Gigabyte GA-8I945GMH-RH is the first motherboard released on the market targeted exclusively to Intel’s digital home concept, now called ViiV. It uses Intel 945G chipset, which is based on the new GMA 950 graphics engine by Intel. In this review we will see how is the performance of Intel GMA 950 compared to its main competitor, Radeon Xpress 200, and also how it compares to entry-level video cards. Check it out.

If you want to learn more about ViiV technology, read our article on this subject.

This motherboard supports 533-, 800- and 1,066 MHz external bus, accepting Pentium 4 CPUs from 5xx, 6xx and EE series; Pentium D CPUs from 8xx and 9×0 series; and Celeron D CPUs.

The main difference between Intel GMA 950 graphics engine used by this motherboard from Gigabyte and Intel GMA 900 graphics engine used by motherboards based on Intel 915G chipset is its clock rate, which was increased from 333 MHz to 400 MHz, and the native support for Windows Vista – which is not good on GMA 900 (Intel 915G).

Gigabyte GA-8I945GMH-RH Figure 1: Gigabyte GA-8I945GMH-RH motherboard.

GA-8I945GMH-RH aspect is very shy and follows the visual identity from other Gigabyte motherboards. The board is blue with yellow and red memory sockets, differentiating the memory channels. Intel 945G chipset is cooled down by a big golden aluminum passive heatsink (i.e., it doesn’t use a cooler). The Intel ICH7-DH south bridge is also cooled by a passive heatsink – by the way, it heated a lot during our tests.

Gigabyte GA-8I945GMH-RH Figure 2: Passive heatsinks used on Intel 945G north bridge and ICH7-DH south bridge.

Tha manufacturing quality of this motherboard is really good and all electrolytic capacitors used are from Japanese manufacturers – Rubycon, Sanyo and Chemicon –, which ensure a better stability and greater lifespan.

GA-8I945GMH-RH has four DDR2-DIMM sockets, accepting up to 4 GB of DDR2-400, 533 or 667 under dual channel configuration. Gigabyte used yellow sockets on sockets 1 and 3 and red sockets on sockets 2 and 4. Install the memory modules on sockets with the same color and you will be using dual channel configuration.

Gigabyte GA-8I945GMH-RH Figure 3: Memory sockets detail.

Daniel Barros lives in Brazil and used to be our motherboard reviewer. He is a partner at a local PC sales and maintenance store.