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Gigabyte - Part 2
When I got to the meeting, I met with two Gigabyte representatives who gave me a tour of some of Gigabyte's upcoming products.
First up was the sole AMD board on display, the GA-MA790GP-DS4H, featuring the 790GX chipset. The single most interesting part of this board is the SidePort memory. There is 128MB of video memory integrated on to the motherboard, which gets rid of the notion of sharing system memory with the integrated graphics chip. You can clearly see the performance enhancements such a feature would bring, especially in conjunction with Hybrid CrossFireX. The board also has several HTPC friendly features, such as integrated HDMI/DVI ports and HD audio with Blu-ray support.
If you have been reading reviews here at OCC of Gigabyte's latest boards, you might have heard of DES (Dynamic Energy Saver). While it certainly seems to work well, the lamentable fact was that it would only work at stock speeds. For us here at OverclockersClub, that simply would not do. Fortunately, Gigabyte has heard our calls and has released the DES Advanced. You get all the benefits of the original DES, but while overclocked!!
The first board sporting this new DES Enhanced technology was the GA-EP45-DQ6, featuring the Intel P45 chipset. This board supports the latest 45nm chips with an FSB of 1600MHz. However, in addition to the DES Advanced technology, the representative pointed out that this board also features a built-in TPM chip. Gigabyte has incorporated 2048-bit encryption at the hardware level. I was informed that you store the encryption key on a USB flash drive, and without the key inserted into a USB port, the board will not boot. Also, the hard drive is encrypted as well, so one simply can't pull the drive and access its contents in another machine. One great aspect of this feature is that you can have an infinite number of users with their own keys and secure access to their own data. Which means you can securely hide your secret stash of racy photos from your wife as she won't be able to access them without your key. For those who may be wondering, Gigabyte has a built-in backup feature where you have the option of storing the key on the BIOS and password protecting it, thus allowing you to place the information on a new flash drive in case you lose the original.
Next up in the motherboard lineup is the new Extreme series.The GA-EP45 Extreme is powered by Intel's P45 chipset, and also features Gigabyte's DES Advanced technology. Sadly, there is no TPM chip on this board, though I would imagine those looking at this board are more interested in the performance it offers than security. Notice the massive cooling system on this board. More interesting than its size is the fact that it's a hybrid liquid/air cooling system. Yes, you can choose to attach liquid cooling tubes to the Northbridge or stick with a fan, or simply passive cooling.
Finally, the wall of motherboards.