Four-Way Gigabyte P45 Motherboard Round-Up

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Gigabyte is typically one of the most loyal Intel partners, when it comes to chipsets. While they don’t solely produce Intel motherboards, when Intel does release a new chipset, Gigabyte is almost always there to produce several products on any given chipset.  Most often, we’ll see low-end, mid-range, and high-end products, that are usually enough to satisfy the entire spectrum of the market. With Intel’s new P45 chipset though, Gigabyte has simply gone off the deep end.

At the time of writing this, a quick scan at Gigabyte’s website reveals that the company is currently mass producing nine different motherboards based on the Intel P45 chipset. Even for a company of Gigabyte’s size, that is an ambitious undertaking, although it does speak volumes about how popular Gigabyte believes Intel’s new chipset will be. It also showcases how flexible Intel’s new chipset is, as Gigabyte is offering a plethora of boards with DDR2 or DDR3 interfaces, depending on your budget and preferred memory type. While having tons of selection is great for a potential buyer, let’s face it, it can be a little overwhelming for some to choose the correct board out of nine which are all fairly similar. Gigabyte’s board naming schema doesn’t quite help either, as even enthusiasts will stare at you blankly when asked to describe the differences between a GA-EP45-DS4P and a GA-EP45C-DS3R.

However, we’re here to help. Gigabyte has sent over four of their new P45 boards and we're going to show them all to you right here. We’ve got both their high-end and low-end DDR3 based P45 boards, along with their high-end and low-end DDR2 boards. This will provide us with a clear and concise overview of what type of performance and features you’ll be getting at difference price points. We’ve got a lot of questions to answer, such as finding out the performance differences between DDR2 and DDR3 P45 platforms, how features like copper heatpipe cooling and twelve phase power help overclocking, and how power consumption differs between high-end, ultra-packed motherboards compared to trimmed down, minimalist boards.

On the low-end, we have Gigabyte’s EP45-DS3L for DDR2 based systems along with the EP45T-DS3R for DDR3 based systems. On the high-end, we have the much more exciting EP45-DQ6 platform for DDR2 based systems, and for the high-end DDR3 landscape, we have the crème de le crème of Gigabyte’s P45 lineup, the EP45T-Extreme. The low-end boards have simple aluminum alloy coolers and few perks, whereas the high-end boards are lavish, featuring complex arrays of heatpipes, diagnostic functions, piles of I/O connectivity and multiple graphics card expansion slots. Of course, all these extras don’t come free, so it’s our job to tell you if all of them are really worth your hard-earned money. Let’s get started.


Specifications

  Gigabyte EP45T-Extreme Gigabyte EP45-DQ6 Gigabyte EP45T-DS3R Gigabyte EP45-DS3L
Target Enthusiast DDR3 Enthusiast DDR2 Value DDR3 Value DDR2
Street Price $269 $249 $175 $107
CPU Support Socket-775, Dual/Quad, 65nm/45m Socket-775, Dual/Quad, 65nm/45m Socket-775, Dual/Quad, 65nm/45m Socket-775, Dual/Quad, 65nm/45m
FSB Support 800, 1066, 1333, 1600 MHz 800, 1066, 1333, 1600 MHz 800, 1066, 1333, 1600 MHz 800, 1066, 1333, 1600 MHz
Chipset Intel P45 / ICH10R Intel P45 / ICH10R Intel P45 / ICH10R Intel P45 / ICH10
Peak Memory Speed DDR3-1900 DDR2-1200 DDR3-1900 DDR2-1200
Peak Memory Capacity 16 GB DDR3 16 GB DDR2 16 GB DDR3 16 GB DDR2
PCI Express Slots 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16, 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x8, 1 x PCI Express x4, 1 x PCI Express x1 Slots 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16, 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x8, 2 x PCI Express x4, 1 x PCI Express x1 Slots 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16, 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x8, 3 x PCI Express x1 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16, 4 x PCI Express x1
PCI Expansion Slots 3 x 32-bit PCI Slots 2 x 32-bit PCI Slots 2 x 32-bit PCI Slots 2 x 32-bit PCI Slots
Storage 6 x Intel ICH10R SATA-II/300 RAID 6 x Intel ICH10R SATA-II/300 RAID, 4 x Silicon Image SATA-II/300 RAID 6 x Intel ICH10R SATA-II/300 RAID 6 x Intel ICH10 SATA-II/300
Audio Realtek ALC889A, 8 Channel Analog, 7.1 Optical/Coaxial S/PDIF Digital, Dolby Home Theater Realtek ALC889A, 8 Channel Analog, 7.1 Optical/Coaxial S/PDIF Digital, Dolby Home Theater Realtek ALC889A, 8 Channel Analog, 7.1 Optical/Coaxial S/PDIF Digital, Dolby Home Theater Realtek ALC888, 8 Channel Analog, 7.1 Optical/Coaxial S/PDIF Digital
Networking 2 x Realtek 8111C PCI Express x1 Gigabit Ethernet Ports 4 x Realtek 8111C PCI Express x1 Gigabit Ethernet Ports 2 x Realtek 8111C PCI Express x1 Gigabit Ethernet Ports 1 x Realtek 8111C PCI Express x1 Gigabit Ethernet Port
I/O Ports 12 x USB 2.0 Ports, 3 x Firewire 400 12 x USB 2.0 Ports, 3 x Firewire 400 12 x USB 2.0 Ports, 3 x Firewire 400 12 x USB 2.0 Ports
Cooling Features Copper Heatpipe Northbridge and Southbridge Cooling, VRM Cooling Copper Heatpipe Northbridge and Southbridge Cooling, VRM Cooling, PCIe Bridge Cooling, SATA Controller Cooling Aluminum Alloy Heatsink Northbridge and Southbridge Cooling Aluminum Alloy Heatsink Northbridge and Southbridge Cooling
Energy Saving Features Dynamic Energy Saver Advanced, 12-Phase Power Dynamic Energy Saver Advanced, 12-Phase Power Dynamic Energy Saver Advanced, 6-Phase Power Dynamic Energy Saver, 4-Phase Power

Retail Packaging

Gigabyte definitely makes it clear with their retail packaging which boards are high-end and which are intended for the budget buyer. The EP45T Extreme and EP45-DQ6 platforms both come wrapped in shiny retail boxes which include flip-out covers that showcase various features about the board. As you can also see, Gigabyte is awfully proud of its Dynamic Energy Saver technologies, as it takes prominent placement on three of the four boxes.


Gigabyte EP45T-Extreme


Gigabyte EP45-DQ6


Gigabyte EP45T-DS3R


Gigabyte EP45-DS3L

Image gallery

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Comments

Comments
bob_on_the_cob 6 years ago

Nice read I'm loving the usb ports on all the boards. I have never used gigabyte mobos. I think it might be time for me to give them another look. Asus has dealt me wrong more than once now.

warlord 6 years ago

I have built a lot of pc's with gigabyte board but never owned 1 my self. Good looking offering

Fold On!!!!!

amdcrankitup 6 years ago
Ive never owned a Gigabyte board but heard and read good things about them!The EP45T extreme seems like a greatboard now they have come out with the
GIGABYTE X48T-DQ6 which is another one to take a look at! Both being DDR3 makes them out of my range but makes me pause when I consider between Gigabyte and Asus since I,ve been a Asus fan for a long time!
bob_on_the_cob 6 years ago

I agree DDR3 is way overpriced right now. I don't think asus is the king it use to be though.

warlord 6 years ago

I wouldn't can't Asus out just yet. It's not the first time a major label has had a bad go for 3 of 4 runs. The just need to get their priorietys straight again. I remember when abit was king of the overclocking hill for a while

Fold On!!!!!

bob_on_the_cob 6 years ago

I'm not saying I wont use them ever again or anything but I will give others like gigabyte a chance at my next mobo. Those boards looked really nice.

warlord 6 years ago

Yes gigabytes recent offerings have shown merit. I just remember replacing alot of the 754 nforce 3 boards for customers so i must get over a small hang up with em. Although if should be said at some point i have replaced every companys board.  A company i wouldn't dream of purchasing another product from is soyo as threw the yrs i have replaced countless soyo and pc chips boards. With that said I gave my father a old p4 rig with a p4 dragon ultra i purchased 5 yrs ago that is still rocking today so its the luch of the draw.

Fold On!!!!

bob_on_the_cob 6 years ago

Wow I forgot about soyo. They were great boards back then.

timread 6 years ago

These boards look pretty decent, especially the DS3R mid-range DDR3 board. Good enough to give a credible alternative to the usual choices (e.g. Asus!). What DDR2 and DDR3 modules were used in the benchmarking/overclocking tests? I still think DDR3 module prices are a major adoption hurdle, when 2x2GB costs at least $250 in the UK (and that's for 1333MHz modules).

bob_on_the_cob 6 years ago

[quote user="timread"]

 I still think DDR3 module prices are a major adoption hurdle, when 2x2GB costs at least $250 in the UK (and that's for 1333MHz modules).

[/quote]

It was the same way when DDR2 came out. They will come down.

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