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Gigabyte GA-945PL-S3 945PL Express Motherboard Review

Gigabyte GA-945PL-S3 945PL Express Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The Gigabyte GA-945PL-S3 motherboard is an affordable Intel platform of complementary technologies for consumers on a budget. Best suited to the upcoming Conroe-L Celeron processor.
 77% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Gigabyte Nov 30 2006   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Gigabyte GA-945PL-S3

Intel 945PL Express and ICH7 Chipsets

The Intel 945PL Express chipset is a mainstream offering that supports every Socket 775 processor on the market from the Intel Pentium 4/D/XE, Celeron D right on through to the Intel Core 2 Duo.

The caveat being it only supports these CPUs on an 800MHz or 533MHz front side bus.

The Intel 945PL Express is Intel's second most mainstream chipset that supports the Intel Core 2 Duo (the other is the 945GZ Express).

Intel 945-Series Chipset Feature Breakdown
Intel 945PL Express
CPU LGA775 Core 2 Duo
Front Side Bus (FSB) 800/533 MHz
Intel Flex Memory Technology Yes
Dual Channel Memory Support DDR2 533/400
Maximum Memory Capacity 2GB
Integrated Graphics -
PCI Express x16 1
PCI Express x1 4
Intel Matrix Storage Technology Yes
SATA Speed 3Gb/s
RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 (with ICH7R)
Hard Drive NCQ Yes
USB 2.0 Ports 8
PCI Masters 6
Audio High Definition Audio (Azalia)

While a full-fledged Core 2 Duo motherboard supports 1066MHz FSB's and DDR2-667 memory, the 945PL Express chipset accomodates up to DDR2-400/533 memory, which put it at a slight disadvantage compared to other models in the 945 Express family.

The 945PL is likely to find a warm reception with the new family of Intel Celeron "Conroe-L" processors, which will operate at 800MHz FSB when they are introduced. On the motherboard PCSTATS is testing today, the 945PL Express is paired with the venerable Intel ICH7 Southbridge. The detailed feature breakdown for the Intel 945PL chipset is noted below.

The Intel 945PL Express supports one PCI Express x16 graphics card, while the ICH7 southbridge has four additional PCI Express lanes which are typically divvied up between PCI Express x1 slots and Gigabit network adaptor.

A dedicated 2GB/s I/O bus connects the Intel 945PL Express Northbridge and ICH7 Southbridge together, which might be a little tight if you have many high bandwidth devices installed but should be just fine for the average user.

The Gigabyte GA-945PL-S3 motherboard comes installed with the ICH7 Southbridge which includes all the necessary goodies, though in slightly smaller quantities than the ICH8 supports. There are four 3GB/s Serial ATA II channels as well a 7.1-channel Intel Azalia High Definition audio codec, eight USB 2.0 ports (split between the rear I/O and headers), 4 PCI Express x1 lanes and six PCI bus masters.

Noticeably lacking from the Intel 945PL Express and ICH7 chipsets are the standard allotment of two parallel IDE channels. The ICH7 supports one IDE channel alone, regrettably. Gone are the days of two UDMA ATA100 IDE connectors per motherboard as a stock option; we're still not ready to give up on our collection of IDE hard drives just yet, but we aren't buying any new ones either. The 945PL Express chipset supports up to 2GB of dual channel DDR2-400/533, and that's about it.

Next up, we take a tour of the Gigabyte GA-945PL-S3 motherboard's highlights.

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Contents of Article: Gigabyte GA-945PL-S3
 Pg 1.  Gigabyte GA-945PL-S3 945PL Express Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  — Intel 945PL Express and ICH7 Chipsets
 Pg 3.  Gigabyte GA-945PL-S3 Motherboard Highlights Gallery
 Pg 4.  Overclocking a 945PL Board with Conroe
 Pg 5.  Test System Specs and Sysmark 2004 Benchmarks
 Pg 6.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Office Productivity, SiSoft Sandra
 Pg 7.  Motherboard Benchmarks: SuperPi, PCMark05
 Pg 8.  Motherboard Benchmarks: 3DMark05, 3DMark06
 Pg 9.  Motherboard Benchmarks: FarCry, Doom 3, Quake 4
 Pg 10.  Intel 945PL Express Good for Core 2 Duo?

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   12 / 08 / 2019 | 11:38PM
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