Gigabyte Breaks out the Extreme
To the Extreme
The last thing we were shown before being bused off to dinner was a first example of Gigabyte’s EP45-Extreme motherboard—a product that will cost more than the EP45-DQ6 (already estimated at $300) and offer an advanced suite of features decidedly directed toward the overclocking crowd.
Gigabyte calls the most obvious extra a Hybrid-Silent Pipe, responsible for enhanced cooling of the P45, ICH10-R, and power circuitry. You’ll also find a water block on the board’s north bridge and on the back of that big Hybrid-Silent Pipe. Ideally, the combination will help pave the way for higher front side bus overclocks. But when we took apart the EP45-DQ6, we found the extravagant copper cooling system was only really making solid contact with the P45 MCH. Hopefully the EP45-Extreme more effectively cools the core logic in a bid to improve tweaking potential.
The EP45-Extreme will be the only Gigabyte P45 board with a double-digit POST code LED output. Also, the board sports five overvoltage control ICs that enable 20mv increments for finer control of power delivery. Again, these are features seen as important to overclockers, though we’d argue their importance to all enthusiasts.
While it sounds like the EP45-Extreme will have lots of potential, we’re having a hard time imagining anyone paying more than $300 for a board based on Intel’s mainstream chipset, even if it offers special overclocking features. Then again, if the extra onboard copper actually proves effective in achieving never-before-seen frequencies, there will likely be an enthusiast following. We wait with bated breath.
A stack of motherboards in Gigabyte's conference room, ready for testing by international media
The pursuit of 5 GHz with a liquid nitrogen cooling setup
An End to Spring Break
Gigabyte’s informational P45 preview might have been called a spring break “plug-fest,” but at 100 degrees with serious humidity in Taipei, we’d say the event was more of a sizzling summer trip. With that said, it was great to get an early look at the P45 chipset before it’s launched at this year’s Computex. And considering the progress Gigabyte made with Intel’s P45 in the span of two weeks (shipments of the chipset from Intel were delayed), we’re looking forward to seeing how the entire lineup matures as its launch approaches.
The Damper Baby spec sheet,responsible for keeping Taipei 101 upright in the event of a typhoon
Taipei 101, the world's tallest office building--a final visit before flying home
As the event came to a close, Gigabyte took questions and suggestions from the crowd on how to improve its products. There was very little input from the group of professional critics. Clearly, Gigabyte is doing something right in its efforts to become are more influential motherboard supplier. In addition, it appears they're keen on being first to market with Intel's new mainstream P45 chipset. We'll have to see how things shake out in the next few weeks but to Gigabyte we'd offer, keep up the good work.