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Closer Look at Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3 Mainboard

I have to admit that I have been fond of Gigabyte mainboards for quite some time now. Although, I have to specify: I am really fond of lower-end models in their lineups. Of course, the price also affects my choices, but not exclusively. The specifications of the lower-end Gigabyte mainboards seem to be less affected by the marketing people. They are not intended to defeat any competition or to impress potential users with the names of supported technologies. Low-end Gigabyte mainboards are real mainboards for work. They may not have numerous onboard controllers, but the chipset functionality is sufficient for a start; they may not have as many transistors in the CPU voltage regulator circuitry, but it is not necessary for reliable and stable operation. Instead, they are very simple to configure and can cope with CPU and memory overclocking pretty well. The youngest model in the lineup doesn’t necessarily have to feature “limited functionality”, but rather be free from anything extra.

The youngest model in the Intel P45 Express based family is Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3L, however, its PCB layout suggests that it may indeed be limited. Of course, exterior looks should never be a reason for definite conclusions, especially when practical experiments may show otherwise. However, we decided to minimize the risk of poor first impression and chose Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3, which is the base board for this entire family of products.

Package and Accessories

Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3 mainboard ships in a cardboard box of standard size. The box is mostly of green color, which is actually not surprising at all. The main focus in the current season is on power-saving technologies. ASUS and Gigabyte were the first to reveal their ideas and solutions, now abit and MSI are talking about saving power, and green color stands for green grass, woods, i.e. healthy environmentally friendly lifestyle.

The reverse side of Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3 mainboard package is devoted fully to the advantages of the technologies it supports.

The mainboard comes bundled with very few accessories. A string of attached plastic bags contains FDD and IDE cables, two Serial ATA cables with straight connectors and two with L-shaped ones. There is also a rare panel I/O/ Shield with color-coded connectors.

Moreover, there is quite a bit of documentation included with the board: user’s manual, multi-lingual installation guide made as a booklet rather than a poster, installation guide for a boxed Intel cooler. There is also a DVD disk with drivers and software tools, stickers for the system case with Gigabyte logo and Dynamic Energy Saver logo.

Since they’ve got more space on the DVD disk, they managed to fit in quite a bit of software applications onto this disk besides the drivers:

  • Norton Internet Security;
  • Kaspersky Anti-Virus;
  • Acrobat Reader;
  • Realtek Ethernet Teaming Utility;
  • WinZip;
  • COREL MediaOne;
  • Browser Configuration Utility;
  • Realtek Green Feature;
  • Dolby GUI Software;
  • Roxio Buzz 2.

Besides the above listed applications, the DVD disk also contains the following Gigabyte’s brand name utilities:

  • G.O.M. (Gigabyte Online Manager);
  • EasyTune 6;
  • DMI Viewer;
  • Face-Wizard;
  • @BIOS;
  • Q-Share;
  • Time Repair;
  • Update Manager.
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