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Epox EP-5P945 Pro Express Motherboard Review

Epox EP-5P945 Pro Express Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The Epox EP-5P945 Pro is a budget performance motherboard is an affordable Intel platform of complementary technologies for consumers on a budget.
 83% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Epox Jan 30 2007   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Epox EP-5P945 Pro

Intel 945P Express and ICH7 Chipsets

The Intel 945P Express chipset is Intel's latest mainstream performance chipset and it 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. FSB's supported include 1066, 800 and 533 MHz.

In this instance the 945P Express is paired with the venerable Intel ICH7 Southbridge, rather than the updated ICH8 core logic. The ICH7R brings RAID 0,1,5,10 into the fold, but the Epox EP-5P945 Pro motherboard does not use this chipset.

Given the intended markets this board is suited towards, RAID 1 would have been a really nice feature to put into operation. The extra measure of data redundancy a RAID 1 array brings to the table is hard to ignore, especially considering how affordable a decent pair of 250GB SATA hard drives is.

Intel kept DDR2 memory support steady at 667MHz with the 945P Express chipset (although the Epox EP-5P945 Pro unofficially has a 800 MHz memory multiplier), putting it at a slight disadvantage to AMD's Socket AM2 Athlon64 processors. Intel calls the new memory controller FMA or 'Fast Memory Access' and it gives the system a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 10.6GB/s with DDR2-667 memory.

The detailed feature breakdown for the Intel 945P chipset is noted below.

Intel 945-Series Chipset Feature Breakdown
Intel 945GT Express Intel 945G Express Intel 945GZ Express Intel 945P Express Intel 945PL Express
CPU m479-pin Core Duo, LGA775 Core 2 Duo LGA775 Core 2 Duo LGA775 Core 2 Duo LGA775 Core 2 Duo LGA775 Core 2 Duo
Front Side Bus (FSB) 667/533 MHz 1066/800/533 MHz 800/533 MHz 1066/800/533 MHz 800/533 MHz
Intel Flex Memory Technology Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dual Channel Memory Support DDR2 667/533/400 DDR2 667/533/400 DDR2 533/400 DDR2 667/533/400 DDR2 533/400
Maximum Memory Capacity 4GB 4GB 2GB 4GB 2GB
Integrated Graphics Gen 3.5 GMA 950 GMA 950 - -
PCI Express x16 1 1 - 1 1
PCI Express x1 4 4 4 4 4
Intel Matrix Storage Technology Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
SATA/IDE HDD 2/1 4/1 4/1 4/1 4/1
SATA Speed 1.5Gb/s 3Gb/s 3Gb/s 3Gb/s 3Gb/s
RAID - 0, 1, 5, 10 (with ICH7R) 0, 1, 5, 10 (with ICH7R) 0, 1, 5, 10 (with ICH7R) 0, 1, 5, 10 (with ICH7R)
Hard Drive NCQ Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
USB 2.0 Ports 8 8 8 8 8
PCI Masters 6 6 6 6 6
Audio High Definition Audio (Azalia) High Definition Audio (Azalia) High Definition Audio (Azalia) High Definition Audio (Azalia) High Definition Audio (Azalia)

The Intel 945P Express is a mainstream chipset, and thus only supports a single PCI Express x16 graphics card. The Epox EP-5P945 Pro does have a second physical PCI Express x16 slot, but that operates at PCI Express x4 speeds and is using the Southbridge PCI Express lanes. The ICH7 southbridge includes an additional four PCI Express lanes which are typically divvied up between PCI Express x1 slots and Gigabit network adaptors. The ICH7R southbridge would add an additional two PCI Express x1 devices, for a total of six, if it was used here.

A dedicated 2GB/s I/O bus connects the Intel 945P 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 Epox EP-5P945 Pro 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. It's important to note that Epox uses a 5.1 channel non Azalia audio solution for the EP-5P945 Pro.

Noticeably lacking from the Intel 945P Express and ICH7 chipsets are the standard allotment of two parallel IDE channels. The ICH7 support one alone, regrettably. Gone are the days of two UDMA ATA100 IDE connectors per motherboard as a stock option, instead Intel has curtailed support to a single IDE channel (supporting two IDE devices) which is really only good for optical drives. In response to this standalone IDE controllers have made it onto some motherboards, though generally only the enthusiast oriented ones. Like you, 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.

Next up, we take a tour of the Epox EP-5P945 Pro motherboard's highlights.

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Contents of Article: Epox EP-5P945 Pro
 Pg 1.  Epox EP-5P945 Pro Express Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  — Intel 945P Express and ICH7 Chipsets
 Pg 3.  Epox EP-5P945 Pro Motherboard Highlights Gallery
 Pg 4.  Overclocking a 945P Board with Conroe
 Pg 5.  System Specs and Sysmark 2004 Benchmarks
 Pg 6.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Winstone 2004, Sandra 2006
 Pg 7.  Motherboard Benchmarks: SuperPi, PCMark05
 Pg 8.  Motherboard Benchmarks: 3DMark05, 3DMark06
 Pg 9.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Farcry, Doom3, Quake 4
 Pg 10.  Intel 945P Express Good for Core 2 Duo?

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