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Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R

Board Layout

The new blue and gunmetal heatsinks provide a much needed facelift to the look and mean Gigabyte has a smart, coordinated design while retaining the socket differentiation it likes so much (and we appreciate this is needed on a mainstream model).

The anodised aluminium heatsinks are matched by the large heatsinks covers advertising the Gigabyte brand - these covers may look good and are affixed by thermal tape, but ultimately they prevent the heatsinks underneath from getting the case airflow needed.

They're oversized enough not to run hot though - the northbridge heatsink even gets screwed down with a rear brace (!!) - and those overvolting heavily will probably whip off the covers at the expense of their warranty.

Gigabyte's new matching heatpipe looks great but is only stuck into place with a little thermal glue rather than soldered in. This is actually a good thing in some respects, because despite the "meh" thermal transfer, it does mean the heatpipe can be removed entirely freeing up the MOSFET heatsink from the northbridge, allowing a completely independent interchange of either if you want to watercool for example.

Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R Board Layout
Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R Board Layout
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The layout is generally very good - with the IDE socket shifted up the board from where it was on the original DS3R, and with the two extra purple SATA ports just under it, these are in the best position to satisfy the optical drives. The orange SATA ports on the other hand could have been arranged at the edge of the PCB so they pointed towards the hard drives. At least all can be used no matter what graphics card is used though. All the pin-outs are well put at the bottom of the PCB, although the front-panel pin-out is about as far from the front panel as possible it seems.