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Power And Heat

X48 Motherboard Comparison

Gigabyte would like us to remind readers that its Dynamic Energy Saver software goes a step further in bringing down the power consumption levels of its most recent motherboards. It does this by disabling phases of its voltage regulator while the CPU is in reduced-power states. We've already seen third-party applications that also claim to save additional power, but we have not yet selected a "gold standard" of software to use as a basis of comparison for the Gigabyte feature. Thus, Gigabyte will be treated just like everyone else this time around, using only the Intel EIST BIOS setting to regulate power consumption.

The P5E3 Deluxe leads the P5E3 Premium in power conservation using only the basic settings, but the Gigabyte GA-X48T-DQ6 isn't far behind. Remember that Gigabyte uses a 12-phase voltage regulator compared to Asus' 8-phase design, and that while additional regulators help to assure smooth power under high loads, they also consume more energy.

We wanted to measure how hot the voltage regulator transistors became, but doing so without removing the sinks is impossible. Instead, we inserted a temperature probe between the rear bank of inductors and the rear bank of transistors to check the heat levels immediately adjacent to the transistors themselves.

Both of Gigabyte's X48 motherboards are top contenders in the area of VRM heat management, but the DDR2-supporting GA-X48-DQ6 leads its DDR3 sibling. This might appear odd - since the GA-X48-DQ6 placed dead last in power consumption - but the extra power was likely being delivered to the less-efficient DDR2 memory modules.

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