Gigabyte EP45-Extreme ReviewMakaveli - August 17, 2008
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The Gigabyte EP-45 Extreme is a standard ATX motherboard that is made for Socket 775 processors. The first thing I noticed was the extravagant cooling on the Northbridge, Southbridge, and PWM. All of the heatsinks are connected with heat pipes, and on the back of the motherboard; you’ll see the Northbridge and Southbridge have aluminum bars to securely hold the heatsinks into place. Just by looking at the board, it’s quite clear that it should have every port you’ll need for your system. Now let’s break down every aspect of this motherboard.
The rear I/O panel houses eight USB 2.0 ports, two PS/2 ports for older keyboards and mice, one each optical and coaxial S/PDIF outputs, two Gigabit LAN ports, six audio ports, and a Clear CMOS switch. This is the first external Clear CMOS switch that Gigabyte has manufactured, and from personal experience, this is one of the handiest buttons to have on your rear I/O panel for overclocking.
This Gigabyte EP-45 Extreme supports AIT's CrossFireX technology, PCI Express 2.0, and houses single PCI Express x16, x8, x4, and x1 slots. There are also three PCI slots onboard as well. On the bottom of the motherboard, there are two USB 2.0 ports, and three FireWire 1394a ports. The bottom right of the motherboard is where you’ll find six onboard SATA ports, the single IDE port, the front panel header, onboard Power and Reset buttons, and LED readouts for errors. The onboard Power and Reset buttons and LED readout are very important, in my opinion. The onboard Power and Reset buttons come in handy when you’re not using a case, or you just don’t have the front panel hookups to plug into the motherboard. The LED display is probably one of my favorite things on this motherboard, because it allows you to know exactly what’s wrong with your system if you encounter any errors upon booting up.
This motherboard supports up to 16GB of RAM. Yes, you read that right – up to 16GB of RAM! The motherboard's memory standard is DDR2-1200MHz for the board’s four 240-pin slots. Adjacent to the memory slots are a floppy drive port, and a 24-pin power port.
Now, let's look at the heatsink setup.