Gigabyte GA-EP35C-DS3R review

Price when reviewed

Different motherboards suit different uses, and no single board will be right for everyone. But we’d recommend the Gigabyte GA-EP35C-DS3R to anyone, because it offers so much for such a good price.

Gigabyte GA-EP35C-DS3R review

First off, the gimmick. While the other boards here make you choose between DDR2 and DDR3, the Gigabyte will take both. Or, to be precise, it will take either: you can install up to four DDR2 DIMMs or two DDR3 DIMMs, but you can’t use both together. We’d question how useful this really is, but it’s nice to have options.

It’s a liberating board in other ways, too. It provides eight SATA channels, more than any rival. And at the back you’ll find eight USB ports, a generous complement matched only by the far pricier MSI X48 Platinum. There’s also eSATA via a rear bracket.

The BIOS offers Gigabyte’s standard Intelligent Tweaker menu, which gives you freedom to meddle with your PC’s internal clocks, adjust the CPU multiplier, and boost FSB and RAM speeds. It’s nicely accessible, but you can also get at most of these settings from within Windows using the EasyTune applet.

Power consumption was pleasingly low in our tests, with the system idling at 97W. Gigabyte’s Dynamic Energy Saver technology throttles back voltages and clock speeds when the system’s idle, and a Windows applet will even keep a tally of how much energy it’s saved you.

Of course, a £71 board won’t offer all the toys and trinkets of the more extravagant contenders. There are no internal power buttons or POST LEDs (though, cutely, there are LEDs indicating CPU load). And with a single PCI Express 16x slot, you won’t be experimenting with multiple graphics cards. Factor in the one-year warranty (Asus and Foxconn offer three) and you can see where money’s been saved.

But you’re still left with a great board. It’s fully featured enough to satisfy all but the most demanding enthusiasts, yet costs less than half the price of a “real” enthusiast board. For simple desktop computing, you’d be fine with a simpler, cheaper board, but if there’s a chance you’ll want to get your hands dirty, moving up to the Gigabyte is a small investment and well worth it.


Motherboard form factorATX
Motherboard integrated graphicsno


Processor/platform brand (manufacturer)Intel
Processor socketLGA 775
Motherboard form factorATX
Memory typeDDR2, DDR3
Multi-GPU supportno


Motherboard chipsetIntel P35
Number of Ethernet adapters1
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
Graphics chipsetN/A
Audio chipsetRealtek ALC889A

Onboard Connectors

CPU power connector type4-pin
Main power connectorATX 24-pin
Memory sockets total6
Internal SATA connectors8
Internal PATA connectors1
Internal floppy connectors1
Conventional PCI slots total3
PCI-E x16 slots total1
PCI-E x8 slots total0
PCI-E x4 slots total0
PCI-E x1 slots total3

Rear ports

PS/2 connectors2
USB ports (downstream)8
FireWire ports0
eSATA ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports1
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports1
3.5mm audio jacks6
Parallel ports0
9-pin serial ports0
Extra port backplane bracket ports2 eSATA, 1 power


SATA cables supplied4
Molex to SATA adaters supplied0
IDE cables supplied1
Floppy cables supplied1

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