Gigabyte's EP45-Extreme, M912 and More
Not to be forgotten in all the netbook/laptop madness happening at Computex, Gigabyte has launched the M912 notebook.
This week we’ve already seen the launches from the likes of Asus, Acer and MSI. So it’s hardly surprising that Gigabyte also came out with an announcement regarding its own compact netbook in Taiwan.
Usually the case with netbooks is that they, for the large part, all look pretty much the same. Small differences with keyboards or trackpads aside, most of them have the same basic design and it’s not something we can fault them for. The aim of these PCs is to be basic and compact, however it would be nice to see a bit of variation and said variation is brought to us by Gigabyte.
The likes of the MSI Wind and the EeePC are your basic run of the mill clamshell laptop, the Gigabyte M912 however, is sure to turn a few heads. Incorporating the Intel Atom processor with an 8.9” display ( 1280 x 768 resolution), 10/100Mb/s Ethernet, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, 1GB of memory and a 4GB SSD, the specs are decent but that’s not what interests us. We like the fact that we’re finally seeing one of these subnotebooks in tablet form.
Ok, so it’s not really a huge deal, but its a step away from all the other similar products we’ve been seeing lately without being too different. It also runs Linux or Windows and as is becoming the norm with these, is offered in an array of different colours.
Also launching is Gigabyte’s P45 series of motherboards which supports all the latest features that any typical P45 chipset motherboard would support. However, Gigabyte has done even more by adding very unique features not found anywhere else. The first of these features is 4 Gig-E ports on a single board — Gigabyte calls it "LAN Teaming." According to Gigabyte, the board will be able to allow users to have the 4 ports operate independently or bound together for a theoretical throughput of 4Gbit/sec. Applications for this type of use will require specialized routers that support this feature — we’re thinking a managed router. Typical off the shelf stuff won’t work here. Gigabyte’s GA-EP45-DQ6 will have the full 4Gbit/sec. 4-port Teaming support.
Gigabyte also introduced SmartBackup, an onboard RAID system that chooses which RAID modes to operate in depending on what kind of safety level a user wants. Depending on the security level chosen, the SmartBackup system will automatically choose between RAID 1, or 0. RAID level 5 and 10 are available but performance will be slightly sacrificed because they are only available in software. Two hardware RAID controllers are included and one software solution. Gigabyte claims its RAID solutions require far less CPU utilization than competing solutions.
Another unique feature to Gigabyte boards is its DualBIOS system, which uses a secondary BIOS chip to recover the primary chip in case of a catastrophic failure.
To ensure that the system is protected from breach, the new GA-EP45-DQ6 and GA-EP45-DS5 boards also include a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip to help encrypt data written to both the BIOS and the hard drive. If enabled, drives used on these boards will not be read on other platforms. Things should go well as long as you don’t forget your key.
The last board in Gigabyte’s new line-up is the GA-EP45-EXTREME. Usually we shun away from products that have the words "extreme," "hyper," in them but in this case, the new board is equipped with Gigabyte’s LAN Teaming technology. Users need to keep in mind here that the GA-EP45-EXTREME does not have the 4Gb/sec. LAN Teaming technology since the board is limited to 2 ports. The new board also has a massive cooling system that Gigabyte claims can achieve near water-cooling performance but without all the fuss.
On the AMD side, Gigabyte introduced the new GA-MA790GP-DS4H motherboard, featuring the 790GX chipset with integrated Radeon HD 3300. The HD 3300 supports DX10 and while its integrated, Gigabyte includes 128MB of DDR3 "SidePort" memory. Gigabyte claims the feature "enables extremely smooth video playback without affecting system performance." For the serious gamer, integrated graphics is just not suitable — no matter how good. The board does support Hybrid CrossFireX and CrossFireX for discrete graphics if need be.