Gigabyte GA-EP45-DQ6 Motherboard Review

by MAC     |     August 31, 2008

Gigabyte GA-EP45-DQ6 P45 Motherboard Review

Price: Click Here to Compare Prices
Manufacturer Product Page: Giga-Byte Technology Co., Ltd.
Manufacturer's Part Number: GA-EP45-DQ6
Warranty: 3 year limited warranty (First 2 years parts & labor, 3rd year parts only)

The computer industry has always been filled with epic Dave and Goliath battles between competing corporations (AMD vs. Intel always comes to mind), and none is currently more interesting than ASUS versus Gigabyte. These two companies compete across a dizzying array of products lines, from mobile phones to notebooks, from CPU coolers to graphics cards, and obviously in the hotly contested motherboard market as well.

Despite being much smaller than ASUS, Gigabyte is not a company that is sitting still in the shadow of its larger rival. In fact, in recent years, they have really pushed the envelope and raised our expectations when it comes Bang for the Buck, consistently offering more features for less money than the competition.

With the release of the P45 Express chipset, Gigabyte has produced an incredibly varied product line with 14 different models carrying the ‘EP45’ moniker, ranging from the budget EP45-DS3L to the enthusiast-oriented EP45T-Extreme, which we just reviewed a few days ago. While such a vast selection of models may confuse some buyers, we believe that it allows informed consumers to pin-point the feature set that they want and at a price point that they are comfortable with.

The motherboard we are reviewing today is the GA-EP45-DQ6, which is by far the most feature-rich model in the EP45 lineup. This high-end motherboard caters to the “I want it all” crowd, and as you will see it really does not disappoint. Oft-used terms like “Everything and the kitchen sink”, “Swiss Army Knife”, “Overkill” just barely hint at the functionality that Gigabyte has somehow managed to shoehorn into this model.

With a retail price of about ~$280 CDN, the EP45-DQ6 is definitely at the upper price range for a P45 motherboard, but you do get a lot for your money: two physical PCI-E x16 (8x electrical) 2.0 slots, two PCI-E x4 slots, one PCI-E 1x slot, two PCI slots, ten SATA-II ports, four Gigabit LAN ports, twelve USB 2.0 ports, eSATA and FireWire connectivity, unparalleled RAID capabilities, 8-channel High-Definition audio with Dolby Home Theatre technology, TPM hardware-encryption chip, Dynamic Energy Saver (DES) Advanced, diagnostic LEDs, an elaborate copper cooling system, and…well, you get the idea.

Now features and fancy doodads are great, but they are absolutely meaningless if the motherboard is slow, unstable, and overclocks poorly. Therefore, we are here to find out if Gigabyte has truly managed to deliver a complete package with the EP45-DQ6.


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