Gigabyte G31M-ES2C is a value motheboard for Intel socket LGA775 processors based on Intel G31 chipset, which is today the simpliest chipset from Intel, supporting 45 nm CPUs, 1,333 MHz front side bus and 800 MHz memory modules in dual channel configuration. This motherboard, however, supports front side bus up to 1,600 MHz through overclocking.

Intel G31 chipset uses exactly the same graphics engine of Intel G33 chipset, called Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 3100. This graphics engine runs at 400 MHz and is DirectX 9.0 (Shader 2.0), has only two pixel shader units and no vertex shader units (this task is performed by the CPU). As you can see, the graphics engine from both G31 and G33 is outdated, using a technology from two generations ago.

The difference between G31 and G33 chipsets is on the additional features arena. G31 supports up to 4 GB of DDR2 memory and thus most of the motherboards based on this chipset have only two memory sockets. G33, on the other hand, supports up to 8 GB of memory of DDR2 or DDR3, but motherboards based on this chipset can have or not DDR3 support, depending on manufacturer’s choice. Another important difference between them is the south bridge chip. G31 chipset uses ICH7 southbridge, while G33 uses either ICH9 or ICH9R south bridge. ICH7 has eight USB 2.0 ports, 10/100 Mbps network interface and four SATA-300 ports, while ICH9 has 12 USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet interface and six SATA-300 ports, supporting RAID on ICH9R model.

A feature from this motherboard that is being promoted by Gigabyte is called "Easy Energy Saver", which, according do Gigabyte, adjusts CPU voltage according with its demands, reducing power waste when processor is idle.

 G31M-ES2CFigure 1: Box.

In general terms G31M-ES2C is an inexpensive and simple motherboard yet with some amazing detais, like the power saving feature we wrote above and others like Dual BIOS, which brings two independent BIOS chips. The second BIOS chip is a backup chip and comes to scene if the first one fails. So you can update the BIOS with no fear of losing your motherboard if something (as a power failure) occurs during the process.

G31M-ES2CFigure 2: Gigabyte G31M-ES2C.

Let’s take a closer look on Gigabyte G31M-ES2C features.

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