Five i845E mainboards in the test: who will win?

Five i845E mainboards in the test: who will win?


When it comes to equipment, Gigabyte delivers pretty much everything your heart desires with the GA-8IEXP - you only have to do without Bluetooth. Otherwise you get USB2.0, Firewire, Raid, onboard LANand 6-channel sound. A Creative CT5880 chip is responsible for the 6-channel sound, which should supposedly be less CPU-intensive than the AC97 codec of the last two competitors. More on that in the course of the benchmarks. You don't have to do without an S/PDIF output with the GA-8IEXP. The enclosed module provides both an analogue and an optical output.

Gigabyte GA -8IEXP - connections - front
Gigabyte GA-8IEXP - SPDIF module
Gigabyte GA-8IEXP - Board 4

Unfortunately, the GA-8IEXP does not have a HighPoint controller for onboard raids, but its Promise counterpart. With it it is not possible to use the two IDE raid ports for normal IDE hard disk operation, but you are forced to set up a raid array if you want to use the two ports. The HighPoint controllers indirectly offer ATA133, which Intel has not yet supported.

Gigabyte GA-8IEXP - Raid
Gigabyte GA-8IEXP - RAM slots
Gigabyte GA-8IEXP - Board 3

A VIA VT6306 controller soldered to the board provides Firewire and, thanks to the included slot cover, it can also be put into operation immediately.

The layout of the GA-8IEXP is really very successful . Not just that allConnections are consistently on the edge of the board, but also the edging of the two USB2.0 and three Firewire ports on the board are a welcome change, which have also been optically upgraded.

Gigabyte GA-8IEXP - USB Firewire ports
Gigabyte GA-8IEXP - USB module
Gigabyte GA-8IEXP - Firewire module

The dual bios also protects against 'disassembling' the bios when flashing. If an error occurs in the “Main Bios”, the “Backup Bios” can serve as a full replacement at any time. As the first manufacturer known to us, Gigabyte finally delivers a real multi-language BIOS. German is no longer a foreign language for this BIOS, even if a German BIOS is sometimes more confusing than helpful to an experienced user. Flashing the BIOS is conveniently possible under Windows thanks to @Bios and so even inexperienced and fearful users can try it, who would otherwise be deterred by the old DOS interface.

Gigabyte GA-8IEXP - connections - back
Gigabyte GA-8IEXP - Board 2
Gigabyte GA-8IEXP - Dual Bios

For us, the point of the active cooler on the northbridge is questionable. In no case is it necessarygives the GA-8IEXP a not to be despised visual enhancement thanks to its golden color. Perhaps it may bring one or the other MHz more during overclocking in very warm cases, but it is not really justified. However, it is gratifying that it is barely audible. Unfortunately, one has to say from experience that this condition changes very quickly with such small fans.

Gigabyte GA-8IEXP - IDE-Power-RAM
Gigabyte GA-8IEXP - NB fan
Gigabyte GA-8IEXP - socket

On the next page: Stability