Preview: Gigabyte EP45-DS4 "Eaglelake" Motherboard

Gigabyte's Plug-Fest 2008 & Gigabyte's P45 Based DS4

Gigabyte's Plug-Fest 2008 - Speeding up the Traditional SDLC

Continuing our "Eaglelake" based motherboard coverage, this time we bring you Gigabyte's version right from the source at their headquarters in Taipei, Taiwan. In their first ever Plug-Fest event tailored to bring media from around the world to show them firsthand of their latest motherboard developments, trial their new boards and tweak them to our heart's content, we got to see some of Gigabyte's impressive lineup of P45 motherboards that span several variants.

Yup, plenty of Intel P45 based boards from Gigabyte were around for top media around the world to tweak, torture and benchmark.

The top of the line have-it-all-except-the-kitchen-sink DQ6 class motherboard in the P45 series sports some really over-the-top features like quad Gigabit LAN ports among other features. These are not just standalone ports as the multiple Realtek 8111C Gigabit LAN chip's drivers supports software-based Teaming function. Factor in Full Duplex and that's up to 8Gbps worth of bandwidth! Though it's quite unlikely anyone would have real practical usage of this onboard home 'router' of sorts, it is there for anyone who can fathom a need for it. But that's the DQ6 model that we'll take a look some other time.


Gigabyte's GA-EP45-DS4 Motherboard Up-close and Personal

Today, we share with you our pictorial preview of the mid-range Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS4 motherboard. Using the Intel P45 and ICH10R combination, this board probably has more than adequate features for even the enthusiasts. The board has dual Gigabit LAN ports and are further complemented by the software based teaming function that can turbo charge your overall throughput. There are of course several other interesting features and aspects of this motherboard:-

The Gigabyte EP45-DS4, DDR2 based board kind of resembles their X38 class of boards and even performs to that mark as well in the early BIOS versions we trialed. Neat and clean layout overall, this P45 board looks fit for an all-round user.

Here's the rear-I/O panel that has both coaxial and S/PDIF digital audio connectivity, dual FireWire ports (4-pin and 6-pin variants), dual Gigabit LAN ports and plenty of USB 2.0 ports (eight of them if you're counting).

Onboard Power, Reset and CMOS clear buttons are a boon for those who mainly do their trials out of the casing's environment.

The dual-BIOS chip tradition continues, as it nears the tenth year since its inception in 1999.

Further down, you can see a much clearer view of the connectivity and storage options that the board has to offer.

One of the highest performing onboard HD audio CODEC is featured on the EP45-DS4 board. The Realtek ALC889A even supports lossless HD audio formats - perfect for Blu-ray playback.

The Realtek Gigabit Ethernet controller; Two of these are onboard.

To prevent accidental component removal or insertion of components while the board is in one of the (deep) sleep states, Gigabyte has come up with a series of colored LEDs to correspond to one of the sleep states it is in at the moment. One glance at this is all you'll ever need to be sure your board's operating state.

We'll soon be getting our hands on these personally back in our labs again, so watch out for the full review again at www.hardwarezone.com.