as the IDE connectors. The 4 pin connector is placed between the Northbridge and the I/O panel, making it a bit of a pain with the 4 pin cable being routed around the CPU heatsink assembly.
Gigabyte has given the job of running this baby to the Intel 865PE chipset with the ICH5 Southbridge. Gigabyte has chosen this chipset for two major reasons. Firstly the I865PE has become a great overclocker's partner. Its performance is on par with that of the I875P chipset, and with all the major functions that makes the I875P so popular, why pay more?
The second reason is simply for the power and features the I865PE produces, again why pay for the higher priced I875P chipset? Gigabyte has put a large gold colored heatsink onto the Northbridge with a slow RPM fan to keep the noise to a reasonable level while providing some very good cooling for the Northbridge when pushed to its limits.
For a value product, this is definitely a great addition to the mix, Gigabit Ethernet. With the 865PE supporting the CSA bus, it is a great addition to see the Intel CSA network controller in use. The Pro1000 CT Network controller chip has been included on the CSA bus to give 10/100/1000 Ethernet support.
Yet again, Gigabyte has pushed as much onto the PCB as they possibly can at a very low price. While the VIA VT6306 or VT6307 Firewire controllers are cheaper, Gigabyte has chosen the Texas Instruments 3 port Firewire controller chip.
- Revised Dual BIOS
It wouldn't be a Gigabyte motherboard without Dual BIOS technology. While this is nothing new, something that has been added to the system requires a bit of explanation - this being the new C.I.A and M.I.B technology.
C.I.A or CPU Intelligent Accelerator, as it is known, is Gigabyte's new Automatic CPU load throttling system. How it works is very simple. A new IC chip is added to the motherboard, similar to MSI Core Cell. This chip is designed to monitor CPU utilization during software applications. When the CPU reaches a certain percentage of utilization, the C.I.A system automatically adjusts the CPU core voltage and FSB in order to slightly overclock the CPU. After the applications using all the CPU utilizations has finished, the C.I.A will return the CPU back to its original voltage and bus speed. This technology can be enabled and disabled within the BIOS.
M.I.B or Memory Intelligent Booster technology is designed similar to the C.I.A system. The M.I.B system also resides in the same IC as the C.I.A. The Memory Booster is designed to optimize data transmissions between the CPU, memory and AGP system for up to 10% boost in memory performance.
During our testing, we didn't notice very much difference in memory bandwidth scores; in fact it was so minimal that it wasn't worth a separate graph on our benchmarks.
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