Go Go Gadget, TurboV
The P7P55D Evo sees the return of Asus' TurboV functionality, which enables real-time manipulation of overclocking settings, including clock multipliers, frequencies, and voltages from within Windows. Asus claims that the version currently on our engineering sample isn't final. Rather, the shipping P7P55D Evo will sport what the company calls its next-gen TurboV utility.
A Silk-Screened Name
Right above the P7P55D Evo's name tag is the first PCI Express x16 slot, which employs all 16 of the Core i5's integrated lanes when you drop a single graphics cards onto the board. Three slots down is the second x16 slot, which breaks into x8 signaling when you drop in another card. The ICs between the two slots are responsible for automatically dividing available PCI Express connectivity between them when you use a pair of graphics cards.
EPU, Back Again
The board includes Asus' second-generation EPU technology. While we've looked at this technology in the past, finding it largely ineffective on the energy-efficient platforms most likely to enable it, we'll be curious to see how its behavior changes when paired to a Core i5 processor, which is architecturally very different from the Core 2 Duo tested previously.
Ports, Headers, And Buttons
In its current trim, the P7P55D Evo boasts eight SATA ports: six 3 Gb/s connectors derived from the P55 PCH and two stemming from Marvell's 6 Gb/s controller. Naturally, the two Marvell-based ports are currently disabled, but the P55's connectors work fine. As with Intel's ICH10R, P55 includes Intel Matrix Storage technology with software support for RAD 0, 1, 5, and 10. According to Intel, a new user interface will accompany this release of Matrix Storage software.
Access to the chipset's remaining USB and FireWire ports comes through headers at the bottom of the board, which you can either attach to front-panel connectors or rear-accessible breakout cables.
Of course, the convenient power and reset buttons we've grown accustomed to are down there, as well (not necessarily in the most convenient place, but for an open-air test bench, they work fine).
One Last Look
The board, once again. We're looking forward to testing this and other P55-based designs before Intel actually launches its Core i5 processor a little later this year. When the time comes, you can be sure we'll have comprehensive coverage. In the meantime, we'll continue previewing boards/compatible coolers as they arrive in our lab.