P55 On Boost: Five LGA 1156 Boards Between $200 And $250

Features Comparison Tables

Sub-$250 Core i5/i7 Motherboard Features
 Asus P7P55D DeluxeEVGA P55 FTWGigabyte P55A-UD6
PCB Revision1.06G1.01.0
ChipsetIntel P55 ExpressIntel P55 ExpressIntel P55 Express
Voltage Regulator19 Phases14 Phases24 Phases
BIOS0711 (09/24/2009)080016 (10/23/2009)F4 (10/26/2009)
133.3 MHz BCLK133.7 MHz (+0.28%)131.9 MHz (-1.09%)132.9 MHz (-0.32%)
Clock GeneratorICS 9LPRS140CKLFICS 9LPRS139AKLFICS 9LPRS914EKLF
Internal Interfaces
PCIe 2.0 x163 (x16/x1/x4, x8/x8/x4)3 (x16/x4/x1, x8/x4/x8)3 (x16/x1/x4, x8/x8/x4)
PCIe x1/x42/01/02/0
Legacy PCI222
USB 2.03 (6-ports)3 (6-ports)2 (4-ports)
IEEE-1394111
Serial Port1None1
Parallel PortNoneNoneNone
FloppyNoNoYes
Ultra-ATA 1331 (2-drives)None1 (2-drives)
SATA 3.0 Gb/s966
SATA 6.0 Gb/sNoneNone2
4-Pin Fan212
3-Pin Fan264
FP-AudioYesYesYes
CD-AudioYesNoYes
S/PDIF I/OOutput OnlyBothBoth
Power ButtonYesYesYes
Reset ButtonYesYesYes
CLR_CMOS ButtonJumper OnlyYesYes
Diagnostics PanelPass/Fail LEDsNumericNumeric
I/O Panel
P/S 2211
USB 2.087 (1 Shared w/eSATA)8 (2 Shared w/eSATA
USB 3.0NoneNone2
IEEE-1394112
NetworkDual (with teaming)DualDual (with teaming)
eSATA022
CLR_CMOS ButtonYesYesNo
Digital Audio OutOptical+CoaxialOptical+CoaxialOptical+Coaxial
Digital Audio InNoneNoneNone
Analog Audio66
Mass Storage Controllers
Chipset SATA6x SATA 3.0 Gb/s6x SATA 3.0 Gb/s6x SATA 3.0 Gb/s
Chipset RAID Modes0, 1, 5, 100, 1, 5, 100, 1, 5, 10
Add-In SATAJMB363 PCIe, 1 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s, 1 x SATA to JMB322, JMB322 to 2 x SATA88SE6121 PCIe, 2 x eSATA 3.0 Gb/s88SE9128 PCIe, 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s, JMB362 PCIe, 2 x eSATA 3.0 Gb/s
Add-In Ultra ATAJMB363 PCIeNoneITE IT8213 PCIe
IEEE-1394VT6308P PCI
2 x 400 mb/s
TSB43AB22A
2 x 400 mb/s
TSB43AB23 PCI
3 x 400 Mb/s
Gigabit Ethernet Controllers
Primary LANRTL8112L PCIe88E6057 PCIeRTL8111D PCIe
Secondary LANRTL810SC PCI88E6057 PCIeRTL8111D PCIe
Audio Codec
HD Audio CodecVIA VT2020ALC889ALC889
Sub-$250 Core i5/i7 Motherboard Features
 Intel DP55KGMSI P55-GD80
PCB RevisionE47218-4021.1
NorthbridgeIntel P55 ExpressIntel P55 Express
Voltage RegulatorSix Phase DigitalTen Phases
BIOS3822 (09/28/2009)1.5 (09/25/2009)
133.3 MHz BCLK133.3 MHz (+0.0%)133.7 MHz (+0.28%)
Clock GeneratorSLG505YC264CTMSI LRS4116AL
Internal Interfaces
PCIe  x163 (x16/x1/x4, x8/x8/x4)3 (x16/x1/x4, x8/x8/x4)
PCIe x1/x42/0*2/0
Legacy PCI22
USB 2.02 (4-ports) +1 port3 (6-ports)
IEEE-139411
Serial PortNoneNone
Parallel PortNoneNone
FloppyNoNo
Ultra-ATA 133None1 (2-drives)
SATA 3.0 Gb/s88
SATA 6.0 Gb/sNoneNone
4-Pin Fan41
3-Pin FanNone4
FP-AudioYesYes
CD-AudioNoYes
S/PDIF I/OOutput OnlyOutput Only
Power ButtonYesYes
Reset ButtonNoYes
CLR_CMOS ButtonJumper OnlyYes
Diagnostics PanelNumericNumeric
I/O Panel
P/S 2None2
USB 2.088 (1 Shared w/eSATA)
USB 3.0NoneNone
IEEE-139411
NetworkSingleDual
eSATA21
CLR_CMOS Button*Back to BIOSNo
Digital Audio OutOpticalOptical+Coaxial
Digital Audio InOpticalNone
Analog Audio66
Mass Storage Controllers
Chipset SATA6x SATA 3.0 Gb/s6x SATA 3.0 Gb/s
Chipset RAID Modes0, 1, 5, 100, 1, 5, 10
Add-In SATA88SE6145 PCIe, 2 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s, 2 x eSATA 3.0 Gb/sJMB363 PCIe, 1 x eSATA 3.0 Gb/s, 1 x SATA to JMB322, JMB322 to 2 x SATA
Add-In Ultra ATANoneJMB363 PCIe
IEEE-1394TSB43AB22A
2x 400 mb/s
VT6315N PCIe
2x 400 Mb/s
Gigabit Ethernet Controllers
Primary LANIntel WG82578DC PHYRTL8111DL PCIe
Secondary LANBluetooth PANRTL8111DL PCIe
Audio Codec
HD Audio CodecALC889ALC889
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51 comments
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  • liquidsnake718
    Always the question in mind. Is it possible for the manufacturers to make a P55 with FULL SLI 16x 16x? I wouldn’t know. I do know tests have proven that the difference in a 8x, 8x isnt all that bad but If I were going to invest next year on a motherboard Id want the best possible one for the best possible "upgradability".

    Also for just $50 more one could get a reasonable X58 board and the core i7 920 would be a great buy. The only motherboard here that would be a "smart" buy with "long term" in mind would be the Gigabyte UD6 since it at least sports USB3.0 AND Sata 6.0. One would not need to purchase any expansion card for this feature as it will be used in the years to come. Also knowing that X58 will be used for 6core chips way ahead is comforting as these boards then will still be around and mainstream by the time those processors will even be relevant for avid/regular PC users.

    I just have a few questions you may be able to answer, do you guys also choose motherboards from other countries? I have seen Foxconn and Emaxx in some reviews but I also know that they may not be the best quality boards but it would be great to compare those boards as well. Its also good that you placed a reference Intel P55 so people would know the standard in which to compare with. Also how come we still dont have a P55 or X58 XFX board? Has XFX stopped making mb's and only started to focus on GPU's?
    2
  • nerrawg
    liquidsnake718"Is it possible for the manufacturers to make a P55 with FULL SLI 16x 16x? I wouldn’t know."

    In the article first page:" Can any LGA 1156 system truly be considered high-end? After all, there’s no practical way to supply two graphics cards with a full 16 lanes of bandwidth. However, only the most expensive graphics cards need more than eight PCIe 2.0 lanes, and not every high-end buyer wants a gaming system."

    The reason for this is the GPU - CPU bridge on core i5 systems, which in previously intel boards was part of the southbridge chipset, is now integrated onto the CPU. Therefore it isn't the boards that limit GPU lanes to a maximum of x16 lanes total, but it is the p55 core i5 & i7 CPUs that do this.

    Check this link for more on the CPU-motherboard layout:
    http://www.tweaktown.com/articles/2920/intel_s_p55_express_lynnfield_chipset_overview/index2.html
    1
  • Anonymous
    I not quite agree with Gigabytes UD6 being the best choice with "long term" in mind. If using USB3.0 or SATA3, your VGA will run at 8x PCIe 2.0 instead of 16x. That might not be a problem with mainstreamcards, but would you rather have your high end GTX295, R5870 or R5970 run at 8x or 16x? I know what I want when buying a topdog card.

    Also see this artice on VR-Zone which explains the pitfalls of Gigabytes USB3/SATA3 implementation: http://vr-zone.com/articles/gigabyte-p55a-boards-usb3-sata3-issues-analysis/8158.html
    2
  • tacoslave
    the 8x pci was the only thing that kept me from buying an i5 but instead i got a phenom II 955 and never looked back and i got a great deal with a bundle from newegg. gotta love em.
    3
  • kumaiti
    I would like to suggest a little more depth on the software features of each board. Performance tests are nice and everything but the differences are so small that often the features are the main deciding factor on getting a Mobo. It would be nice to know, for example, which boards support Dolby Digital Live.
    2
  • Crashman
    kumaitiI would like to suggest a little more depth on the software features of each board. Performance tests are nice and everything but the differences are so small that often the features are the main deciding factor on getting a Mobo. It would be nice to know, for example, which boards support Dolby Digital Live.


    Good point, perhaps the features comparison chart could be expanded a little.
    3
  • apache_lives
    1156 platform is mid-range, if you want the full 16x + 16x you go for 1366 its that simple, and nativly there are not enough lanes for dual 16x slots btw and nvidia chips can open them up to almost 16 16 but no real benifit anyhow

    who would buy a Phenom II rig to get 16 16? not comparing AMD but you would see better performance from a high model i5 with 8 8 lol good one
    1
  • donkeykong2009
    It will be great to see the performance impact on the Games for the Gigabyte board when USB 3.0 and SATA 3 is enabled.
    1
  • Crashman
    donkeykong2009It will be great to see the performance impact on the Games for the Gigabyte board when USB 3.0 and SATA 3 is enabled.


    You can't enable USB 3.0 and SATA 6.0 Gb/s at the same time.
    1
  • Anonymous
    I'm not talking about full speed CrossFireX or SLI at two times 16x PCIe speed. I'm talking about single VGA solutions. I want my HD5970 to run at fullspeed 16x PCIe express and that's not happening if I connect a USB3 or SATA3 device. Even in single VGA setups, the speed will be cut in half on my PCIe 16x slot to 8x.

    I'd rather have the ASUS or MSI (GD85) solution who use an additional PLX chip. The question was about being future proof and the Gigabyte solution is not as future proof as it seems.

    Unfortunately Intel seems to be steering away from the X58 platform. There are more and more P55 motherboards coming out which have high end features. The top end Lynnfield CPUs have no problem outrunning the lower end Bloomfield CPUs. So saying a 1156 is midrange... that's giving it less credit than it deserves.

    Btw, there are P55 mainboards from ASUS, MSI and EVGA with an NF200 chipset which do offer fullspeed dual CrossFire/SLI at 16/16. And those definitely don't have midrange prices. :o
    3
  • apache_lives
    6 core i7 chips for 1366 shortly - i dont think they are steering away from 1366, its there high end platform

    msi products? lol yeah no thankyou

    look at the benchmarks and tell me wether that nvidia chip is worth it, or 99% marketing BS, and paying that premium is stupid when you can get that 1366 platform for a little more with full options for 16 16 if required AND USB3 and SATA3 cards if required or onboard depending on model
    0
  • JohnnyLucky
    Thanks for including a few productivity benchmarks.
    1
  • Crashman
    Nick BergsmaBtw, there are P55 mainboards from ASUS, MSI and EVGA with an NF200 chipset which do offer fullspeed dual CrossFire/SLI at 16/16. And those definitely don't have midrange prices.


    Nor do they have full speed dual x16/x16 PCIe 2.0 bandwidth. NF200 isn't magic, it's simply a PCIe hub with x16 on one side and 2x x16 on the other. Tom's will likely have an article later showing how well this works compared to x8/x8 (p55 native) and true x16/x16 (x58 native) solutions.
    2
  • silentbobdc
    what I'd like to know is who makes the physical CPU socket on each of those boards (maybe it was mentioned but I didn't see it). I'm personally staying clear of foxconn socket based boards until the pin/pad burning problems are fixed. What's the sense in getting a board to OC with if a faulty socket fries everything in short order?
    2
  • Anonymous
    I'm in the market for a P55 board myself, and I like many others have waited a bit to get USB3 and SATA3. So I just want to point out that ASUS have updated their whole P7P55D line into the P7P55D-E line, which incorporates USB3 and SATA3 into all the boards. And as far as I can tell, their solution is far superior to Gigabyte's, as it does not cripple the graphics card. I myself will get the P7P55D-E Pro.
    -2
  • theLaminator
    I just can't see purchasing a P55 board with USB 3 and SATA 6.0 Gb/s. You're going to lose functionality somewhere because of the lack of PCIe lanes. If you want USB 3 and SATA 6 Gb/s get X58 or AM3; both platforms have the lanes to support it, and your graphics solution without compromise.
    1
  • jcwbnimble
    When P55 was being introduced, everyone was talking about how cheap the MB's were going to be since the southbridge was being done away with. What happened to $100 P55 MB's?

    You can get a very good X58 MB for $250, and the I7-920 can be had for $200-$250. So why would anyone spend the same amount of money on an inferior product (P55)?

    Intel seems to have stepped over their own feet with this new chipset/CPU configuration. The only people benefitting from the 1156 is Intel and MB manufacturers. The new CPU's and MB's cost them less, but they are charging almost the same price as the superior I7-920 and X58.
    6
  • theLaminator
    +1 jcwbnimble
    3
  • flyinfinni
    apache_liveswho would buy a Phenom II rig to get 16 16? not comparing AMD but you would see better performance from a high model i5 with 8 8 lol good one

    You are forgetting that the AMD Phenom II 965 provides nearly identical gaming performance to the i5 for a few $$ less, and you can get an x16/x16 graphics solution, or even an x8/x8/x8/x8 quad type setup. Really, that is going to give you a better performance machine for similar cost as an i5/p55 setup. Don't just write off the AMD lines. BTW- I am running and i5 on the MSI P55-GD80 and I love it.

    Also- for what its worth, the article mentions that MSI's OC genie exists, but doesn't say anything more about it, and compares it to the Asus remote thing? totally different things- OC genie is an automated overclock- not just onboard buttons to change OC settings.
    -1
  • flyinfinni
    jcwbnimbleWhen P55 was being introduced, everyone was talking about how cheap the MB's were going to be since the southbridge was being done away with. What happened to $100 P55 MB's?You can get a very good X58 MB for $250, and the I7-920 can be had for $200-$250. So why would anyone spend the same amount of money on an inferior product (P55)?Intel seems to have stepped over their own feet with this new chipset/CPU configuration. The only people benefitting from the 1156 is Intel and MB manufacturers. The new CPU's and MB's cost them less, but they are charging almost the same price as the superior I7-920 and X58.


    The $100 P55 boards still exist and there are some really good ones. Some people want the newer stuff, but still want more options and features. Remember- this is the "Enthusiast" version of the p55 lineup.
    1