Final Words & Conclusion
Value is what comes to mind when I was reviewing this motherboard. Really, a lot of value. Now surely using a 1000 USD processor on a motherboard like this isn't exactly value :) but that was done to prove a point. Even a budget motherboard like shown today in it's full m-ATX glory can perform really well. The baseline performance was good, if not better compared to all other compatible chipsets that can support this processor. I mean, this little puppy or an X48 based motherboard, it would just not make a difference performance wise, besides the regular random offsets that is.
It seems lately that I have some sort of weird fetish for products with a lot of value, and sure .. that must be related to the time we live in. People have less to spend, but that doesn't mean that you have to forfeit on performance. No Sir, not at all.
Motherboards like these are fun. And quite honestly I was very surprised with the sheer baseline performance, and then the adequate tweaking possibilities it offers. It's done right, it's done the Gigabyte way and as such I have a lot of respect for this product. The one thing we don't grasp is why the motherboard is called EG45M-UD2H, while it is a new UD3 version motherbord, ah well.
When we leave performance for what it is for a minute, we stumble into the sheer amount of features. First off, the integrated graphics chipset will make sure you can connect any monitor or HDTV out there and have excellent display quality. Now while the G45 chipset was improved a little, it is in all fairness not at the same level as the NVIDIA GF9300 or AMD's 790GX chipset for that matter; both have much better solutions to handle and function as a HTPC. But granted, if you connect a Blu-ray player to your system, it can and will decode over the G45 chipset pretty darn well. Oh and heck yes, you can also decode your high-def content over the processor. GPU decoding is an option folks, not a requirement. Then we have the Realtek 8-channel sound solution. It's okay in analog, but for a HTPC the S/PDIF TOSLINK pass-through is of course excellent. Lossless sound quality decoded by, for example, your receiver surely is the way to go. Digital outputs, the strength of the G45 chipset, and I didn't even mention the HDMI connector yet.
Gaming wise, of course the integrated GPU with it's 10 shader cores is rubbish for games, but if you do not plan to go SLI or Crossfire then pop in a dedicated graphics card and that's taken care of as well.
So there you have it, this is one of these all-in-one motherboards supporting all modern LGA 775 processors, overclocks well, has quality components, is energy aware, comes with integrated audio, gigabit Ethernet, 5 SATA 2.0 ports and well .. just about everything you need to get started without breaking the bank.
We liked the Gigabyte EG45M-UD2H very much, and combined with a nice value Core 2 Duo/Quad processor it comes in as a great value solution. You'll be able to spot this motherboard for roughly 100 EUR / 125 USD and as such comes recommended.