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Gigabyte's EP45-Extreme, M912 and More

By , Tuan Nguyen in Taipei - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 11 comments

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.

Gigabyte M912 Notebook

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.

Gigabyte EP45 Extreme

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.

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  • -2 Hide
    surt , June 5, 2008 8:10 AM
    Quote:
    ...the new board is equipped with Gigabyte’s LAN Teaming technology.

    Quote:
    Users need to keep in mind here that the GA-EP45-EXTREME does not have the LAN Teaming technology.
    What?
  • -1 Hide
    gxsolace , June 5, 2008 9:20 AM
    Uh surt notice the article talks about a series of boards? and just so happens that the EP45Extreme doesn't have it, but the others do. RTFA.
  • 0 Hide
    hawler , June 5, 2008 11:56 AM
    gxsolace,
    the problem is in the sentence before hey state the GA-EP45-EXTREME does not have LAN Teaming they say they are keeping their eye on the very same board because it HAS LAN teaming. I assume they meant to say the GA-EP45-DQ6 and GA-EP45-DS5 didn't have it while the extreme does
  • Display all 11 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    alantlchan , June 5, 2008 3:31 PM
    Someone above misunderstood the article.

    The original article does say
    "the new board is equipped with Gigabyte’s LAN Teaming technology"
    and
    "Users need to keep in mind here that the GA-EP45-EXTREME does not have the 4Gb/sec. LAN Teaming technology"
    but GA-EP45-EXTREME does have LAN teaming (but 2 ports only)

    Please refer to
    http://www.gigabyte.pl/news/231.html
    (English URL)
    and you can find "dual LAN with teaming functionality" in the board
  • 0 Hide
    alantlchan , June 5, 2008 3:38 PM
    Hawler,

    GA-EP45-DQ6, GA-EP45-DS5 and GA-EP45-EXTREME all have LAN Teaming

    GA-EP45-DQ6 has Quad port LAN teaming

    The following board of Gigabyte has dual port LAN teaming
    GA-EP45-EXTREME
    GA-EP45-DS5
    GA-EP45-DS4
    GA-EP45-DS4P
    GA-EP45-DS3
    GA-EP45-DS3R
    GA-EP45-DS3P

    More info:
    http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/products/motherboard/Default.aspx?CPUType=Socket%20775&ChipsetType=Intel%20P45&IsChked=N
  • 0 Hide
    alantlchan , June 5, 2008 3:47 PM
    More spec about Gigabyte P45 boards:

    http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/FileList/WebPage/mb_080516_des_advanced/data/tech_080516_des-a-models.htm

    TPM chip has not menioned in the above URL, but not very useful unless you use Vista BitLocker encryption which is in Vista Enterprise and Vista Ultimate only.
  • 0 Hide
    slyck , June 5, 2008 6:18 PM
    This "LAN teaming" isn't even worth arguing about. The next step after Gig-e should be 10Gig-e. This 4 port synchronization thing sounds ridiculous.
  • 0 Hide
    alantlchan , June 5, 2008 6:32 PM
    Agree with slyck, I think 2 port LAN teaming is good enough for most people

    For 10GbE (regardless teaming or not), we still need to wait until 10GbE cables, switch, plugs and etc... to become more popular and cheap enough
  • 0 Hide
    Joe_The_Dragon , June 5, 2008 11:40 PM
    4 ports in a non sever board that dose not have true hardware raid?
  • 0 Hide
    Karlsbad , June 7, 2008 8:08 PM
    How about getting these damned things in US stores already? They've been in the EU and Asia for weeks now, wtf!
  • 0 Hide
    alantlchan , June 9, 2008 5:24 AM
    KarlsbadHow about getting these damned things in US stores already? They've been in the EU and Asia for weeks now, wtf!


    Still not available in Hong Kong.