Let’s have a look on Gigabyte EP45C-DS3R, a mainstream socket LGA775 motherboard for Intel processors, targeted mainly to Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processors.

This motherboard is based on Intel P45 chipset, which replaced P35 on the mainstream market. Currently the high-end chipset for Intel socket LGA775 processors is X48, while for Core I7 Processors (Socket LGA1366), X58 chipset is the top-of-the-line chipset.

Although not "high-end", this board is equipped with several advanced features such as all Japanese solid aluminum capacitors, ferrite chokes, advanced power management, support front side bus (FSB) up to 1600 MHz (although P45 chipset supports, officially, only up to 1333 MHz) and support for both DDR2 or DDR3 memory modules. It also has some features that clearly differentiate it from value boards, like two Gigabit Ethernet ports, eSATA and RAID support, and others that we will see in detail in the next pages.

It is interesting to know why Gigabyte uses a complex naming system like "EP45C-DS3R" for their motherboards. What seems a complicated name chosen randomly is in fact an internal manufacturer code. The "E" means this board uses Gigabyte’s dynamic energy management architecture. Next, "P45", of course, is the chipset used on the board. The "C" means "combo", i.e., the motherboard is able to use both DDR2 and DDR3 memory (a "T" here means compatibility only with DDR3). After the hyphen, "D" means that all capacitors are solid. "S3" means "smart, save, speed". Other board models from this manufacturer use suffixes "S2" (smart, save) or "S4" (smart, save, speed, SLI). Finally, the "R" identifies this motherboard supports RAID. On some boards there is an "H" that means the presence of an HDMI video output.

 GA-EP45C-DS3RFigure 1: Box.

GA-EP45C-DS3RFigure 2: Gigabyte EP45C-DSR3 motherboard.

Rafael Otto Coelho is a physicist with a master's degree in Education, and is a college professor in Brazil.