- DDR2 and DDR3 memory support, ran 45nm-based CPUs without any problems, eSATA, no unnecessary legacy ports, ran quickly with our 45nm-based CPU and DDR3 RAM
- We had to set our CPU speed manually, doesn't have FireWire facilities, ran slightly slow with our 65nm-based CPU and DDR2
For well under $200, this board is well worth considering. Its ability to run 45nm-based CPUs, as well as either DDR2 or DDR3 RAM modules, makes it versatile and, dare we say it, future-proof. It ships with a utility that aims to bring power consumption to the forefront of users' minds, but the major selling point is still the memory support.
Price$ 188.00 (AUD)
Buying a new motherboard for an Intel-based system can be tough, as there are so many options to choose from. But this particular Gigabyte model seems to have all bases covered thanks to its support for DDR2 and DDR3 memory modules, as well as 45nm-based CPUs, and it's well-under $200. Not only that, it also ships with a utility that will tell you how much power your board – or more accurately, your CPU – is consuming, and allow you to customise it in order to save power.
Dynamic Energy Saver is the interface that allows energy savings to be applied, which will affect the speed of the system due to CPU throttling, so it could be described as an underclocking utility. While it was enabled, it reduced the system's performance by about 26 per cent when converting WAV files to MP3s using iTunes. There are three user-selectable levels for throttling the CPU, but only very slight differences were noticed between them. The utility does tell you how much power the CPU is consuming, which is handy, and a meter keeps an accumulative count of the amount of power you've saved – we'd rather see an accumulation of how much we've used.
Physically, the board is a little different than others we've seen, particularly its rear port cluster. Legacy ports are almost completely gone (two PS/2 ports get a stay of execution), and there are eight USB 2.0 ports, along with a gigabit networking jack, and analogue and digital audio ports. Two more USB pin headers on the board accommodate connections to the front panel of a PC case, but we were disappointed not to find any FireWire facilities. It's not like the board is cramped for space; the eight SATA ports are neatly laid out and easy to access, while the PCI Express graphics slot is located a good way down from the memory modules, so you won't have to remove the graphics card to install more memory. An eSATA bracket is part of the package, and it requires the use of two internal SATA connections.
Only one full-sized PCI Express x16 slot is present on the board, so it won't support an ATI CrossFire configuration, but it does have three PCI Express x1 slots for devices such as sound cards, digital TV tuners and wireless networking.
When we setup the board, it didn't automatically detect the correct settings for our CPUs – it ran them slower than their default speeds, so we had to set the front-side bus speed manually. The good new is, it did run 65nm and 45nm CPUs without any problems.
Like the ASRock 4Core1600P35-WiFi+, this Gigabyte board uses the Intel P35 chipset and is capable of running either DDR2 or DDR3 memory modules. It can run a front side bus speed up to 1600MHz and different memory ratios can be set so that you can overclock your CPU without running your RAM too fast.
Using a 65nm-based Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 (3GHz) and 2GB of DDR2 RAM, the board recorded a score of 114 in WorldBench 6, which is about two points slower than we expected. In iTunes, it took 55sec to convert 53min worth of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3s, which is exactly what we expected.
With a 45nm-based Core 2 Extreme QX9650 (3GHz) and 2GB of DDR3 RAM, the board recorded 118 in WorldBench 6, which is a very good result and actually a little faster than we expected. Furthermore, its time of 46sec in iTunes makes it the Speedy Gonzales of MP3 encoding.
We observed mixed results when we overclocked the board – it ran fine at 3.6GHz, for a while, until we had problems booting up. It was a little happier at 3.4GHz, but we still experienced instability.
Although the idea behind this board is commendable, which is to clearly let people know how much power their CPU is consuming and let them reduce it, it could be implemented better. It would be nice if there was an accumulation of how much power was actually used, rather than how much was saved. Elsewhere, the board showed good speed with our QX9650 CPU, but was a little sluggish with our QX6850 CPU. We also wish it had FireWire, but that's only a minor blemish.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Google Daydream VR headset
Huawei Mate 9
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® Portable SSD
Acer Swift 7
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Surface Pro 4
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Intel Coffee Lake 8th-gen Core processors release date rumours
- Intel's mobile future is in blazing modems as it buries Atom failure
- PC prices will continue to go up due to shortage of components
- Radeon Vega vs. GeForce GTX 1080 Ti? AMD, Nvidia announce dueling events at GDC 2017
- Toshiba's in chaos, but not quitting PCs -- yet
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FT.net Developer (Front and Back end)QLD
- TPMaster SchedulerNSW
- FTSenior Business AnalystSA
- CCApplication Solution Designer (Automation) - Finance - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- TPAPS6/EL1 Database Modelling SpecialistACT
- FTSenior Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)ACT
- FTApplication Support SpecialistNSW
- CCMultiple System Engineers - Data Centre - TelcoVIC
- CCNetwork Engineer/ Network AdministratorQLD
- TPSenior Business AnalystVIC
- CCInfrastructure Business AnalystACT
- CCSolution Architect - VMwareVIC
- FTBusiness AnalystNSW
- CCCloud Security Solutions Architect - Finance - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- FTTechnical Business AnalystNSW
- TPImplementation Business Partner - Business ModernisationNSW
- CCCA ITCM / ITCA EngineerNSW
- TPAgile Project Manager. Sharepoint / PeoplesoftNSW
- FTMid-Level Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)NSW
- FTSenior Web DeveloperNSW
- CCSecurity Analyst - multiple rolesACT
- FTJunior ITIL Service AnalystVIC
- TPProject ManagerOther
- CCFinancial Business AnalystACT
- TPICT Contracts Compliance ManagerWA