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Gigabyte GA-945GM-S2 945G Express Core 2 Duo Motherboard Review

Gigabyte GA-945GM-S2 945G Express Core 2 Duo Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The Core 2 Duo compatible Intel 945G Express northbridge is ideal for cash-strapped consumers and not so great for AMD... as we'll see with the Gigabyte GA-945GM-S2 motherboard.
 73% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Gigabyte Oct 02 2006   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Gigabyte GA-945GM-S2

How Does 945G Express Handle Core 2 Duo?

Intel's Core 2 Duo processor is a powerful little chip, and it has certainly breathed new life into what was shaping up to be a pretty bad year for Intel... AMD had its 64-bit compatible dual core socket AM2 Athlon64 X2 processors out en mass, and the vintage aspects of the Intel Pentium D were certainly showing in the benchmarks. However what will really propel the Core 2 Duo into the limelight are inexpensive platforms based on the Intel 945 Express - the mainstream core logic branch of the Express series (945, 965, 975).

The Gigabyte GA-945GM-S2 motherboard PCSTATS tested today retails for about $115 CDN ($100 US, £55 GBP), making it a great multi-purpose platform for mainstream or value-oriented users. Built on the passively cooled Intel 945G Express and Intel ICH7 chipsets, the GA-945GM-S2 incorporates an onboard Intel GMA950 videocard and a concise (but not jaw-dropping) set of expansion options.

While we've seen that the Intel GMA950 integrated videocard fails miserably at current generation 3D games, it's more than adequate for 2D applications and desktop programs. If you have no interest in gaming and only intend on using your computer for work; surfing the 'net, email, Word and similar Windows XP/Vista based applications, the GMA950 is totally fine. If gaming comes into the cards a little further down the road, the GA-945GM-S2 does at least have a PCI Express x16 slot into which you can install a stand alone videocard that can tackle the processing load of a modern 3D game. Incidently, overclocking is not supported in any way on this motherboard.

The feature list for the Gigabyte GA-945GM-S2 motherboard is pretty compact and pretty basic; 7.1 channel audio, Gigabit networking, four SATA hard drive / one IDE hard drive support, and the onboard graphics we've already mentioned. Expansion comes care of a PCI Express x1 and PCI Express x16 slot, and two 32-bit PCI slots. With the ability to run up to 4GB of DDR2-667 memory, it's a good idea to install no less than at least 1GB for the GMA950 graphics will allocate up to 224MB to itself.

The Gigabyte GA-945GM-S2 is definitely a well paced mainstream motherboard when it comes to office oriented applications and productivity software (Word, Excel, etc.). Compared to P965 Express based motherboards in benchmarks like SYSMark2004 or Business Winstone 2004, the Gigabyte GA-945GM-S2 motherboard holds its own. Of course the Core 2 Duo processor has a lot to do with this, but the Intel 945G chispet still plays a key role. With a stand alone PCI Express x16 videocard installed, the GA-945GM-S2 becomes a satisfactory single-videocard gaming platform too.

If you're looking towards a computer upgrade and want a PC packing the Intel Core 2 Duo processor, the Gigabyte GA-945GM-S2 is an inexpensive mainstream motherboard well worth considering. It's moderately priced, great for office oriented applications, and expandable for good gaming performance which is always a nice, if not entirely necessary touch.

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Contents of Article: Gigabyte GA-945GM-S2
 Pg 1.  Gigabyte GA-945GM-S2 945G Express Core 2 Duo Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Intel 945G Express and ICH7 Chipsets
 Pg 3.  High Definition Content Playback: System Load Test
 Pg 4.  Gigabyte GA-945GM-S2 Motherboard Highlights Gallery
 Pg 5.  Overclocking and Test System Specs
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: Bapco Sysmark 2004
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: Business Winstone 2004
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra, Super PI
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: FutureMark PCMark05
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: FutureMark 3DMark05
 Pg 11.  Benchmarks: FutureMark 3DMark06, FarCry
 Pg 12.  Benchmarks: Doom 3, Quake 4
 Pg 13.  — How Does 945G Express Handle Core 2 Duo?

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