Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P Motherboard Review
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Manufacturer Product Page: Giga-Byte Technology Co., Ltd.
Manufacturer's Part Number: GA-EP45-UD3P
Warranty: 3 year limited warranty (First 2 years parts & labor, 3rd year parts only)
When the Intel P45 Express chipset was first released back in June, many were not entirely convinced that it would be successful. The P35 Express chipset was mature and popular among the mainstream crowd, and those seeking proper CrossFire implementations had potent X38/X48 Express motherboards to choose from. To make matters worse, with the next-generation Nehalem platform appearing on the horizon, why would consumers bother to invest in a brand new chipset that had much of the same functionality as its predecessor?
Well fast forward to the present day and it is quite apparent that those concerns were completely unfounded. Not only are P45 motherboards flying off the shelves, but motherboard manufacturers have embraced this new chipset in an unprecedented manner, with over 90 different models available at last count. The reasons for this popularity are numerous; the release of the impressive Radeon HD 4800 series led to an increase in people seeking CrossFire-capable motherboards; Intel’s aggressive price cuts made the 45nm Core 2 Duo processors an irresistible upgrade choice; the P45’s unparalleled front-side bus and memory overclocking capabilities led many serious overclockers to shelve their higher-end X38/X48 motherboards in favor of over-achieving mainstream models.
With an industry-leading fifteen P45 motherboards in their roster, Gigabyte made it abundantly clear that they were strong supporters of this new chipset, and few would have begrudged the company for resting on the laurels of their impressive lineup. However, during our stay in Taipei for the Gigabyte Open Overclocking Championship 2008 event, they unveiled the new Ultra Durable 3 motherboard series, which surprisingly contained three new P45 models: the EP45-UD3, EP45-UD3R, and the EP45-UD3P.
Today we will be reviewing the most fully-featured model in the current Ultra Durable 3 lineup, the EP45-UD3P. This model can be distinguished from the other two UD3 motherboards by its two mechanical PCI-E x16 slots which operate in x8 electrical mode when Crossfire is used. Now CrossFire support is great, but it is quite ubiquitous among P45 motherboards. Therefore, Gigabyte have wisely chosen to outfit this model with a few truly unique features, namely native support for DDR2-1366+ memory speeds, a new cooling system, an integrated TPM data encryption chip, two PCI-E Gigabit LAN controllers, an abundance of connectivity options, Dynamic Energy Saver Advanced, and the innovative Ultra Durable 3 technology.
Can this mainstream model impress us as much as the higher-end EP45-DQ6 and [URL="http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-reviews/9406-gigabyte-ga-ep45t-extreme-motherboard-review.html]EP45T-EXTREME[/URL] have? Let's take a look!