Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

MSI P55-GD85 (PCIe Switching)

USB 3.0, SATA 6Gb/s, Motherboards, And Overcoming Bottlenecks
By

The third board in this roundup is MSI’s P55-GD85. With the exception of the company's Big Bang family, this is the highest-end LGA 1156 motherboard you can get from MSI. The board comes with dynamic voltage regulator switching (called APS, or active phase switching), the OC Genie overclocking assistant, dual gigabit Ethernet controllers, heatpipe-based cooling, and a handful of other enthusiast-oriented features.

Though it isn't loaded with as many extras as some of the other high-end P55-based motherboards out there, the P55-GD85 does sport some of the most important additions for a flagship platform trying to introduce next-gen storage peripheral interfaces. For instance, the same PLX 8608 PCI Express switch found on Gigabyte's P55A-UD7 makes an appearance. With MSI's P55-GD85, though, we have a fully-featured board with two x16 PCI Express 2.0 slots able to run on eight physical PCIe 2.0 lanes and still allow the USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s controllers (again, from NEC and Marvell) to receive sufficient bandwidth through switching. In addition to these controllers, the board also sports a controller to enable eSATA.

The main difference between the MSI board and Gigabyte’s latest flagship is the absence of Nvidia's nForce 200 bridge chip. Nevertheless, MSI still has the SLI license needed to expose multi-GPU support using Nvidia-based graphics cards.

Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the Reviews comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

Display all 54 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 21 Hide
    niknikktm , March 24, 2010 2:07 PM
    I am not an AMD fanboy and have never used an AMD processor, but I too have to agree with SpadeM and others that there should have been an AMD board thrown in the mix for comparison. Yes the article is "USB 3.0, SATA 6Gb/s, Motherboards, And Overcoming Bottlenecks", and that is EXACTLY why it should have compared these various "solutions" with a bottleneck free AMD set-up. Just how do the suggested solutions compare with a bottleneck free MB??? Are they adequate and cost effective solutions in comparison?

    That is the real question that needs to be answered because when I go to buy my next set-up, I would like to know if it's worth sticking with Intel P55, or upgrading to Intel X58, or switching to AMD. A true comparison covering this is in order.
  • 19 Hide
    SpadeM , March 24, 2010 10:05 AM
    Even though there is no bottleneck on the AMD platform it would have been ok to post result when it comes to the actual speed difference between these 3 boards and one AMD equipped on .. to see how large is this bottleneck in numbers.

    Just my 2 cents on the matter
  • 19 Hide
    Onus , March 24, 2010 9:05 AM
    Why no AMD boards? It's right there; because current AMD chipsets don't have bandwidth problems:

    Quote:
    AMD chipsets (starting with the 700-series) are fully PCI Express 2.0-compliant and consequently don’t exhibit such a limitation.

    and:
    Quote:
    Let’s focus on AMD for a moment. The company beat Intel to the inclusion of SATA 6Gb/s support in its latest southbridge revision, which complements the 890GX platform. The chipset serves up six SATA 6Gb/s ports natively, requiring no add-on controller at all. USB 3.0 is not yet supported by any chipset, but hooking up a discrete USB 3.0 controller to a single 500 MB/s PCI Express 2.0 link is a common and definitely workable approach.


    AMD's best CPUs aren't as fast as Intel's, but if you're just gaming, you probably won't see a difference. The AMD platform, however, is superior unless you're willing to pay for X58.
Other Comments
  • 19 Hide
    Anonymous , March 24, 2010 6:41 AM
    Unfortunately, Intel is a pain-in-the-a$$ for not picking USB3.0 into their mainstream chip until today.

    AMD sure know what they can give consumers first hand on technology that doesn't need to cost as much as Intel motherboard.
  • 0 Hide
    liquidsnake718 , March 24, 2010 7:04 AM
    Bah... enough of 1156...Its been how many months and still too few X58 USB3.0 boards out there.... what more boards that actually utilize the full 6gb/s.

    Its hard to be as patient waiting for the right technology and at the right time to upgrade...
  • 7 Hide
    wiak , March 24, 2010 7:07 AM
    why no AMD based motherboards?
    why? many of intel motherbaords are limited to pcie 1.1 speed
  • 11 Hide
    rdawise , March 24, 2010 7:19 AM
    wiakwhy no AMD based motherboards?why? many of intel motherbaords are limited to pcie 1.1 speed

    It seems that many of Mr. Schmid and Mr. Roos articles are Intel articles. Not a complaint but just an observation.
  • 19 Hide
    Onus , March 24, 2010 9:05 AM
    Why no AMD boards? It's right there; because current AMD chipsets don't have bandwidth problems:

    Quote:
    AMD chipsets (starting with the 700-series) are fully PCI Express 2.0-compliant and consequently don’t exhibit such a limitation.

    and:
    Quote:
    Let’s focus on AMD for a moment. The company beat Intel to the inclusion of SATA 6Gb/s support in its latest southbridge revision, which complements the 890GX platform. The chipset serves up six SATA 6Gb/s ports natively, requiring no add-on controller at all. USB 3.0 is not yet supported by any chipset, but hooking up a discrete USB 3.0 controller to a single 500 MB/s PCI Express 2.0 link is a common and definitely workable approach.


    AMD's best CPUs aren't as fast as Intel's, but if you're just gaming, you probably won't see a difference. The AMD platform, however, is superior unless you're willing to pay for X58.
  • 19 Hide
    SpadeM , March 24, 2010 10:05 AM
    Even though there is no bottleneck on the AMD platform it would have been ok to post result when it comes to the actual speed difference between these 3 boards and one AMD equipped on .. to see how large is this bottleneck in numbers.

    Just my 2 cents on the matter
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , March 24, 2010 10:12 AM
    It puzzles me why no one noticed that when utilizing a single AMD 5850 GPU, the Gigabyte UD6 board actually has the fastest throughput!

    I'm actually pretty satisfied with a single 5850 GPU card, which is darn fast and good enough for all the latest games), so buying a Gigabyte UD6 board seems the best choice among the 3 reviewed in this article.

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
  • 11 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , March 24, 2010 11:38 AM
    Very informative article. It cleared up some misunderstandings about USB and SATA.
  • 1 Hide
    jdp245 , March 24, 2010 12:03 PM
    I must be missing something. Even with the switching and PLX device, isn't the bandwidth through the PCIe interface more bottlenecked than the SATA 2.0 interface that is natively supported by the 1156 platform? It would be interesting to see a comparison between the tests done here and the performance of the same drive connected through natively supported SATA 2.0 on the same system.
  • 2 Hide
    cknobman , March 24, 2010 12:57 PM
    Can we quit with the AMD fanboy whining already? We dont need to see AMD comparisons in this article but it was very clearly stated MULTIPLE TIMES by the author that there is no bottleneck/performance limitation with AMD platorms. I believe the title of the article is "USB 3.0, SATA 6Gb/s, Motherboards, And Overcoming Bottlenecks" which would indicate that it is covering platforms that have a "Bottleneck" and how to overcome it. So if there is no bottleneck for AMD we dont need to have a review of their parts!!!!

    BTW thank you very much for posting this article I am currently building a Media Server/NAS and was tinkering with both AMD and Intel builds. This just pretty much slammed the door on any intel build.
  • 1 Hide
    HavoCnMe , March 24, 2010 1:13 PM
    First, we need the interface to be twice as fast as PCI-e 2.0 for RAID purposes.
    Second, we need to have HDDs and SSDs that perform above the SATA 2.0 mark (375 MB/s Max Throughput).
  • 2 Hide
    Hupiscratch , March 24, 2010 1:19 PM
    I can wait for the next generation of chipsets (which will possibily have the PCI-E 3.0).
  • 1 Hide
    loydc1 , March 24, 2010 1:24 PM
    I am a AMD fanboy and have used only AMD cpu's for 10 years and when i built computers for friends i only use AMD! So it seams that infell is not as good as they say.
  • 1 Hide
    jay236 , March 24, 2010 1:34 PM
    This is why I bought 1366 over 1156!
  • 3 Hide
    HavoCnMe , March 24, 2010 2:03 PM
    The LGA1156 technology was dead when it arrived. The only thing it has is the removal of the northbridge. I won't and would never buy the 1156-series. It was retarded that they just didn't make them all LGA1366. But that is marketing for ya.
  • 21 Hide
    niknikktm , March 24, 2010 2:07 PM
    I am not an AMD fanboy and have never used an AMD processor, but I too have to agree with SpadeM and others that there should have been an AMD board thrown in the mix for comparison. Yes the article is "USB 3.0, SATA 6Gb/s, Motherboards, And Overcoming Bottlenecks", and that is EXACTLY why it should have compared these various "solutions" with a bottleneck free AMD set-up. Just how do the suggested solutions compare with a bottleneck free MB??? Are they adequate and cost effective solutions in comparison?

    That is the real question that needs to be answered because when I go to buy my next set-up, I would like to know if it's worth sticking with Intel P55, or upgrading to Intel X58, or switching to AMD. A true comparison covering this is in order.
  • 8 Hide
    milki654 , March 24, 2010 2:19 PM
    Totally agree with niknikktm +1
  • 0 Hide
    BigStack , March 24, 2010 2:32 PM
    This makes for an interesting tradeoff if someone doing a build now. There not a lot of USB/SATA 3.0 peripherals out there yet. The Intel CPUs are plainly better, but they have this IO bottleneck that will be a future issue.

    Are the next gen AMD CPU's (Bulldozer, Et Al) going to be backwardly compatible with the current gen Mobos (meaning with the use AM3.) I could see buying a current gen AMD CPU/Mobo, if I can just swap out the CPU later when they catch up to Intel. But if I have to swap out the mobo also, what am I gaining now, when I can't really buy anything to plug into the higher speed ports?
  • 1 Hide
    Ogdin , March 24, 2010 2:32 PM
    Unless they use raid 0 ssd's a amd vs intel comparison isn't in order.Because a single drive would show no difference,it only shows up on some of the intel boards when you run 2 video cards.......as they have clearly shown in the article.
  • 4 Hide
    dgingeri , March 24, 2010 2:33 PM
    Those of you who have used Intel's ICH9R and ICH10R for a large RAID 0 array, you might have noticed that adaptor is extremely bandwidth restricted as well.

    I have a 4X 750GB Caviar Black drives on my ICH10R right now, and the entire array only gives 200MB/s transfer rate. each drive alone gives 110, and a 3 drive array gives the same 200MB/s rate. So, I have concluded that it must also be restricted to a single PCIe 1,1 x1 lane.

    Intel really has fallen short on the performance of their chipsets. they've focused on the processor so much, they've forgotten that the other parts of the computer count too.

    Again, more marketing, less engineering and support. Intel needs to refocus on what really matters, providing their customers what they need, and not on just making more money. Provide for the customer and the money will follow. Follow the money and it will lead to ruin.
Display more comments