Looking to build a new machine on a budget? Then look no further than choosing Gigabyte’s EP45-UD3P as your choice for motherboard. It may not offer a lot in the area of bling, but it includes a solid design, lots of connectivity (including 8 USB and S-ATA), fantastic overclocking potential and best of all, it comes in at an average price of $115.
While application performance shouldn’t vary much between motherboards, one area where we can see greater differences is with synthetic benchmarks – at least with those that test both the storage and memory bandwidth/latency. Even still, if differences are seen, you are very unlikely to notice the difference in real-world usage, unless the performance hit is significant, which we’ve not found on any board we’ve tested in the past.
To test the storage I/O, we use a tool that we’ve been using for a number of years, HD Tune. The developer released a “Pro” version not long ago, so that’s what we are using for all of our storage-related benchmarking. The drive being tested is a secondary, installed into the first available Slave port, and is not the drive with the OS installed. To avoid potential latency, the drive is tested once Vista is idle for at least five minutes, and CPU usage remains stable at >1%.
Gigabyte’s own EP45-EXTREME is much more expensive than the UD3P, but it’s hard to tell with results like these, which show two boards offering identical HDD performance.
Yet another classic tool from our toolbox, SiSoftware’s Sandra is one of the ultimate benchmarking sidekicks around, allowing us to test almost every-single component in our PC, from CPU to GPU to memory to storage. In the case of our motherboard reviews, we stick with the memory bandwidth and latency tests, since its an area where some differences could very-well be seen.
As mentioned above, the results here don’t represent real-world performance, and if one motherboard sees the memory 4ns slower, the chances of you noticing the hit in real usage is highly unlikely, if not impossible. If any scenario would be effected, it would be processes that last the course of a few hours, not a few minutes.
The same applies to Sandra as it did for our HD Tune… the EP45-EXTREME and EP45-UD3P score almost identical scores in both our memory bandwidth and latency tests.