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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

Overclocking a 945PL Board with Conroe

Overclocking Results:
Stock Max. OC
Motherboard Speed: 200 MHz

255 MHz

If you're new to Overclocking and not sure what to do, check out these two excellent Guides for some pointers:
Overclocking the CPU and Memory
Overclocking the Videocard
The Gigabyte GA-945PL-S3 motherboard looks like a very interesting alternative for anyone who is on a very tight budget. The Intel 945PL chipset only supports upto a 200 MHz Bus (800MHz FSB) and DDR2-533 memory, but Gigabyte give the GA-945PL-S3 FSB options up to 600 MHz FSB. The memory controller has the numbers to suggest it is capable of running memory in DDR2-800 mode!

With an Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 processor and a set of Corsair Twin2X20048-6400C4 memory installed, PCSTATS had some high hopes in terms of overclocking. Starting at the 200 MHz bus speed, the frequency was slowly increased 5 MHz at a time. The GA-945PL-S3 hit a speed bump almost right away at 225 MHz, and for this FSB voltage had to be increased by 0.2V to stabilize it. Not a good sign of things to come, but we soldiered on anyway.

The Gigabyte GA-945PL-S3 motherboard stumbled again at 245 MHz, and the FSB voltage had to be increased by 0.3V. That was about as far as things went, the system immediately maxed out at 255 MHz; just shy of the Intel Core 2 Duo's standard operating bus speed of 266 MHz.

Out of curiosity, the Gigabyte GA-945PL-S3 motherboard was next configured to see if it could actually run its memory at DDR2-800 levels. The speeds were set, the BIOS saved, and the system rebooted... but no dice. The GA-945PL-S3 would not POST with the memory set to DDR2-800, no matter the voltage or memory timings. Oh well, the Intel 945PL technically doesn't support that speed anyway so no big loss.

BIOS Options and Tweaks:

At first glance the Gigabyte GA-945PL-S3 motherboard lacks a BIOS chiip - at least one that resembles the familiar standard square CMOS Plastic Leaded Chip Carrier (PLCC) package.

Just above the lone IDE socket, next to the SATA power connectors is a Macronix 4Mbit SPI Serial Flash chip. This is an 8 lead surface mounted chip of about 3mm square, in a SOIC package. The tiny BIOS chip occupies hardly any board space, and is not removable. On it is loaded an Award BIOS, which we'll dive into next and see if there are any interesting tweaking features in the mainstream Gigabyte GA-945PL-S3 motherboard.

To access the memory timing options, you must first press 'CTRL + F1' at the main menu. In the 'MB Intelligent Tweaker' section you have CPU clock multiplier options as well as the ability adjust the motherboard FSB from 100-600 MHz in 1 MHz increments.

The System Memory Multiplier allow for adjustments up to DDR2-800, however anything above DDR2-533 didn't work. It should be noted that the Intel 945PL chipset supports up to 800 MHz FSB only. Memory voltage goes as high as 0.6V above stock, PCI Express voltage to 0.3V above stock and CPU voltage to 0.5125V above stock values.

There are only the basic memory timing adjustments from CAS latency, RAS to CAS and RAS Precharge. Up next, benchmarks on this 'Conroe' Intel Core 2 Duo powered 945PL Express based motherboard.

Prelude to Benchmarks

The details of how the Gigabyte GA-945PL-S3 motherboard test system was configured for benchmarking, including the specific hardware, software drivers, operating system and benchmark versions are indicated below. In the second column are the general specs for the reference platforms this Intel 945PL Express based system is to be compared against. Please take a moment to look over PCSTATS test system configurations before moving on to the individual benchmark results.

For the purposes of this review, PCSTATS will be testing the GA-945PL-S3 motherboard with a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 processor. However, because the Intel 945PL Express chipset runs at most with an 800MHz FSB, the E6600 processor will be running at 1.8GHz instead of its native 2.4GHz (on a 1066MHz FSB). Please note this as you look over the benchmark results.

PCSTATS Test System Configurations
Test System Reference System #1 Reference System #2 Reference System #3
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (775) AMD Athlon64 X2 5000+ (AM2)

Intel Pentium D 840 (775)

Clock Speed: 9 x 200 MHz = 1.8 GHz 9 x 266 MHz = 2.4 GHz 13 x 200 MHz = 2.6 GHz

16 x 200 MHz = 3.2 GHz

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA945PL-S3 (945 PL)

Foxconn 975X7AB-8EKRS2H (975X)
Asus P5B (P965 Express)
Biostar TForce P965 DLX (P965 Express)
Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 (P965 Express)
Foxconn P9657AA-8KS2H (P965 Express)
Gigabyte GA-945GM-S2 (945G)
Epox 5P945 Pro (945P)
Gigabyte GA-8I945GZME-RH (945GZ)

ASRock AM2V890-VSTA (VIA K8T890)
Albatron KM51PV-AM2 (GF6150)
MSI K9N SLI Platinum (NF 570 SLI)

Foxconn 975X7AA-8EKRS2H (975X)
Foxconn 955X7AA-8EKRS2 (955X)
Foxconn 945P7AA-8EKRS2 (945P)
MSI P4N Diamond (NF4 SLI)
Biostar TForce P965 DLX(P965)

Videocard: MSI NX7800GTX-VT2D256E

2x 1024MB Corsair Twin2X2048-6400C4

Hard Drive: 74GB Western Digital Raptor WD740
CDROM: AOpen Combo 52x
PowerSupply: PC Power & Cooling TurboCool 510 SLI
Heatsink: Intel EE6600 Refernece AMD Athlon64 FX-62 Refernece Thermaltake Jungle 512
Software Setup:

Microsoft WindowsXP SP2
Intel INF 7.22
nVIDIA Forceware 91.47

Microsoft WindowsXP SP2
nVIDIA Forceware 9.35
nVIDIA Forceware 91.47

Microsoft WindowsXP SP2
Intel INF 7.22
nVIDIA Forceware 7.22
nVIDIA Forceware 91.47


SYSMark 2004
Business Winstone 2004
Content Creation 2004
Super Pi
SiSoft Sandra 2005
Doom 3

Quake 4

< Previous Page © 2019 PCSTATS.com Next Page >


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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