Power-Savings and More
A Family Full of Features
Gigabyte is keeping a number of features consistent across all of the P45 boards, regardless of price. For example, all of the boards we sampled boasted a Dolby Home Theater package, including Pro Logic IIx, Dolby Headphone, Sound Space Expander, Natural Bass, and Dolby Digital Live, used to encode 5.1-channel mixes in real-time.
Slot layout of the EP45-DS4, featuring three PCIe x16 slots
Rear I/O panel of the EP45-DS4, similar to the DS5's setup
There’s also the Dual BIOS feature, which saved us a couple of times during testing. The concept is quite simple (and by now quite mature, since it was first introduced in 1999). If there’s a corruption of the primary BIOS, a backup automatically re-flashes the main IC to recover it. Then you boot back up as if nothing had happened.
As mentioned, you’ll find the Infineon Truster Platform Module (TPM) across the entire P45 series, too.
Gigabyte's diagnostic LED system lets you know how many power phases are in use
Slot configuration of the EP45-DS3R--it still comes with two PCIe x16 slots
Of the features found on all of the new Gigabyte boards, we heard most about the company’s Dynamic Energy Saver Advanced. Much of the discussion centered on accusations that one of Gigabyte’s competitors is fudging the effectiveness of a similar capability, but that’s neither here nor there. In case you’re unfamiliar with Gigabyte’s DES, the function adjusts power consumption in real-time by altering voltages, using fewer power phases, and throttling the host processor depending on the settings you choose. The new Advanced version of the technology adds several capabilities to make DES more user-friendly. Mainly, it continues affecting power use even when the software component is closed and taken off of the task bar. It also supports overclocking and configurations with user-modified voltages. And because DES Advanced works with the VRD 11.1 spec, it’ll power CPUs using a single power phase when they’re in a deep sleep state. More interesting perhaps is that the feature scales power delivery as the processor comes out of sleep—the trickiest part of implementing the feature, according to Gigabyte representatives.
Rear I/O panel of the EP45-DS3R--looks just like the DS5 and DS4
Secondary storage subsystem found on the DQ6 and DS5 boards
Gigabyte showed several PowerPoint slides of how its technology performed against competing power-saving features, pitting power efficiency (in percent) over input current. In the days to come, we’re looking forward to working with Gigabyte to set up similar metrics, independently establishing the effectiveness of DES Advanced.