Motherboard Guide

Gigabyte EP45-DQ6 review

The Mother of Boards: Gigabyte EP45-DQ6 Preview

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DES - Take Two!

DES - Take Two!

In terms of motherboard longevity, reliability and power efficiency, the GA-EP45-DQ6 maintains the same Ultra Durable 2 design philosophy. What they did improve upon this time round is their Dynamic Energy Saver (DES) and in its second revision now, it goes by the DES Advanced naming scheme. While DES is a combination of both hardware (Intersil PWM controller) and software interface, we didn't have a lot of luck in showcasing the first version of DES when we tested the Gigabyte GA-X48-DQ6 with its early BIOS and software nature. Now with DES Advanced, Gigabyte has had time to advance both the granularity of control in power phases in operation as well as the software interface layer.

One of the key things that DES Advanced rectifies upon its earlier incarnation is that it is now fully operational even when overclocking. Previously, the minute you alter any overclocking related settings, like voltage or clock frequency, DES is deactivated. Now in DES Advanced, you can overclock and overvolt your components and DES will still function as it monitors your actual loading level to determine the optimum power phases to remain in operation to give the board optimal power efficiency and utilization. This alone is a big step in the right direction and additionally, DES now remains operational even when the utility is closed in the OS. In fact, it retains your preferred settings and operational mode and operates in stealth mode, without even having to load a taskbar tray utility.

However, it still hasn't solved the problem of it being reliant on the operating system - in this case, Windows XP/Vista. Gigabyte mentioned that they are working on the next revision of DES to ensure it's really a BIOS level switch rather than being tied to an OS. We suspect this is probably a feature of the next generation chipset motherboards since DES Advanced is barely even out. Of course, if Gigabyte does work overtime to bring about this advancement later via a BIOS update, that would be a really pleasant surprise.

The motherboard still employs a 12-phase power design as with its other DQ6 class boards for sometime now. With DES' dynamic six-gear switching design, it is able to determine the number of operable power phases (2, 4, 6, 8, 10 or 12 phases) for various system loading levels (low to high). Motherboards with a less extensive VRM design will feature a reduced variant of the dynamic multi-gear power phase switching. For example, an 8-power phase board only requires four gears and so on.