The Gigabyte GA-945PL-S3
motherboard PCSTATS tested today retails for about $98 CDN ($80 US/£40 GBP), making it a
very inexpensive platform for mainstream and value-oriented users. Built on the
passively cooled Intel 945PL Express and Intel ICH7 chipsets, the GA-945PL-S3
has a basic feature set and a nice collection of expansion options. It's a good
no-frills kind of motherboard, and especially well suited for the upcoming
'Conroe-L' based Celeron processor which operates at a 800MHz Front Side Bus
The Intel 945PL chipset just bogged down the Core 2 Duo
down with its 800MHZ FSB limitation. Clearly, fast chips like to have enough
bandwidth, and running a nice quick Core 2 Duo 600MHz slower than its default
speed is counter productive.
When equipped with a good mid-level videocard the
Gigabyte GA-945PL-S3 is more than adequate for 2D applications and desktop
programs. If you primarily use your computer for work; surfing the 'net, sending
email, using Microsoft Office and similar Windows XP/Vista based applications it
will handle the tasks well enough. Game handling is good, but seriously capped
by the 945PL Express' 800MHz FSB limitation...
With the ability to run a maximum of 2GB of DDR2-533/400
memory, the GA-945PL-S3 is not exactly built for upgrading at a later date.
Install the full 2GB of memory the first time around, Windows Vista demands at
least this much.
All in all, PCSTATS found the Gigabyte GA-945PL-S3 to be a well paced mainstream
motherboard when it comes to office oriented applications and productivity
software. Compared to P965 Express based motherboards in benchmarks like
SYSMark2004 or Business Winstone 2004, the Gigabyte GA-945PL-S3 motherboard
stands up satisfactorily. It is certainly not as fast as boards based on the
P965 chipset, because the Core 2 Duo processor we used for testing natively runs
with a 1066MHz FSB, while the Intel 954PL can support no more than a 800MHz
front side bus.
That makes the Gigabyte GA-945PL-S3 an appropriate
budget board for mainstream applications, ideally with a Conroe-L Celeron
processor and not the Core 2 Duo. If cost is your primary concern, you'll find
the Gigabyte GA-945PL-S3 worth the low price tag.
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