Super Micro was one of the first motherboard vendors to immediately begin shipping motherboards with the Intel GMA X4500 and GMA X4500HD graphics when the G43 and G45 Chipsets were announced back in June. While this is our first motherboard we have looked at with the G45 + ICH10, we are quite pleased with our findings. The GMA X4500HD is Intel's strongest integrated graphics processor to date, both the G45 Northbridge and ICH10 Southbridge deliver a nice set of features, and this motherboard works well under Linux when using a newer Linux kernel. The only problems we've ran into were with the ICH10 disk controller on older kernels and then LM_Sensors not supporting the Winbond I/O ASIC used by this motherboard.
Our benchmarks of this motherboard using the Phoronix Test Suite show it performing at roughly the same level as motherboards using the more performance-oriented Intel P45 Chipset. In a few tests, the Super Micro C2SEA had come out in front while in other tests it was inching behind the other motherboards. Back onto the matter of graphics, the open-source GMA X4500 support is still new but we expect it to mature with time and will further be refined once Intel's GEM has stabilized as well as the other features they are working on. For the open-source 3D support though you'll need to be running a distribution with the Linux 2.6.26 kernel or newer due to the updated Direct Rendering Manager and be using X.Org 7.4 as it requires Mesa 7.1, which provides the Intel GMA 4-Series 3D support, and will ship with xf86-video-intel 2.4 DDX driver that provides the X4500 mode-setting and 2D acceleration support. To make a long story short, you'll see best results with this motherboard if using a distribution released this summer or one of the development versions for the releases coming out this fall (such as Fedora 10 and Ubuntu 8.10).
There are not too many G45 motherboards currently at retailers, but the Super Micro C2SEA is available and it’s currently going for about $130 USD. While this may be expensive to some for a motherboard with integrated graphics, its priced well compared to other G45 models from other vendors and the C2SEA comes with Super Micro's long-standing reliability and unlike some of the other G45 products this one provides dual PCI Express x16 and integrated HDMI support. We are very pleased with this ATX motherboard and we would recommend it to those Linux users planning for a low-power system, HTPC / video playback uses, basic desktop while enjoying Compiz, or experimenting with the latest X.Org graphics innovations that frequently first appear in the open-source Intel driver.
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Phoronix Product Rating: 8 / 10