2. Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3R
3. The Package
5. Dynamic Energy Saver, Easy Tune 6
6. Benchmarks - Everest Ultimate Edition, SiSoftware Sandra
7. Benchmarks - PCMark Vantage, SYSmark 2007 Preview
8. Benchmarks - Maxon Cinebench, x264 HD Benchmark, TMPGEnc 4 Xpress
9. Benchmarks - SuperPI, wPrime
10. Benchmarks - 3DMark06, Crysis v1.2, Unreal Tournament
The Gigabyte EP45-DS3R is the first motherboard we test equipped with the latest Intel P45 chipset. Actually the motherboard has been quite a while here waiting for testing, but its early version of the BIOS did not allow us to perform the tests.
The latest F6 bios we tested proved to be very stable and it is general suggested to use. The Gigabyte EP45-DS3R is what we really hoped that Gigabyte would produce. A very good product, with clean layout, good performance and proper retail price. If you look at the performance tests, most of them are "dominated" by the Asus products, but again don't forget that we are comparing different chipsets here. The Intel X38 still has the top roof at absolute cpu performance. However the Intel P45 is a good alternative and despite the very small passive cooling solution installed, overclocking was more than satisfying.
The Gigabyte EP45-DS3R also supports the "Dynamic Energy Saver" feature that has been highly debated as if it works or not. Well, the software is quite simple and user friendly. Considering that it requires from you to enable C1E and EIST before actually work, it hopefully saves some power from you system.
The motherboard layout is much better than what we have seen with EP34-DS4, since both PCI-e slots do not interfere with the SATA ports. Crossfire is supported as we hoped, although no real 2x 16 lanes are supported.
We should also give Gigabyte a credit for listening to user's feedback and changed various things at the BIOS. Voltages are are now directly displayed, instead of an offset of the standard value. The Easy Tune 6 software also works very well and it could be your best friend when overclocking.
If our calculations are correct, we did found the product available at several online stores priced at 110~130 Euro. In our opinion, this price is a nice surprise considering the performance, stability and features that the Gigabyte EP45-DS3R offers.