Gigabyte EP45-EXTREME

IntroductionGA-EP45 EXTREME
All together now, shout EXTREME! Today we get the opportunity to review Gigabytes latest high end motherboard in the guise of the EP45-EXTREME. As its name suggests, the motherboard is based on Intel’s P45 chipset and is sure to provide some goodies if the EXTREME part is to be believed.
Gigabyte have never been ones to fade away into the background. With their bright colour schemes and proven reliability along with exceptional performance, they have been at the forefront of PC component manufacturing since Bill Gates was popping spots. A firm favourite with enthusiasts and system builders alike, Gigabyte have always been seen as a brand you should consider before any other and most recently, Gigabyte have become very popular with EXTREME overclocking thanks to their no gimmick, hassle free and uncluttered motherboards, not to mention the great BIOS features Gigabyte provide.
So then may I present you with the EP45-EXTREME. Capital letters usually mean shouting on the Internet but I feel Gigabyte want to shout about this board. With the excellent overclocking abilities of the P45 chipset,  sumptuous copper heatpipe cooling (with the optional watercooling block) and a feature packed motherboard it is clear Gigabyte are aiming for the top of the pile with his release. With a price tag to match the EXTREME name, I hope that the Taiwanese manufacturer can justify spending such an extreme amount especially so close to i7. Lets see what the motherboard has to offer…
The specifications were taken directly from the Gigabyte website:  
  • Support for an Intel® Coreâ„¢ 2 Extreme processor/ Intel® Coreâ„¢ 2 Quad processor/Intel® Coreâ„¢ 2 Duo processor/ Intel® Pentium® Dual-Core processor/Intel® Celeron® processor in the LGA 775 package(Note) This motherboard is designed with VRD11.1 power phase, and cannot be compatible with VRD10 designed CPU. Please refer to “CPU Support List” for details.
  • L2 cache varies with CPU
Front Side Bus
  • 1600/1333/1066/800 MHz FSB
  • North Bridge: Intel® P45 Express Chipset
  • South Bridge: Intel® ICH10R
  •  4 x 1.8V DDR2 DIMM sockets supporting up to 16 GB of system memory
  •  Dual channel memory architecture
  • Support for DDR2 1333+/1066/800/667 MHz memory modules (Refer to Memory support list for more information)
  •  Realtek ALC889A codec
  •  High Definition Audio
  • 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  • Support for Dolby Home Theater
  •  Support for S/PDIF In/Out
  • Support for CD In
  • 2 x Realtek 8111C chips (10/100/1000 Mbit)
  • Support for Teaming
Expansion Slots
  • 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16
  • 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (The PCIEx16 and PCIEx8 slots support ATI CrossFireX technology and conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
  • 1 x PCI Express x4 slots
  • 1 x PCI Express x1 slot
  • 3 x PCI slots
Storage Interface South Bridge:
  • 6 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (SATAII0, SATAII1, SATAII2, SATAII3, SATAII4, SATAII5) supporting up to 6 SATA 3Gb/s devices
  • Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
iTE IT8213 chip:
  • 1 x IDE connector supporting ATA-133/100/66/33 and up to 2 IDE devices
iTE IT8720 chip:
  • 1 x floppy disk drive connector supporting up to 1 floppy disk drive
IEEE 1394a
  •  T.I. TSB43AB23 chip
  •  Up to 3 IEEE 1394a ports (via the IEEE 1394a brackets connected to the internal IEEE 1394a headers)
  • Integrated in the South Bridge
  • Up to 12 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (8 on the back panel, 4 via the USB brackets connected to the internal USB headers)
Internal I/O Connectors
  • 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  • 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  • 1 x floppy disk drive connector
  • 1 x IDE connector
  • 6 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
  • 1 x CPU fan header
  • 2 x system fan headers
  • 1 x power fan header
  • 1 x front panel header
  • 1 x front panel audio header
  • 1 x CD In connector
  • 1 x S/PDIF In header
  • 1 x S/PDIF Out header
  • 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  • 3 x IEEE 1394a headers
  • 1 x serial port header
  • 1 x chassis intrusion header
  • 1 x power LED header
  • 1 x power switch
  • 1 x reset switch
Back Panel Connectors
  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard port
  • 1 x PS/2 mouse port
  • 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  • 1 x coaxial S/PDIF Out connector
  • 1 x clearing CMOS switch
  • 8 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  • 2 x RJ-45 ports
  • 6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out/Rear Speaker Out/Side Speaker Out/Line In/Line Out/Microphone)
I/O Controller
  • iTE IT8720 chip
1. 2 x 8 Mbit flash
2. Use of licensed AWARD BIOS
3. Support for DualBIOSâ„¢
4. PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.4, ACPI 1.0b
Bundle Software
1. Norton Internet Security (OEM version)
Operating System
1. Support for Microsoft/ Windows/ Vista/XP
Form Factor
1. ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm
Well the specification is certainly distinguished. Everything you could possibly want from a motherboard is there with a massive array of features included the EXTREME name is certainly showings its worth thus far.
Lets head over to the next page where we will take a look at the motherboard itself….