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A good alternative to the ASUS P7P55D-E PRO board?

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July 20, 2010 4:16:41 PM

Hi all,

I'm looking for a new motherboard after I recently RMA'd an ASUS P7P55D-E PRO board. Ideally, I'd like it to have USB 3.0, SATA 6Gb/s and the ability to crossfire at 8x/8x...

The Gigabyte boards UD3 and above look good but seem to have a limitation with crossfire setups. The MSI boards seem like a good choice - have my eye on the P55A-GD65 but can't find none in stock in the UK. I think the P55A mainly refers to the addition of USB 3.0/SATA 6Gb/s over the original P55-GD65. Another good thing about this board is it's priced significantly cheaper than the ASUS I had, which is good as I'd like to upgrade the board and i5 for the next Intel (Sandy Bridge?) processors sometime in the future.

Appreciate any advice,

Thanks



a b V Motherboard
July 20, 2010 4:51:57 PM

Firstly, in regards to Sandy Bridge, it's unknown just which socket type they'll use, but it is entirely possible it won't be 1156 socket compatible. I wouldn't be too concerned with that tho, as you could always upgrade from an i5 (750?) to the i7 860 or similar.

Anyway, back on topic, ASUS and Gigabyte are great brands. Sounds like you must have been unlucky with your RMA'd mobo (what happened?). As far as USB3 and SATA 3 goes, my understanding is that current technology can barely exceed the "2" versions. SSDs have a shot at it, but HDDs won't.

I had the P55 GD65 which died on me after 3 weeks while overclocking. I got RMA'd at the shop where I bought it, and a tech there said they've been getting quite a lot of MSI returns. He basically said that their current generation of products just isn't of the same quality as their old stuff. My MSI board was replaced with an ASUS P7P55D Pro and I love this board, so far it's great and overclocks really well.

If you have issues with Asus, then IMO go with Gigabyte. Maybe a UD4 with Crossfire/SLI support (in case you want Nvidia cards).

One of the features I like most with the Asus board tho is that it has 3 PCIe 16 lanes. I don't know of any other P55 boars that have that.
July 20, 2010 5:32:06 PM

Hey Wolfram23, thanks for a great reply.

The ASUS motherboard was returned because I saw it as being the cause of a problem with my build - all fans in the build (heatsink/case) kept spinning after the system had been shutdown and the only way to stop them was the turn off the power supply. Tried looking for a solution and came across a number of other ASUS mobo owners displaying similar problems with the fans. It may have been a one-off faulty mobo but as it's my first build, I don't particularly feel too encouraged to go for the same board again...

The Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4 seems like a good board so may be worth a shot. Only possible downside to this board is how crossfire would affect the functioning of USB3 and SATA 3, although if not used shouldn't be a problem?

Will rule out the MSI boards after the info on returns - don't want to return 2 mobos in a row.. :D 
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a b V Motherboard
July 20, 2010 5:51:21 PM

I'm not sure about USB 3. However, in all P55 boards it will be the same issue. The USB 3/SATA 3 has to funnel through the south bridge chip, which has a limited DMI speed to the processor. The 1156 CPU has 16 lanes in the IMC, so your crossfire will be 8x/8x and directly connected to the CPU, so it won't affect USB3/SATA3 performance. However, if you load up with a few HDDs or SSDs or something, maybe some external HHDs and you're doing a lot of data transfering you'll see bottlenecking when trying to also maybe open a program or whatever. This is rarely the case tho. I think the only real way you'll fill up the south bridge's bandwidth is with a 3rd card but the Gigabyte board doesn't have that option so no worries. I use a GT 240 in the 4x lane, which goes to the south bridge, and it has a limit of about 84% usage. It just will not go higher. I believe this to be due to the limited south bridge bandwidth.

As for the fan issue, that's pretty wierd! Yeah definitely sounds like the mobo had an issue with something.
July 20, 2010 6:26:28 PM

Ah brilliant explanation, much appreciated Wolfram23! :) 

I think I'll go with the Gigabyte board. I have a single 5850 atm and was only considering adding another when needed, but that shouldn't be anytime soon, if ever - may upgrade to a single next gen card. I don't think I really have a need for USB3/SATA3 right now either so should keep any potential bandwidth issues from popping up.

Thanks for your help and advice, truly appreciated bro. ;) 



a c 117 V Motherboard
a b Ĉ ASUS
July 21, 2010 3:13:55 AM

You could always go with a first gen 1156 mobo, no usb3 or sata 3.
No issues and they are cheap now.
I have a Gigabyte P55-UD5 a full size board.
They also make a P55M-UD4.
Asus also has plenty of offerings.
When usb3 and sata3 become mainstream just add a $30 Asus U3S6 card.
July 21, 2010 6:40:43 AM

Hi Davcon,

The P55-UD5 is currently selling around £25 cheaper than the P55A-UD4. Apart from the addition of USB3 and SATA3 on the P55A-UD4, the other differences I can see are the 3x PCIe 2.0 x16 slots on the UD5 vs 2x on the UD4. The UD5 also uses the Realtek ALC889A codec vs ALC889 on the UD4. The option of adding the ASUS card in the future, when needed, sounds nice. Decisions, decisions... :) 
a b V Motherboard
July 21, 2010 2:58:34 PM

nandz said:
Hi Davcon,

The P55-UD5 is currently selling around £25 cheaper than the P55A-UD4. Apart from the addition of USB3 and SATA3 on the P55A-UD4, the other differences I can see are the 3x PCIe 2.0 x16 slots on the UD5 vs 2x on the UD4. The UD5 also uses the Realtek ALC889A codec vs ALC889 on the UD4. The option of adding the ASUS card in the future, when needed, sounds nice. Decisions, decisions... :) 


Just remember that the 3rd PCIe 16 slot is very limited. It's supposed to be a 4x slot, but it runs through the PCH (south bridge) and can get bandwidth limited. It's fine for a lot of stuff just not a 3rd GPU for SLI/CF. I run a PhysX card in it, and that's fine but it can't get full usage due to the limitations.
July 23, 2010 4:33:57 PM

wolfram23 said:
Just remember that the 3rd PCIe 16 slot is very limited. It's supposed to be a 4x slot, but it runs through the PCH (south bridge) and can get bandwidth limited. It's fine for a lot of stuff just not a 3rd GPU for SLI/CF. I run a PhysX card in it, and that's fine but it can't get full usage due to the limitations.


Ah that shouldn't be much of a problem - I'm not planning on running 3 gfx cards, just 2x 5850 crossfire at most, or maybe a single next gen 6xxx card.

The need for USB 3.0/SATA3 is not there anymore so any decent P55 board that can crossfire at 8x/8x should be good. The UD5 is an attractive looking board in terms of price (only £115 here). I'm not sure if the Megahalems heatsink with push/pull fans will have enough space and not conflict with the RAM as the CPU socket and RAM slots seem closer than the ASUS P7P55D-E PRO.
a b V Motherboard
July 23, 2010 5:28:54 PM

Maybe look up the mobo's manual and see which dimm slots you use. My 1st slot is covered by the fan but for dual channel I use slots 2 and 4 so there is no conflict.
July 23, 2010 5:48:21 PM

Cheers bro, just checked the manual for the board and for dual channel mode with two sticks, it states they should be installed in DDR3_1 and DDR3_3 which are the 2nd and 4th positioned slots, so I should be fine. I also installed the RAM in slots 2 and 4 on the ASUS, like yourself, and there was no problem with the heatsink fan.

So, looks like I'm ready to order. Hopefully everything works out fine with this board and I can actually get my first build completed now.. :D 

Thanks for all your help Wolfram23. ;) 

a b V Motherboard
July 23, 2010 6:36:44 PM

Awesome! Glad to be of service.

Good luck with this one :D 
a c 117 V Motherboard
a b Ĉ ASUS
July 24, 2010 2:25:35 AM

If you don't have really tall ram over 37mm you should be fine with the UD5 and the majority of air coolers.
I have Corsair Dominators in all 4 dimms but luckily it all fits with Thermalright MUX-120 cooler on a UD5.
I don't overclock my cpu though that's why i have a smaller cooler.
July 25, 2010 7:42:37 PM

davcon said:
If you don't have really tall ram over 37mm you should be fine with the UD5 and the majority of air coolers.
I have Corsair Dominators in all 4 dimms but luckily it all fits with Thermalright MUX-120 cooler on a UD5.
I don't overclock my cpu though that's why i have a smaller cooler.

The RAM I have isn't any taller than your average I guess. I have this - G.Skill ECO OC 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C8 1600MHz Dual Channel Kit

I would have installed the stock fan that came with the i5 but as I want to learn how to overclock and attempt to in the near future, I purchased the Megahalems and thought of installing it from the get go.
a c 117 V Motherboard
a b Ĉ ASUS
July 25, 2010 8:36:48 PM

nandz said:
The RAM I have isn't any taller than your average I guess. I have this - G.Skill ECO OC 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C8 1600MHz Dual Channel Kit

I would have installed the stock fan that came with the i5 but as I want to learn how to overclock and attempt to in the near future, I purchased the Megahalems and thought of installing it from the get go.

Yes that is excellent ram and you'll have no issues installing a cooler with it.
July 25, 2010 10:31:33 PM

davcon said:
Yes that is excellent ram and you'll have no issues installing a cooler with it.

Brilliant! Thanks :D  Can't wait to start building, mobo should be here on Tuesday ;) 
!