GIGABYTE EP45-DS3R P45 Motherboard Review
Manufacturer Product Page: Gigabyte EP45-DS3R Motherboard Overview
Product Number: EP45-DS3R
Price: Approximately $150
Warranty Length: 3 year limited warranty (First 2 years parts & labour, 3rd year parts only)
As many of you are aware, Intel’s P45 chipset is one of the most prominent chipsets on the market today. Users love the reasonable price of a board based on P45 as well as the perks the chipset offers. Targeted for a broad range of users, the Gigabyte EP45-DS3R lies in the mid-range of the P45 chipset empire but it is also one of the seemingly countless Gigabyte P45 chipset boards on the market. As such, it should appeal to an enthusiast user looking for a decent board at a reasonable price as well as a mainstream user who may never overclock the board at all. The price of the EP45-DS3R puts the main competitive alternatives in the $150 range and includes popular boards like the ASUS P5Q line and the MSI Neo 3 boards.
Feature wise, in addition to one of the most sought after Intel chipsets, the EP45-DS3R hosts a number of features specific to Gigabyte to give that competitive edge. Some of those features include unprecedented dual channel DDR2 1333+ memory support, a DualBIOS solution which gives that extra security when flashing and overclocking, a Hardware Overvoltage Control IC which provides more voltage control options on the CPU, Northbridge, and memory as well as the Dynamic Energy Saver Advanced which provides better energy saving capabilities and enhanced system performance.
You may ask - are people even still buying P45 chipset boards with DDR2 memory when DDR3 boards and Nehalem are upon us? The simple answer to this is yes, P45 DDR2 boards are as popular as ever. With the very meagre performance increase with DDR3, compounded with DDR2 prices as low as we can remember RAM ever being, a P45 DDR2 option is excellent value for the money and performance is still on par with more expensive DDR3 options. Now, for Nehalem... We have seen that there is definitely a performance gain with the new socket and triple channel memory, but it seems only bleeding edge users that must have the top-end system are going to jump on the upgrade boat so soon. Buying the new CPUs, very expensive motherboards and the new tri-channel kits of DDR3 is far from economical. Depending on what level you want to go with, a CPU/board/RAM upgrade can run you thousands of dollars. This leaves the market from casual users to enthusiasts wide-open for Gigabyte and boards like the EP45-DS3R.
One other nice perk provided by Gigabyte is 3 year limited warranty coverage. The industry standard seems to be about 1 year so the extra warranty coverage may just be the hot button some users will look for when making a purchase decision.
Can this entry to mid-range board live up to the standard we have seen previously with the EP45-UD3P, the EP45-DQ6, and EP45T-Extreme at Hardware Canucks? Stay with us to find out!
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