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Gigabyte GA-8I945P Dual Graphic (Intel 945P Express)
By Zachary Chan
Category : Mainboard
Published by Vijay Anand on Tuesday, 30th August, 2005
Rating : 4.5 out of 5 stars  


Introduction

Gigabyte was one of the first manufacturers to release a retail board for the Intel 955X Express chipset. The GA-8I955X Royal was a high-end product that pimped a rich feature set with the latest technologies available. It was also the very first Intel 955X Express based motherboard to use Realtek's Dolby Master Studio certified HD Audio chip, bringing home theater standards into the PC. Since then, Intel's consumer mainstream chipset, the 945P Express was launched and motherboards began to appear, slowly replacing the venerable Grantsdale as the mid-level chipset of choice. Though Gigabyte is no longer among the first, their latest GA-8I945P Dual Graphic motherboard was still able to leave its mark.

Unlike the distinctive differences of the old Alderwood and Grantsdale, the new Intel chipsets (955X Express and 945P Express) have too much in common and even the supposedly mainstream Intel 945P Express is quite powerful in its own right. Because of this, we've seen a few manufacturers offering high-end Intel 945P Express based boards (ASUS and ECS come to mind). However, Gigabyte's GA-8I945P Dual Graphic has no delusions of trying to overthrow its big brother, the GA-8I955X Royal. Gigabyte designed the board with basic functionality and a dash of more exotic features so that it seemed to be a blend of mainstream practicality and enthusiast charm. What Gigabyte seemed to be looking for was a good mix of both worlds. While its name leaves no doubt on what its main features are, let's take a more detailed look at what makes up the GA-8I945P Dual Graphic, starting with the technical specifications.

The Gigabyte GA-8I945P Dual Graphic motherboard.

Packaging contents include the following items:-
  • 2 x SATA data cables
  • 1 x SATA power converter cable (dual plugs)
  • 2 x 80-conductor Ultra ATA data cables
  • 1 x floppy drive data cable
  • IEEE 1394b (2 ports) and USB 2.0 (2 ports) bracket
  • I/O shield
  • Driver and application CD (Norton Internet Security, Cyberlink PowerProducer)
  • Hardware installation guide

    Gigabyte GA-8I945P Dual Graphic Technical Specifications
    CPU Support
    • Supports 90nm LGA775 processor package
    • Supports Intel Pentium D / Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 
    • Supports Intel Pentium 4 / Pentium 4 Extreme Edition
    • Intel Hyper-Threading Technology ready
    Chipset
    • Northbridge: Intel 945P Express
      • 533 / 800 / 1066MHz front side bus
      • PCI Express x16 graphics
    • Southbridge: Intel ICH7R
      • Intel High Definition Audio
      • Supports six PCI Express x1 lanes
      • Supports up to eight USB 2.0 ports
      • Supports four SATA II ports (with RAID 0 and 1 capabilities)
      • Single-channel Ultra ATA-100 IDE port
    Memory
    • Supports four unbuffered DIMM of 1.8 Volt DDR2 SDRAM
    • Supports 677/533/400 dual channel DDR2 memory architecture
    Storage
    • Intel ICH7R Southbridge
      • 1 x Ultra ATA 33/66/100 (data transfer rate up to 100MB/sec.)
      • 4 x SATA II (Serial ATA II 3.0Gbps interface)
      • Intel Matrix Storage Technology
      • Supports RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1, RAID 5
    • GigaRAID ITE8212F IDE RAID controller
      • 2 x Ultra ATA 33/66/100/133 (data transfer rate up to 133MB/sec.)
      • Supports RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1
    Audio
    • Intel High Definition Audio (Azalia)
    • Realtek ALC882 HD Audio CODEC
    Networking
    • Broadcom BCM5789 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller
    IEEE 1394 (FireWire)
    • Texas Instruments SN082AA2 1394b OHCI-Lynx Controller
    • Texas Instruments SN081BA3 IEEE P1394b Three-Port Cable Transceiver Arbiter
    • 3 x 1394b ports @ 800 Mbps speed
    I/O Interface
    • 1 x Floppy connector
    • 3 x Ultra ATA IDE connectors
    • 4 x SATA connectors
    • 8 x USB 2.0 ports (4 x rear, 2 x bracket, 2 x header)
    • 3 x IEEE 1394b ports (header)
    • 1 x RJ45 LAN port
    • 1 x Optical S/PDIF Output
    • 1 x Coaxial S/PDIF Output 
    • 8-Channel Audio I/O ports
    • 1 x CD-IN
    • 1 x 9-pin serial port
    • 1 x parallel port (SPP/EPP/ECP)
    • 1 x mini-DIN-6 PS/2 mouse port
    • 1 x mini-DIN-6 PS/2 keyboard port
    Expansion Slots
    • 2 x PCIe x16 slots, PCI Express Bus specification v1.0a compliant
    • 1 x PCIe x1 slots, PCI Express Bus specification v1.0a compliant
    • 3 x 32-bit PCI slots, PCI 2.3 compliant
    Special Features
    • DualBIOS
    • Gigabyte ShieldWare
    • Dual Graphic Link
    • Quad View
    PCB
    • ATX Form Factor, 12"x 9.6"(30.5cm x 24.4cm)


    The rear I/O panel includes almost every feature available to the board except for FireWire, which are provided as brackets.
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