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P55 On A Budget: Five Core i5/i7 Motherboards For $100-$150

Gigabyte edged out Asus in CPU overclocking, but not by a lot. Meanwhile, Asus edged out Gigabyte in DRAM overclocking, but both reached data rates far exceeding anything useful for adding performance. A quick look at the average performance of each motherboard could help us determine the winner.

ASRock had the best overall performance, and the board might just be a good choice for non-overclockers. It's unfortunate for ASRock that we, and many of our readers, overclock. Of the two boards we can recommend, the Gigabyte P55-UD3R overtakes the Asus P7P55D in average performance. But we remember that Gigabyte also had higher average-power consumption, so how do these stack up in efficiency?

MSI wins the efficiency challenge, but once again without getting an overclocking endorsement. For that, we look to second-place efficiency-provider Asus.

None of us buy based solely on overclocking, one or two percent performance differences, or a few percentage points in efficiency. Rather, it’s the combination of overclocking, features, and performance that gets us ready to spend our money. For $10 more than the P55-UD3R, Asus’ P7P55D offers IEEE-1394 FireWire and slightly better overall efficiency. Gigabyte, on the other hand, offers a third SATA controller and supports Windows XP users with a floppy interface--all for $10 less. These two products are as close to perfectly-matched competitors as we’ve ever seen, so we’ll let you, the reader, make the call.

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