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Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD2

Compact P55: Four MicroATX Motherboards Tried And Tested
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Board revision 1.0; BIOS F5

Gigabyte sells a staggering total of 20 motherboards based on the P55 chipset. Two of them employ the microATX form factor: the P55M-UD4 and the P55M-UD2, which we received for this review. Both utilize an additional two ounces of copper, which Gigabyte claims improves signal quality and reliability. While the UD4 is an enthusiast-class microATX motherboard that supports both ATI's CrossFireX and Nvidia's SLI, as well as a 12-phase voltage regulator, the UD2 board only supports CrossFire, and it has to get along with a six-phase voltage regulator. All of Gigabyte's differentiating features, such as DES (Dynamic Energy Saver), DualBIOS, and EasyTune are naturally enabled. This board impressively demonstrates that a full suite of overclocking options can be made available at an acceptable cost.

The board comes with twin x16 PCI Express slots. The first runs 16 PCIe 2.0 lanes, while the second slot is powered by four 2.5 GT/s PCIe lanes through the P55 chip. Since the secondary PCIe slot can also be used for x1 and x4 cards (and should, in our opinion), Gigabyte decided to plant two conventional PCI slots onto the board rather than more PCIe connectivity. 

Four DDR3 DIMM slots accommodate up to 16GB of memory. Gigabyte also adds a secondary storage controller, which provides two more SATA 3 Gb/s ports and an UltraATA/133 controller for legacy storage devices. Four of the P55-based SATA ports, as well as the two additional ports, are bent by 90° to make sure they can be used, even if long expansion cards are installed.

Gigabyte’s back panel is pretty crowded, and that's a good thing. You'll find a PS/2 connector that will auto-detect the keyboard or mouse you plug in. A total of 10 USB 2.0 ports are available, along with analog and digital audio jacks, including digital optical and coaxial outputs. Finally, Gigabyte’s FireWire 1394a controller offers two ports, with one being available in the connector panel. The gigabit Ethernet port is an obligatory inclusion these days. The position of the floppy header at the bottom of the board is not ideal, but at least it’s there on the off chance you need to use it. If you enlarge the motherboard shot (first image on this page), you'll notice that all connectors are either well-labeled or color-coded.

Our average power consumption and total power used efficiency runs were highest on the P55M-UD2, placing it last in our efficiency test. However, this may very well be the result of Gigabyte’s focus on features and quality, as the DES feature was already enabled. The board ran our Core i5-750 reliably at 4.0 GHz, but at higher power levels than the competition.

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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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