Gigabyte's GA-X48-DS5 motherboard has a wealth
of features to salivate over - 32 lanes of PCI Express 2.0 connectivity, dual
storage controllers that support RAID 0/1/5/10 as well as on-board IEEE 1394 and
eSATA. The board retails for around $275CDN ($225 USD, 150 GBP), a price point
that is the other defining feature of the
upper-end enthusiast motherboard market.
Gigabyte's take on the Intel X48 chipset achieved good
overclocking speeds on the PCSTATS test bed. An overclocked speed of 525MHz
isn't bad though, and the array of tweaking variables and fine tuning for
overclockers will certainly let users squeeze every last drop of performance out
of their hardware.
The performance of the GA-X48-DS5 motherboard was
also above-average, particularly in terms of hard drive and processor
performance. What's even more impressive is that this motherboard is still using
inexpensive DDR2 memory, which means that it's relatively easy to max out the
8GB memory limit without breaking the bank (in a 64-bit OS).
One of the more unique technologies at play here is Gigabyte's Dynamic Energy
Saver (DES) Advance. When activated, it yields a modicum of power thriftiness to
lessen your electrical footprint, and over the course of an entire year lower
power bills. Motherboards with power saving features should be standard. If
every computer on the planet had an energy efficient A-PFC
power supply, motherboard and low power processor, the impact of computers
would certainly be reduced.
As it stands, in PCSTATS tests the Gigabyte GA-X48-DS5 motherboard and its
DES technology was good for shaving off 3W of power use under heavy processor
load, 9W while idle. Still, technologies like Gigabyte's DES, and ASUS' EPU are
a step in the right direction and PCSTATS actively encourages all motherboard
makers to develop this further.
Gigabyte's GA-X48-DS5 has emerged as a worth competitor to the MSI X48
Platinum, as well as establishing itself as a notable improvement to the P45
Express chipset. The extra PCI Express bandwidth give it a lot more headroom for
future upgrades, which add to this motherboard's long-term value. For those who
are looking to own one of the most fully-featured and fastest socket 775
motherboards, the Gigabyte GA-X48-DS5 is certainly a contender you should
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