For its mainstream price point, the GIGABYTE EP-45-DS3R comes fairly loaded feature and accessory wise. Just a short list of honorable mentions brings up DES (dynamic energy saver), with 6-gears for energy conservation. Also worth mentioning is the “Ultra Durable 2” branding that makes use of quality components such as 100% Japanese made solid capacitors, Low RDS(on) MOSFETs, Ferrite Core Chokes, and a Hardware IC’s for tight voltage control. Least we forget the multi-functional 2 port Gigabit LAN, and their new hardware based TPM security feature.
You would think that would be enough, but then you consider onboard LEDs that indicate power phase use, and a BIOS that presents more tweaking options than many enthusiast level boards. On top of all of this, GIGABYTE even provides a powered eSATA expansion bracket. You would be hard pressed to find another mainstream P45 based product on the market with more features.
Performance was great out of the box and the EP45-DS3R just worked like it should. It performed exactly where it should have, at stock settings for the P45 chipset. That might seem like a minor statement with little significance, but I cant tell you have many boards I have had to tweak right off the bat, just to achieve proper stock performance and stability. The only setting I manipulated right away, was the energy conserving features, and that was just for the purpose of the review. Everything just plugged in, auto detected correctly, and went to work.
Even though this board is targeted at the mainstream user, and lacks any kind of flashy heatpipe cooling, it has a plethora of tweaking options in the BIOS second to none. The BIOS was basically identical in functionality, to the more expensive EP45-DQ6 enthusiast version. It achieved a very respectable FSB ceiling for a mainstream product, with the Q9550 Quad Core CPU, while using conservative voltage settings.
Pricing and Availability
As of this writing, the GIGABYTE EP45-DS3R can be found at several retailers for around $149.99. At that price point the GIGABYTE EP45-DS3R is a great value buy. As not many mainstream P45 based boards in that price range pack in as much quality components, performance, features and tweakability.
The GA-EP45-DS3R from GIGABYTE is a mainstream motherboard loaded with features and performance for the price.
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