Intel P45 & G45 Launch

Author: William Henning
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/p45_launch/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

Editor's Note: This launch preview of this chipset was done using BIOS Revision 0302 of the Asus P5Q Deluxe. Asus has informed us after our publication time that the current BIOS revision 0506 and that this newer BIOS, which was ready last week but waslost in the mail, would have addressed some of the concerns that we wrote about here.  We will be updating this launch preview with a more thorough review including overclocking on the newer BIOS soon!

Editor's Note 2: After trying two newer BIOSes, and extensive benchmarking, we have updated all of our benchmark result pages, the overclocking section and the conclusion. We left the original charts and discourse in the article so you could see what a difference a BIOS upgrade (or two) can make.

Just over a year ago, on May 21st 2007, Bearlake (P35/G33) was launched - and it was good.

This year, Intel launched the X48 before launching the P45/G45, and it was good - turning in some killer DDR3 performance, and just generally being a kick ass chipset.

It makes me wonder - how will the transition from P35 to P45 compare?

Frankly, I suspect that there will be little difference between the P35 and P45 - however the difference of the integrated graphics of the P45 may be appreciable.

We have received two P45 based motherboards for review, unfortunately our publishing schedule did not allow us to complete those reviews yet... but don't worry, we will have some selected benchmark results for you in this article, and will later follow up with full reviews of the boards. At this time we do not have any G45 based motherboards, but we will take a look at them in the near future.

So, what exactly is new in these chipsets? Let's take a look.

 

G45 vs. the G35

By looking at Intel's literature, the only differences between the G35 and G45 are:

Here is a slide of the G35, and the closeup of the G45 diagram follows it:

And here are the slides that Intel sent us on the G45:

As you can clearly see, the G45 is just a refresh of the G35; with the only significant differences being the PCIe 2.0 support and updating the IGP - and frankly, for low/mid range systems like the ones the G45 will be used in, the value provided by DDR3 and PCIe 2.0 support is questionable.

P45 vs. P35

By looking at Intel's literature, the only differences between the G35 and G45 are:

Thats it folks, thats all the difference!

Here is a slide of the P35, and the closeup of the P45 diagram follows it:

And here are the slides that Intel sent us on the P45:

The P45 is just a refresh of the P35; with the only differences being the PCIe 2.0 support and ICHR10/ICHR10R.

I'd love to get excited about a new chipset - and believe me, I would - if there were any revolutionary features.

 

The Asus P5Q Deluxe

The P5Q Deluxe looks like a nice board, and it seems to be packed with features - but to read all about it, you will have to wait for our upcoming review, as we had a limited ammount of time to work with the board before publishing this P45 article.

My initial impressions are positive overall; however, I was a bit dissapointed with its overclockability with a Core 2 Duo E6400. I will see how far it can overclock with an E8500 in the full review.

Specifications

CPU
LGA775 socket for Intel® Core™2 Extreme/Core™2 Quad/Core™2 Duo/Pentium® dual-core/Celeron® dual-core/Celeron® processors
Compatible with Intel® 05B/05A/06 processors
Supports Intel® 45nm multi-core CPU
Chipset
Intel P45/ICH10R with Intel® Fast Memory Access(FMA) support
Front Side Bus
1600/1333/1066/800 MHz
Memory
4 x DIMM, max. 16GB, DDR2 1200/1066/800/667MHz, non-ECC, un-buffered memory
Dual channel memory architecture
*Refer to www.asus.com or user manual for the Memory QVL(Qualified Vendors Lists)
**When installing total memory of 4GB capacity or more, Windows® 32-bit operation system may only recognize less than 3GB. Hence, a total installed memory of less than 3GB is recommended
Expansion Slots
2 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots, support ATI CrossFireX™ technology, at x8 link
(PCIe x16_1 blue, PCIe x16_2 black*)
1 x PCI Express x16 slot at max. x4 link(black)
2 x PCI Express x1 slots
2 x PCI slots
*PCI Express x16_2 slot (black at max. x8 link)
CrossFire
Support ATI CrossFireX™ technology, up to Quad CrossFireX
Storage
Southbridge
- 6 x SATA 3Gb/s
- Intel® Matrix Storage Technology with RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 support
Marvell 88SE6121
- 1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 for up to 2 PATA devices
- 1 x External SATA 3Gb/s port (SATA On-the-Go)
Silicon Image Sil5723 (Drive Xpert technology)
- 2 x SATA 3Gb/s
- Supports EZ Backup and Super Speed functions
LAN
Dual Gigabit LAN controllers
Marvell 88E8056/88E8001® Gigabit LAN controller featuring AI NET2, Teaming and Redundant
Audio
ADI® AD2000B 8-channel High Definition Audio CODEC
- Support Jack-Detection, Multi-Streaming, and Front Panel Jack-Retasking
- Coaxial/Optical S/PDIF out ports at back I/O
- ASUS Noise-Filtering
IEEE 1394
LSI®L-FW3227 controller supports 2 x IEEE 1394a ports(one at mid-board; one at back panel)
USB
Max. 12 USB2.0/1.1 ports(6 ports at mid-board; 6 ports at back panel)
ASUS AI Lifestyle Features
ASUS Exclusive Features:
- ASUS 8-Phase Power Design
- Express Gate
ASUS Power Saving Solutions:
- ASUS EPU-6 Engine
- ASUS AI Nap
ASUS Quiet Thermal Solutions:
- ASUS Fanless Design: Heat-pipe solution
- ASUS Fanless Design: Stack Cool 2
- ASUS Fan Xpert
ASUS Crystal Sound:
- AI Audio 2
- ASUS Noise Filtering
ASUS EZ DIY:
- ASUS Drive Xpert
- ASUS DieHard BIOS
- ASUS Q-Shield
- ASUS Q-Connector
- AI Direct Link
- ASUS O.C. Profile
- ASUS EZ Flash 2
- Onboard Switch
Overclocking Features
ASUS AI Booster
Precision Tweaker 2:
- vCore: Adjustable CPU voltage at 0.00625V increment
- vDIMM: 64-step DRAM voltage control
- vChipset (NB): 55-step DRAM voltage control
- vCPUPLL: 64-step reference voltage control
- vFSB Termination: 40-step voltage control
SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection)
- FSB tuning from 200MHz up to 800MHz at 1MHz increment
- PCI Express frequency tuning from 100MHz up to 180MHz at 1MHz increment
Overclocking Protection:
- ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
Special Features
ASUS MyLogo 3
Back Panel I/O Ports
1 x PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse combo port
1 x Optical + 1 x Coaxial S/PDIF Output port
1 x External SATA port
1 x IEEE1394a port
2 x LAN (RJ45) ports
6 x USB 2.0/1.1 port
8-channel Audio I/O ports
Internal I/O Connectors
3 x USB connectors support additional 6 USB ports
1 x Floppy disk drive connector
1 x IDE connector
1 x COM connector
1 x TPM connector
6 x SATA connectors (red)
2 x Drive Xpert SATA connectors (orange)
1 x CPU Fan connector
3 x Chassis Fan connector
1 x Power Fan connector
1 x IEEE1394a connector
Front panel audio connector
1 x S/PDIF Out Header
Chassis Intrusion connector
CD audio in
24-pin ATX Power connector
8-pin ATX 12V Power connector
Power on Switch
Reset Switch
System Panel (Q-Connector)
BIOS
16Mb AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.4
Manageability
WOL by PME, WOR by PME, WOR by Ring, Chasis Intrusion, PXE
Accessories
1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
1 x FDD cable
6 x Serial ATA cable
1 x 2-port Serial ATA power cable
1 x 2-port USB and 1-port 1394 (4-pin) module
1 x Q-Shield
1 x User's manual
1 x 3 in 1 Q-connector (Retail version only)
Support Disc
Drivers
Express Gate
ASUS PC Probe II
ASUS Update
ASUS AI Suite
Anti-virus software (OEM version)
Image-Editing Suite
Form Factor
ATX Form Factor, 12"x 9.6" (30.5cm x 24.4cm)

Test Setup & Benchmarks Used

Test Setup 

Hardware for testing of the Gigabyte P35-DS3R:

The Gigabyte 6-Quad N680SLI-DQ6  will be duking it out with several other Core 2-compatible motherboards:

Benchmarks Used

For now, here is a listing of the tests performed:

Video drivers used were the NVIDIA ForceWare version 91.49 package. 

Now we can finally go over the results of our testing!

 

Business Winstone

With a 1066MHz FSB the P45 based Asus P5Q Deluxe got an impressive 2 point lead on the P35 based Gigabyte P35-DS3R, and a 2.6 point lead with a 1333MHz FSB!

After updating the BIOS, the P45 has an even clearer lead for Business Winstone.

Content Creation

Unlike in Business Winstone, the P35 got a small lead over the P45 for the Content Creation benchmark.

After updating the BIOS, the performance is basically the same (within experimental error).

WinRAR

Unfortunately the WinRAR results are not comparable as different versions of the single threaded WinRAR were used, so this chart does not really give us any information except the increase in speed on the same chipset with different FSB and processor speeds.

With the new BIOSes:

HDTach

Ok, no contest here. The P45 based Asus P5Q Deluxe with the ICHR10 Southbridge SLAUGHTERS the P35 based Gigabyte P35-DS3R for burst rates, however the sustained read rate is only slightly better.

Dominatation with the new BIOSes:

 

Lame MP3

The P45 based Asus P5Q Deluxe is slightly slower than the P35 based Gigabyte P35-DS3R with a 1066MHz FSB, and slightly faster with a 1333MHz FSB for LAME.

and with the new BIOSes:

TMPGEnc

The P45 based Asus P5Q Deluxe is slightly faster than the P35 based Gigabyte P35-DS3R with a 1066MHz FSB, and slightly slower with a 1333MHz FSB for TMPGEnc.

And with the new BIOSes:

Call of Duty

The P45 based Asus P5Q Deluxe is slightly faster than the P35 based Gigabyte P35-DS3R with both 1066MHz and 1333MHz FSB for Call of Duty

and with the new BIOSes:

Commanche 4

The P45 based Asus P5Q Deluxe is noticably slower than the P35 based Gigabyte P35-DS3R for both 1066MHz and 1333MHz FSB Comanche.

And with the new BIOSes, the difference is even more pronounced with a 500MHz FSB (2000MHz data rate).

 

Doom 3

For Doom 3he P45 based Asus P5Q Deluxe is 6fps faster than the P35 based Gigabyte P35-DS3R with a 1066MHz FSB; unfortunately it looks like we don't have a 1333MHz P35 result from the P35-DS3R.

and with the new BIOSes:

Quake 4

Unfortunately the P45 based Asus P5Q Deluxe is significantly slower than the P35 based Gigabyte P35-DS3R with 1066MHz for Quake 4.

And with the new BIOSes:

Halo

Once again, the P45 based Asus P5Q Deluxe is noticably slower than the P35 based Gigabyte P35-DS3R

and with the new BIOSes:

Jedi Knight

Almost surprisingly the P45 is slightly faster than the P35 for Jedi Knight

and with the new BIOSes:

 

UT2K4

But the P45 quickly falls back to being slower than the P35 with UT4K

and with the new BIOSes:

RightMark Read

The P45 based Asus P5Q Deluxe is slightly faster than the P35 based Gigabyte P35-DS3R with both 1066MHz and 1333MHz FSB for memory reads.

And with the new BIOSes, the P45 beats the P35 at 1066MHz & 1333MHz FSB, but loses slightly at 2000MHz FSB.

RightMark Write

The P45 based Asus P5Q Deluxe is slightly faster than the P35 based Gigabyte P35-DS3R with a 1333MHz FSB, and slightly slower with a 1066MHz FSB for memory writes.

And with the new BIOSes, the P45 is slightly faster at all of the tested speeds.

RightMark Bandwidth

The P45 based Asus P5Q Deluxe is faster than the P35 based Gigabyte P35-DS3R with both 1066MHz and 1333MHz FSB for overall memory bandwidth.

and with the new BIOSes, the P45 has the best bandwidth here.

RightMark Latency

The P45 has better latency at 1333MHz, and the P35 has better latency at 1066MHz.

And with the new BIOSes, again the P45 does best here.

Sandra CPU

The P45 based Asus P5Q Deluxe is inexplicably slower than the P35 based Gigabyte P35-DS3R with both 1066MHz and 1333MHz FSB for Sandra CPU - however it is possible that slightly different versions of Sandra may have been used.

And with the new BIOSes:

Sandra Memory Bandwidth

The P45 based Asus P5Q Deluxe is slightly slower than the P35 based Gigabyte P35-DS3R with both 1066MHz and 1333MHz FSB for Sandra memory bandwidth.

And with the new BIOSes:

Sandra Latency

With a 1333FSB, the latency was the same with both the P35 and the P45 test boards; however with a 266MHz FSB, the latency on the Asus P5Q Deluxe was extremely bad. Perhaps a BIOS revision will help.

And with the new BIOSes, 0506 had the best latency for the P45, but generally, the P35 was better.

Overclocking

Unfortunately I don't have much to report on the overclocking front as I ran out of time to run further overclocking tests due to publishing deadlines.

What I can tell you so far is that the P45 based Asus P5Q Deluxe - or at least the sample I have - is not as good an overclocker as the P35 based Gigabyte P35-DS3R that I tested for the Bearlake launch, and as of now, I don't even have 470MHz FSB stable enough for benchmarking.

I will explore the overclocking potential of the P45 in the Asus P5Q Deluxe and MSI P45 Platinum reviews that will be published soon. Hopefully the P45 will prove to be a better overclocker with a Core 2 Duo E8500 than with the Core 2 Duo E6400 I used for these tests in order to make them comparable to the P35 data from our database of past test results.

UPDATE:

The 0506 BIOS, once we received it, helped a bit - but not as much as I'd hoped, therefore I started tweaking memory parameters I would not normally touch. This improved memory performance even some more. Later, ASUS sent us a 0702 BIOS, which with the tweaked memory timing helped some more in memory benchmarks, and in overclockability.

Eventually I was able to reach a 2000MHz FSB running the E6400 at 1.51V with a 1.46V fsb by running it at a 7x500 multipler/FSB setting; a significant improvement over the previously tested maximum 470MHz not quite stable FSB - so I highly reccomend that you upgrade to the 0702 BIOS if you have one of these boards.

Conclusion

The P45 appears to be a decent chipset, however at this time it does not seem to provide any "earthshaking" advantages over the P35 it replaces.

Frankly, the only real advantages appear to be PCIe 2.0 support and ICHR10 support; and preliminary testing suggests that it is not as good of an overclocker, nor is its DDR2 latency and bandwidth quite as good as the P35's.

However before we become too critical due to these results we should remember that this is the first generation of P45 boards, with an early BIOS revision - it is quite possible that the test results will improve significantly with newer BIOS revisions; and I hope that the E8500 will allow higher FSB overclocking - even if it requires further BIOS revisions.

The P45 is basically a P35 refresh, and until the memory performance issues are addressed, I would personally go for a nice P35 board at a lower cost.

UPDATE:

As indicated in our earlier editor's note, the 0506 BIOS we did not receive before publication was supposed to address some of the concerns we had about the performance of the P45 as implemented on the P5Q.

Since that time, we have had the opportunity to test that board with not only the 0506 BIOS, but also a later 0702 BIOS, and it is time for us to report on our findings.

As some of you know, there is always some variability in test results from one run to another - for example,  in memory or processor specific results, up to a 1% variation is normal, and large benchmarks such as

Business Winstone may have a 3% or even 4% variation between runs.

After testing the P5Q with the 0506 BIOS and the 0702 BIOS with the E6400, we have observed some gain in memory performance, but no significant gain in other areas.

Improvements

Please note that none of these improvements made significant changes in the standing of the P45 versus the P35 except as shown above, and I should note again that these improvements were obtained with the new BIOS's, and after I hand tuned the memory for maximal performance by tweaking parameters we normally do not tweak.

The good news is that the overclockability of the board was significantly improved, and given the better memory performance and significant increase in overclockability I have to now say that the P45 is a viable alternative to the P35.

 

»Neoseeker.com

Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc., 1999-2014.
All Rights Reserved.

Please do not redistribute or use this article in whole, or in part, for commercial purposes.