Gigabyte EP45-UD3P (P45) Motherboard

Introduction

IntroductionUltra Durable
 
We have reviewed a few Gigabyte motherboards recently with varying results, so we were unsure what to expect of the latest P45-based model to come from the Taiwanese manufacturer. Being a premier motherboard manufacturer we should, however, expect nothing but the best from Gigabyte who pride themselves on reliability and performance. So then, we start this review with vague trepidation but an open mind.
 
The board itself hails from the new UD series; in this case it's the EP45-UD3 we will be reviewing today. UD, meaning Ultra Durable, might not exactly set the world alight, as the Ultra Durable designation is nothing new to Gigabyte boards, as previously it simply meant solid capacitors were used throughout the motherboard design. This time however, UD actually signifies a leap forward in technology for Gigabyte.
 
Gigabyte have utilised two ounces of copper for both the Power and Ground layers of the motherboard, delivering a dramatically lower system temperature, improved energy efficiency and enhanced stability for overclocking. Of course, this is coupled with the solid capacitors used as standard on most Gigabyte boards today as well as the Ferrite core chokes, but it's the double weight layers of copper that sets the new standard among motherboard manufacturers. Previously, just one ounce was used per sq foot of PCB (30cm x 30cm), but with the new standard introduced by Gigabyte, this should dramatically reduce temperatures from critical areas such as the CPU, Mosfets and chipset area by spreading the heat throughout the entire PCB. This, Gigabyte claims, can result in up to a 50°C reduction in temperatures over traditional motherboards.
 
Heat dissipation
 
The EP45-UD3 also makes a very bold statement on the DDR2 front, claiming official support of blisteringly quick DDR2 1366+ MHz speeds. Most motherboard manufacturers are hesitant to break the 1200 barrier, but it appears Gigabyte are keen to push the boundaries of ram speed up a notch. This is due in part again to the increase of copper, which improves power efficiency by reducing circuit impedance by 50% and allowing more bandwidth for electron passage. This in turn results in less power being wasted. Less power equals less heat equals more overclocking headroom.
 
Couple the above with Solid capacitors, Ferrite Core chokes as well as the heatpipe cooling assembly and the EP45-UD3 promises Ultra durability, Ultra cooling capacity, which, for all intents and purposes, should equal Ultra performance.
 
Let's have a look at the specification in greater detail...
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Most Recent Comments

17-11-2008, 11:08:32

JN
"Two ounces of copper may not seem much but Gigabyte claim it makes the difference in performance. We review Gigabytes latest offering and pitch it against the best of the rest." - by webbo

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...164426793s.jpg

Gigabyte EP45-UD3P (P45) Motherboard

17-11-2008, 12:33:02

Rastalovich
Nice review Webbo.

It's a tricky judgement to make on this mobo, one of the many they have.

They seem to have done a 'good' job of making a ddr2 mobo, from a ddr3 chipset, and it sorta holds it's own with the competition. Doesn't particularly beat anything out-of-the-water, and neither does it drop way-way back on anything. U see it drop on something and in the next stat it's up again. Average it out and it does 'good'.

I struggle to understand why they bother bolting it down from ddr3, and not just stick with the ddr3 mobos. It could be argued they have both types already, in both 3 and 4 series, so I'm stumped further.

It does a great job in the 3d department, so ur gaming isn't going to suffer in anyway. If ur a Gigabyte fan, it won't exactly let u down and u can drag that ddr2 with u.

Not exactly an eyebrows-raiser, but ok it does 'good'. 115 - yeah ok, it's amongst the competition there too.

Curious about the bios.

17-11-2008, 12:49:14

w3bbo
Thanks for the feedback as always Rasta. The BIOS is pretty easy to use as with all Gigabyte boards but as with the EXTREME, scrolling through the BIOS is jerky. Not an issue if you only use it once or twice but it can become irratating if your constantly using it.

17-11-2008, 12:53:02

Rastalovich
Ah thnx for the tip I gotta rip open an EP35-DS4 tonite

17-11-2008, 16:17:40

w3bbo
Not noticed it with the P35's tbh, just the P45's. Like I said it's not a biggie, just something worth mentioning.

19-11-2008, 06:35:13

Rastalovich
Jeez, felt I had to report back. Installed the EP35 DS4 and frankly it's a great mobo. I have no idea of the benchies or anything, but I've installed it in a mATX style case that takes ATX mobos, with a wifi, 3 drives, and hopefully 4 OSes. It's gonna be my util pc, easy to move about.

(had to get this model cos of its SATA port arrangement and the 8 usb ports on the io plate)

Just about got a 8800GT in the case, Q9400, 4 gig, blah blah.

Put an Intel Extreme cooler on the cpu, and simply changed 2 things in the bios. Memory to 2x 333 base (from 2.4 auto), and cranked up the fsb to make the cpu 3g. Piece of cake, idles at under 30 - which I was amazed at.

One special bonus was the ALC889A, dts and the drivers seem to work in Vista 64bit !

With a fsb 1600 also, I will be recommending this mobo for it's ease.

19-11-2008, 06:41:09

w3bbo
Great to hear .

One great thing about the Gigabyte boards is it's ease of use. You can make it as complicated or as easy as you want and it's something I will be emphasising more on in future reviews.

19-11-2008, 06:46:08

Rastalovich
One BIG issue I do have is the lack of fan control via the bios. Dunno if there's something for me to discover, but I like the fact ABit chose for a long time to allow u to vary ALL the fan headers with the temps of 4 different things. Thus far I can only see a cpu one via software, although there is a fixed yes/no option in the bios - not very helpful. I introduced a spare Akasa 3pin pot to stop the rear fans sounding like an aeroplane.

05-12-2008, 12:06:39

GigaMan
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Rastalovich'
One BIG issue I do have is the lack of fan control via the bios.
Hey Rastalovich,

Tell me more about this is this really important?

BTW, others are free to comment.

I would like to know because maybe I can assist with this!

Well, at least I can find out.

06-12-2008, 07:55:23

Rastalovich
Afaic, I consider myself spoilt to have over the years had some great ABit mobos with all the glory that went along with it.

*cough* excuse the sentimentality *cough*

Being serious tho, in conjunction with the uGuru, their mobos, as far back as the amd k6 afaik, have allowed u to manipulate ALL of the 3 pin fan headers on the mobos against either cpu/sys and latterly pwm avg/pwm max also.

Now from an enthusiast pov, in particular - mine, this breaks open so many options in terms of pc cooling, that sure can be covered by purchasing overpriced fan controllers. But put on top of that, the ability to quieten the pc to absolute silence when ur not using it fully.

To give an example of Abit's last carnation, although it's true for the 35/38/48:

Invariably 6x 3 pin headers (1 being 4 on the cpu designated).

Each of them can select a low voltage % or volt, also the high.

Couple with that, the option of the low/high temps to span this over.

Then the option to change each of the 6 to compare the temps of cpu/pwmAV/pwmMax/sys.

(further changes, level wize, can be made by FanEQ in uGuru)

(another +ve is that it doesn't make fan control windows specific, as u dont have to rely on the mobo manufacturers util prog to control it)

This means u can have the fan on ur drives quiet as they only spin faster if,e.g., the SYS temp rises.

The cpu fan, or fans (ofc u can turn the likes of a ninja into a 2 fan-ed device with this mobo) varying with the cpu temp.

Ram cooler, notoriously winey small noises, but not when u vary it's speed with the pc's temp.

Additionally, as on my 38 & 48, u can have a tiny fan on ur pwm/nb/sb that varies similary.

This being said. At the end of the day u can have 6 sets of fans in ur case and not have all of them sounding like tornados. It kinda negates some of the cooling things other case or mobo manufacturers add to their setups in terms of quiet-cooling cos u can stick with the age-old fan system without being noisy.

I don't know that ASUS/MSI/DFI/etc dont do something exactly the same, as tbh I've not been interest whilst ABit were at the fore-front, but looking to the future I will have to make some decisions on who to pip for. To this point the Gigabyte P35-DS4 covers everything I need, except for the fan options above. I believe it does standard cpu control and something else. Outside of that it is a very capable mobo. Overclocking on it was a 3 step process of crazy simplicity.

(Only other issue with the mobo is that it wont boot past the cpu post, kinda hangs displaying the 2nd "M" of "memory", if I have a mouse plugged in the usb port of the Apple aluminum keyboard - not a fault I imagine)

13-07-2009, 09:10:29

davetboy_19
was planning on using this board in my next build, this review sealed the deal for me
Reply
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