First off on the Gigabyte stand this year was a crazy, crazy RAM cooler – how does a self contained watercooling for a pair of DIMMs sound? Called “Cool Rain”, it looks like an ice skate that was full of tight kinks and “stylish, durable Blue LEDs”. We can’t exactly see Corsair or OCZ going out of business, just yet.
On the other hand, the chassis were actually really stylish – while we’re not a huge fan of the side window/grill on any of them, the “iSolo 220” with its power button and expansion ports set facing upwards in a brushed aluminium bit at the bottom looked very smart, yet subtly different.
For those fans of a front door to keep things neat, the Cupio 610 should be more up your street. In addition to the elegant front is a button at the top on the hinge and a thin power LED in the side. Yes, again it’s blue, just like everything else “cool” these days, but the very top of the case features the front expansion ports, including eSATA, and a little door to keep them neatly covered.
The new 3DAurora and Poseidon 310 look far better than the ones they are replacing, but in our opinion the iSolo and Cupio is where the potential is.
Gigabyte Cupio and iSolo
Cupio has its power button at the top corner of the door
In addition to this, Gigabyte was displaying a bunch of motherboards – unlike the current Intel P35 CrossFire problem on Gigabyte boards where you lose virtually all the SATA ports, it was good to see Gigabyte address this problem with its P45-based boards. The SATA is now placed right down at the bottom out of the way and all the ports sit near the edges – the P45-DS3R is again our weapon of choice as it not only offers simple dual PCI-Express 2.0 x8 CrossFire, but also enough normal expansion ports and connectivity to suit most people.
The heatsink is unheatpiped so can be replaced really easily if necessary and there’s even 1,600MHz FSB and 1,200MHz memory support included, as well as the awesome Realtek ALC889a premium high-definition audio codec included. All the future boards lose
the “E” prefix for energy efficiency, but they still come with the new Dynamic Energy Saver software as standard.
Gigabyte GA-P45-DS3R and GA-P45-DS4
We asked if the software was going to be available on Linux and a Gigabyte representative responded that as far as he knew it was being worked on, but couldn’t offer a launch date or timeframe.
Finally, the Gigabyte GeForce 9600 GT passive is a little different – with two separate fins stacks Gigabyte calls this its “multi-core cooling” (...groan), one of which even pokes out the back of the card. It does make a single slot card into a dual slot, but we suppose that’s the price to pay for silence.
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