Gigabyte EP45-EXTREME

Heatpipe cooling

Motherboard cooling accessories
Being a motherboard that is aimed squarely at the enthusiast market it should come as no surprise that Gigabyte have seen fit to include to shiny goodies to tempt you with this product.
Waterblock Unrestrictive design
First off is the waterblock. Being of a solid copper design it will fit in well with most any watercooling setup and unlike other motherboard manufacturers who took the cheaper route of providing aluminium/copper mix block, the Gigabyte block is pure copper throughout ensuring that there is no possibility of galvanic corrosion here.
The silver look top is simply a sticker and is not actually an integral piece of the block itself. I was disappointed to discover that there are no included adaptors for the barbs, so unless you already have a 3/8" watercooled loop you will have to purchase your own. The block is unrestricted, having a flat surface area so will have minimal effect on your watercooling loops flow.
Contact area NB mount
Removing the waterblock is a very simple task as there are only four screws holding it down. You shouldn't need to do this however as the above picture shows, the contact area is near perfect and the paste used is not the usual thermal cement used. Taking the heatsink assembly off of the motherboard again is a pretty straightforward with 4 screws holding the Northbridge and Southbridge blocks and push pins around the Mosfet area. Top marks all round Gigabyte!
Heatsink assembly Mosfets
Northbridge Southbridge
Above we see the heatsink assembly itself. Good contact was made all round with thermal tape covering the Mosfets and a solid paste TIM covering the P45 Northbridge and ICH10r Southbridge cores. So then we see that the EP45-EXTREME is a very well cooled motherboard if watercooling is to your tastes but what if you prefer EXTREME overclocking on air? Gigabyte have that base covered too...
Air cooler Rear Cooler
May I present to you Gigabytes answer to P45 heat. A massive cull copper heatpiped air cooler. This cooler is the size of a standard graphics card and weighs just as much. Dual copper heatpipes are soldered to a multi fin array which should provide superb cooling to the Northbridge. The jaw dropping size and looks of this cooler are matched by its weight. Good of Gigabyte to provide a PCI backplate to take some of the strain then!
Copper Top Southbridge
Mosfets Gigabyte Cooling
The Air cooler can be attached to the Northbridge with the waterblock in-situ. The block is held in place with four screws and with the provided TIM, a solid mount is achieved. This is the most extravagant aircooled setup we have seen at OC3D and we applaud Gigabyte for the thought that has been dedicated into creating such a fine piece of cooling equipment.
Looking at the cooling setup and the amount of copper used, it is becoming clear why the board is so expensive (and heavy!) However, all that copper cooling means nothing if the board cannot perform at EXTREME levels. Let's take a look at the BIOS to see what's in store...
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Most Recent Comments

04-11-2008, 08:53:16

That`s one heck of a cooling idea. It`s so simple, it`s crazy that dfi would go for that rediculous (imo) rear mounted solution over something similar to this. Is it as effective.. no idea.

I`m kinda willing to put forward also that these "designed for 45nm" mobos are perhaps doing an injustice to the Q6600. 35/38 series loved it, and sure the 4 series works well with them, but do they make more of the likes of Q9450 ? Perhaps by design. It`d be an interesting study. For sure there does come a point where we need to move on, and to base further reviews on past results, maybe a best pick of I45 & X48 mobos with a Q9450 would be a firm base. No disrespect to the Q6600. These boards are held back using ddr2 also, there`s another arguement for moving on. They need to do something to the setup of the mobo to tone it down for ddr2 use.

Still can`t stop thinking of that cooler.

Sure looks like a decent board. Does better than some in a few aspects and falls behind on other things.

I`d also like to see Biostar, MSI, Foxconn?? and some other less well know mobos get more of a look in (personal choice), the line ups of Gigabyte and ASUS in the sales lists are extremely numerous, to crazy levels imo. In between them we see 1 or 2 from other people and I do wonder if the object of the game is to flood the stores with ur name.

Great review, good mobo, I`d not buy it for £180 tho myself.Quote

04-11-2008, 12:52:35

Cracking review and mental cooling on that thing!

Typo mistake on "Quake 4" graph title. States BIOSHOCK and not Quake 4.Quote

04-11-2008, 14:46:03

Cheers Rasta for your comments, as always they are appreciated.

Originally Posted by name='fusion1275'
Cracking review and mental cooling on that thing!

Typo mistake on "Quake 4" graph title. States BIOSHOCK and not Quake 4.
Fixed, ta!Quote

07-11-2008, 11:16:12

The cooling solution gives me one major worry..... that gypsies may break into your house at night to take and melt the copper down.....theres just too much copper on that thing...jebus I think my house has less copper in it...

Nice looking, shame about the lack-lustre performance....hopefully other companies will follow there lead with the cooling solution, as it is nicely uniqueQuote

08-11-2008, 02:38:56

Funny how the nVidia boards got the worst fps and they are meant for gaming.


Anyway i wouldnt get this board, there is no point of that cooling if the board isnt a capable overclocker.Quote

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