Having used the Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P motherboard for the last few weeks I have been very impressed with the performance. For anyone looking at a moderate cost and high performance solution, it is definitely the way to go. Sure, the heyday of the Intel Core 2 series is over but it still offers incredible performance per dollar when comparing it to a Core i7 system, which we will be doing in just a few days.
Keep in mind when ordering this board that there are three P45 motherboards that are in the Gigabyte UD3 lineup. The first and least expensive board is the EP45-UD3R, which retails for $104.99 with free shipping after a $15 mail-in-rebate. This board has only a single PCI-E x16 slot, so no ATI CrossFire lovin’. It also only has a single Gigabit NIC and does not have the built-in Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip with 2048bits encryption for high level digital data protection. The second board is our EP45-UD3P that we reviewed here today and it runs $114.99 with free shipping after the same $15 mail-in-rebate. The third motherboard is the EP45T-UD3P which has the same features as the board we looked at here but supports DDR3 memory kits. At the moment if you’re looking at one of the DDR2 boards it is hard to pass up the UD3P as there is only a $10 price difference at the time of this writing and you can run a secondary graphics card for ATI CrossFire or for NVIDIA PhysX.
While Core i7 systems offer a performance advantage, it is still hard to pass up the power of a Core system. Also, with the recent price drop of quad core processors, including the great “E0 stepping only” Q9650, it’s hard to justify the additional cost of such a system. A $114.99 shipped (after $15 rebate) Gigabyte EP45-UD3P paired with a Q9650 and 4GB of DDR2 1000MHz should easily clock to 4GHz and above while maintaining cool temps and great stability. The best part of it all is, of course, that the components described would cost right at $500 from Newegg.com after a $15 rebate and offer great performance.
Legit Bottom Line: The Gigabyte EP45-UD3P offers stellar performance, killer overclocking, and high end features at a price that won’t leave your wallet empty.