Pentium D 820 and i945G/P Chipset Showcase

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Intel 945G/P Express Chipset Overview
Enabling Dual-Core for the Masses

Intel's D945GTPLR system board follows the Micro ATX form factor, sporting one 16x PCI-Express, two PCI and a 1x PCI-Express slot.  The board is also equipped with 4 SATA and one IDE storage ports while providing four DIMM slots supporting 1GB maximum per slot.  The rear of the board has legacy PS2, LPT1, and Serial connections, as well as a VGA connection for the GMA 950 integrated graphics.  Intel also provided four USB 2.0 ports with headers on the front of the board to expand to 8 ports.  FireWire and Gigabit Ethernet is also standard equipment, as is Intel's High-definition Audio.  The Northbridge comes backed with a fairly hefty heatsink held on by a retention clip and is positioned close to the CPU to borrow from the CPU cooler's airflow.

Intel D945GTPLR System Board

  

The D945GNT model is the full ATX form factor version that integrates an additional 1x PCI Express slot, two more PCI slots, and an additional auxillary fan header.  Users can also expect a healthy software complement to back the 945G boards, with over 13 titles included.  Our sample icluded such titles as Norton Internet Security 2005, MusicMatch Jukebox, Intervideo Home Theater Silver, and Norton Antivirus, to name a few.

When we line up the existing 955X Express chipset with the new 945G and 945P Express chipsets, we see a lot of similarities among the three.  For example, all share the same base configuration in regard to memory type and number of channels.  They also bring 1x and 16x PCI Express support across the board, as well as sharing the same ICH7/ICH7R Southbridge and its features. 

The 945 series supports the latest Pentium D dual-cores and all LGA775 single-core processors with or without HT technology.  Intel added 533MHz FSB to the 945s, bringing greater backward compatibility with existing single-core processors while leaving the door open for future budget-class dual-core CPUs if it sees fit.  The 945s drop the ECC support of the 955X Express as well as Intel's lower latency Memory Pipeline Technology, although each maintains support for Intel Flex Memory Technology, which enables dual-channel mode with different-sized DIMMs.  The maximum memory complement is cut in half compared to the i955X, with the 945s peaking at 4GB. What the 945 doesn't support is dual-core Hyper-Threaded processors, such as the Pentium Extreme Edition 840.

With the addition of the 945G and 945P Express chipsets, Intel has broadened it dual-core product base to deliver a cost-effective solution to the workstation market.  Also, in an effort to deliver further advancements to the business-class customer, the 945 chipset brings greater tools and functionality to give the IT manager broader management control over their workstation responsibilities.  In our next segment, we'll offer up a schematic of the 945G and 945P chipsets and highlight some of these professional features Intel worked into its designs.

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