When it comes to building inexpensive, efficient, no-nonsense computer
systems for the business world, Intel has long been the IT industry's first
While some of the credit for this has to go Intel's extensive line
of desktop processors, a large part of Intel's popularity in the
computer industry is due to the excellent reputation of its integrated
Intel's DG45ID motherboard is designed to fulfill
a few different roles. Since it's based on Intel's G45 Express chipset, it's
already got some street credit for having rock-solid stability and high
production values, a must in office and corporate environments.
also been a little more playful lately, and have upgraded the on-board graphics
capabilities of the DG45ID as well. Intel's updated GMA X4500HD
graphics now supports high-definition video acceleration, as
well as better 2D and 3D graphics support and an HDMI output capable of carrying
video and audio.
Of course, upgraded graphics are only half the story. The Intel DG45ID motherboard
supports all socket 775 Intel processors, including the recent 45nm variants,
running on a 800/1066/1333/1600MHz front side bus.
The four DDR2 memory slots
support a maximum of 8GB 667/800 RAM in 64-bit versions of Windows.
Despite being an mATX board, there's a fair amount of room for plugging
things into the Intel DG45ID motherboard. Care of Intel's ICH10R southbridge, there
are six SATA II ports capable of RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10, as well as an eSATA port
for external storage. Intel's southbridge doesn't support legacy IDE
controllers, so older hard drives and optical drives aren't supported on the
Expansion slots come in the form of a single PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot, a pair
of PCI Express x1 slots, and a single legacy PCI slot for older peripherals.
Intel has also included connectivity for the more popular standards on the I/O
panel: there are six USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, DVI, HDMI, Firewire,
eSATA, S/PDIF and 8-channel stereo output. Six more USB ports can be added
thanks to headers at mid-board, with the use of an optional bracket.
The Intel DG45ID motherboard can be found on retail shelves for around $125 CDN, ($110
USD, £70 GBP), which makes it just about average for an integrated graphics
motherboard with a comparable feature set. Naturally PCSTATS will be
putting this motherboard through its paces as both a home theatre box and as the
base of an office/productivity system.
Before we get to benchmarking though, let's take a closer look at what makes
this motherboard tick...
Graphics Onboard the Intel G45 Express
The Intel G45 Express Chipset is a combination
of Intel's popular P45 Express chipset paired with its Graphics Media
Accelerator X4500HD integrated graphics processor, and unlike some Intel's
earlier integrated chipset designs, compromises very little to accommodate its
The GMA X4500HD graphics processor contained
within the G45 Express chipset, like the rest of the G45 platform, isn't a
radical departure from the GMA X3500 that was introduced with the G35 Express.
Astute readers may have noticed the eponymous 'HD' suffix that the newer chipset
has acquired, and the reason its there is to herald the addition of Blu-ray and
1080p content playback with hardware acceleration, a first for Intel chipsets.
Intel's Clear Video has become the focus of
the GMA X4500HD, with the goal of using the integrated graphics to do full
hardware decoding for major video codecs. The massively parallel
microarchitecture of a GPU makes it much more efficient at processing and
decoding video than can be managed with even cutting-edge CPU designs, so as
resolutions and bit rates for high-definition video climb upwards it becomes
increasingly important for the GPU to shoulder more of the video processing
For the GMA X4500HD, this means that H.264,
VC-1 and MPEG-2 can all be fully decoded using the on-board hardware, with only
minor CPU overhead. The GMA X4500HD is DirectX 10 and Shader Model 4 compliant,
and supports Display Port interface at resolutions up to 2560x1600 (motherboard
manufacturer implementations vary).
We'll continue our look at the high definition video output
capabilities of the Intel G45 Express chipset next, right after the jump...