By the way, note how creative Gigabyte engineers are when it comes to solving the lack of free space issue. Only the very first top PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot can work at full speed. If your system is equipped with two graphics cards, the number of PCI Express lanes is split evenly between the two, so the second slot can’t physically work faster than PCI Express 2.0 x8. And the third slot has only four PCI Express 1.0 lanes at its disposal provided by the chipset South Bridge. Note that only the first slot is in fact a fully fledged PCI Express x16 slot, while the other lower slots only look like ones. And since they do not use half of their contact pins, why not remove these signal contacts completely? This is exactly what Gigabyte engineers have done. PCI Express x16 graphics cards will still work in these slots, but only at half the interface speed. However, the absence of idling contacts allows saving a bit of the PCB space for other needs. Namely, the Texas Instruments IEEE1394 controller finds itself on the free spot below the second graphics card slot. Another great example of how well each square millimeter of the PCB is utilized is the location of the one of the Realtek 8111C controllers that was placed beneath the battery.
The components layout will help you get a better idea of the design strengths and peculiarities of Gigabyte GA-EP45T-Extreme mainboard. I would like to point out that there are only four fan connectors on this board. It is not too much for one of the top mainboards in the lineup. Besides, they haven’t been placed in the best slots: there is no free connector near the case rear panel that you could use for the exhaust case fan. The board has two BIOS chips. If the information in one of them gets corrupt, the BIOS will be automatically restored from the reserve chip.
We would like to wind up this part of our review with the detailed list of Gigabyte GA-EP45T-Extreme technical specifications: