George Ross, November 24, 2008
This holiday season should prove to be an ideal time for those who have been patiently waiting to upgrade that aging gaming rig. The only snag is the high price of DDR3 memory. That is were the Gigabyte GA-EP45C-DS3R comes in. This motherboard supports both DDR2 1066 and DDR3 1600 memory. Allowing the user to buy the cheaper DDR2 memory now and wait for the prices of DDR3 memory to go down until they feel the price is right. A feature that is sure to attract a few PC gamers out there.
This motherboard is packaged just like most motherboards that are on the market nothing to get excited about. The accessories are also kind of sparse giving you the essentials with a few extras. Here is what you get an IDE cable, a FDD cable, 4 SATA cables, a eSATA bracket, a eSATA cable with power cable, a rear I/O plate, a hardware install guide, a motherboard manual, the Ultra TPM manual, a driver CD, and a few stickers. The driver CD also contains Adobe Acrobat Reader, Norton Internet Security, Easy Tune 6, Gigabyte Online Management Utility, and the Ultra TPM all of witch work with Windows Vista and Windows XP.
The board is also well labeled with the USB, IEEE 1394, and COM connectors being labeled inside the plug. The front panel connectors are also well labeled.
The rear panel is dominated by USB ports having 8 in total. There are also 2 IEEE 1394 ports, 2 gigabit LAN connectors, 2 PS/2 ports, and 6 audio ports with S/PDIF coaxial and optical outputs included too.
The GA-EP45C-DS3R is on par with the P45A-S as far a general computing is concerned, however it does tend to give a little less performance overall.
The GA-EP45C-DS3R is bested by the P45A-S by 7% in overall gaming. The most notable defeat occurred in World in Conflict with a 16% pummeling.
The power consumption is almost exactly the same with both motherboards. The GA-EP45C-DS3R does consume less power under load witch makes sense given its lesser performance. The most interesting thing about these numbers is the power consumption numbers at the idle state. It appears that the Dynamic Energy Saver really doesn't save any energy.
Stay tuned we will be looking to see if upgrading to DDR3 memory actually gives any further performance advantages.
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