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ASRock P55M Pro

Compact P55: Four MicroATX Motherboards Tried And Tested
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Board revision 1.02; BIOS 1.9

ASRock’s P55M Pro targets the upper-mainstream, including a few items and features that the P55 chipset native lacks. This is the only microATX board in ASRock’s P55 portfolio. The board comes with a FireWire 1394a controller with one port, and ASRock implements two of the P55’s six SATA 3 Gb/s ports as eSATA ports. Interestingly, they come as shared USB 2.0 ports—you can use either one or the other. However, there are some eSATA storage devices available, such as eSATA thumb drives, that require this type of port. eSATA alone is not capable of supplying power to the storage device.

The board has five-phase voltage regulators (4+1 design), which should really be sufficient for most processor overclocking scenarios. For some reason, this board showed the highest system idle power—not just a little, but as much as 15W. At the same time, it showed the lowest system peak power consumption when using a Core i5-750 processor overclocked to 4.0 GHz. ASRock’s BIOS option to enable power savings (Intelligent Energy Saver) was switched on during the testing.

The board comes with legacy interfaces, including parallel and serial ports and an IR header. It even offers PS/2 mouse and keyboard connectors, a feature only MSI matches. There is a floppy controller, as well, which still might come handy if you want to install anything but the latest Windows version and need storage drivers in the process. Four out of the six SATA 3 Gb/s ports are available for internal devices—plenty for an average desktop PC.

The additional expansion slots leave plenty of room for expansion, as there is one x1 PCIe slot and a conventional 32-bit PCI 2.3 slot. ASRock wins a few of the benchmarks, but basically delivers performance within the expected range. Sometimes it’s in front (DivX) and sometimes behind (MainConcept). Ultimately, performance shouldn’t be the key factor in your purchase decision.

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  • 11 Hide
    dirtmountain , January 29, 2010 6:15 AM
    Cool! So far that's only 26 P55 motherboards tested. You're only about 1/3 of the way through testing every P55 board available at Newegg. Keep up the good work.
Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    tacoslave , January 29, 2010 6:10 AM
    Intel should have made a universal socket so you could put a i3 or an i7 in the same board. Just want to throw that out there.
  • 11 Hide
    dirtmountain , January 29, 2010 6:15 AM
    Cool! So far that's only 26 P55 motherboards tested. You're only about 1/3 of the way through testing every P55 board available at Newegg. Keep up the good work.
  • 0 Hide
    notty22 , January 29, 2010 7:59 AM
    Theres a mistake about the MSI board, SLI certification is NOT given to this hardware . From what I've read, its a minimum of 8x 8x to qualify.
    http://us.msi.com/index.php?func=prodmbspec&maincat_no=1&cat2_no=170&cat3_no=&prod_no=1890#menu
    SLI certification also adds to the cost of the board.
  • 0 Hide
    falchard , January 29, 2010 8:18 AM
    Wow an MSI low end board that didn't die. If they can keep this up they will be ASUS's main competitor.
  • 0 Hide
    micky_lund , January 29, 2010 9:59 AM
    woot for gigabyte..too bad they didn't test the ud4 a while ago, with the budget boards >:( 
  • 0 Hide
    foody , January 29, 2010 10:10 AM
    tacoslaveIntel should have made a universal socket so you could put a i3 or an i7 in the same board. Just want to throw that out there.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115214&cm_re=i7-_-19-115-214-_-Product

    I know what you meant but still, technically you were wrong.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 29, 2010 12:18 PM
    I see that the max power requirement with overclocking was 256w.
    Does this mean that the 750w psu used was a overkill?
    Or more importantly- could this setup work with a 400w psu with sufficient
    amp. on 12v rail?
  • 0 Hide
    icerock , January 29, 2010 12:59 PM
    Very nice, keep up de good work. But it would be nice to see some h55/h57 motherboards tested in the near future.
  • -2 Hide
    Reynod , January 29, 2010 1:53 PM
    Good point icerock

    +1
  • 3 Hide
    thejerk , January 29, 2010 3:31 PM
    Another win from Gigabyte. Awesome!
  • 0 Hide
    tpi2007 , January 29, 2010 4:04 PM
    I helped my computer illiterate cousin set up a relatively affordable computer but with decent components and brand new technolgy running a brand new Core i3 530 and the motherboard of choice was this Gigabyte model being reviewed here.

    And although the board is only supposed to support the new new dual-core Core i3's and i5's from Bios version F6, I was able to boot it using the factory F3! So no hassles in trying to get the neighbours i5 750 to boot it up and upgrade the bios.

    I know articles like this are normally written sometimes weeks in advance, but I wonder if Bios F6 or even F7c have any impact on lowering power consumption ?

    Anyway, I find it a very good board for the money, very nice touches like eSata, lots of internal Sata ports, and all the Ultra Durable 3 quality features; it's got everything a person could want (except if you have lot of add-on cards and/or want to run Crossfire or SLi.)

    But I'm left with a question: the first photo that shows all the motherboard bozes on top of each other has and Asus model, but you didn't review it. What happened ?
  • 0 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , January 29, 2010 5:12 PM
    Good article. Looks like we are heading toward a more complete form of standardization. As usual, thanks for inlcuding mainstream benchmarks.
  • -1 Hide
    etrnl_frost , January 29, 2010 5:30 PM
    It's about time. Now I can start looking at a PC update... my mini p180 case awaits Windows 7! I feel like I need to get with the times :) 
  • 0 Hide
    lothdk , January 29, 2010 5:47 PM
    As others have said, what happened to the Asus board you have pictured?
    Also, on page 6 you have the ASRock listed as having 2 PS/2 Mouse ports.
  • -3 Hide
    chechak , January 29, 2010 5:48 PM
    i just wait for NVIDIA NEW CHIPSET
  • -1 Hide
    chechak , January 29, 2010 5:49 PM
    i 'll just wait for new nvidia chip also new nvidia GPU card ...like it or not
  • 0 Hide
    masterasia , January 29, 2010 6:25 PM
    Out of all these boards, I would pick the MSI GD-45. It has a lot of features from it's big brothers GD-65 and GD-80. I'm currently using the GD-65 and it's pretty stable. Although, if I were to build another P55 board, I would choose the ASUS Maximus GENE III. The onboard sound on that board is pretty good.
  • 0 Hide
    tacoslave , January 29, 2010 9:40 PM
    chechaki 'll just wait for new nvidia chip also new nvidia GPU card ...like it or not


    me too usually the ati's prices drop by 25% after nvidia releases there new cards and ive had my heart set on a 5870.
  • 0 Hide
    falchard , January 29, 2010 11:50 PM
    zipzoomflyhighI've owned 4 MSI board and none of them have died.


    I own an MSI board and video card too. I love them, but I also accept the fact MSI hasn't been known for their board quality. Its been increasing in recent years.
  • 0 Hide
    jojesa , January 30, 2010 2:59 AM
    They are able to cram all these in this small form factor but they cannot make a BIOS that post in less than 10 seconds.
    With Windows 7 and SSD the BIOS is becoming the bottleneck in the system, since it takes more time in the BIOS than loading the OS.
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