Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R review
The GA-EP45-UD3R is the big brother of our Recommended GA-EP43-S3L. It’s built around the P45 chipset, which in theory supports CrossFireX, but it comes with only a single PCI Express x16 slot, so in fact it’s no more gamer-friendly than its cheaper sibling.
Indeed, the EP45-UD3R uses many of the same controllers as the EP43-S3L, so not surprisingly it mirrors its support for various types of RAM and CPU. We’re pleased to see that it also replicates the EP43-S3L’s eight rear-facing USB ports.
But the EP45-UD3R isn’t merely a more expensive clone of our Recommended board. It adds FireWire and eSATA (on a bracket) to the mix, and offers a pleasing eight SATA ports, supporting four RAID modes. It also ditches the EP43-S3L’s fourth PCI Express x1 connector in favour of a third PCI slot.
All of which puts it in the same league as the Asus P5Q, with an equally generous line-up of connectors. Both boards also offer plenty of tweaking options, with clever BIOS recovery systems – the Asus lets you restore from a flash drive, while this Gigabyte keeps an onboard backup.
Look more closely, though, and the GA-EP45-UD3R doesn’t quite measure up. It has nothing to compare with the ExpressGate internet environment, and its power consumption is significantly higher. Its 95W idle draw was the highest in the group, while the Asus pulled down ten fewer watts.
Considering the Gigabyte costs significantly more than the Asus – indeed, it’s this month’s most expensive Intel 775 board – it’s clear that the GA-EP45-UD3R can’t compete. It’s versatile, yes, but it’s too pricey for what you get.