Package and Contents
As always, we start off with our package and contents. GIGABYTEs EP45-UD3P gets the same colour scheme as the older UD2 series boards, however there is a lot of hype on the front about UD3 and its cooling properties.
On the back of the box there is a lot more info on how the UD3 system works; mostly it's a combination of existing technologies along with a new 2oz copper PCB design, which we will get into later. Unfortunately, due to the marketing hype on the back there is no room for a colour photo, a big no-no, even with a new product line.
While the EP45-UD3P is aimed more at the mainstream to value end of the line, it doesn't stop GIGABYTE from giving you a good software and documentation bundle. In total there are two users manuals; one for the board itself and one hardware installation guide book which is a fancy term for quick install manual. The Driver DVD that is included contains drivers and software for Windows XP and Vista (32-bit and 64-bit versions) along with their DES Advanced software for both OSs.
On the accessories side GIGABYTE has done a modest job. First off we look at the data cables supplied; out of the total eight SATA ports that the board supports, you get four yellow SATA-II data cables which include the locking tabs to prevent them from accidentally being removed or bumped when installing or removing hardware, or even when transporting the PC to and from your home and LAN events. The ribbon cables consist of a single FDD cable with mono drive support and an IDE cable with master and slave drive support.
GIGABYTE continues to do their eSATA ports a different way to most. Rather than forcing you to give up two SATA ports, all of the ports are internal ports. If you want to use eSATA you install a PCI expansion cover bracket with two eSATA ports on it; these ports then take two (any two) SATA ports and convert them to eSATA.