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ECS P55H-AK: P55/NF200 Versus X58 In 3-Way SLI

The P55 Challenger, Continued

ECS P55H-AK Basic O/C Settings
BIOS Versionv.1.0 (08-04-2010)
CPU Core-.090 to +0.945 Volts (15 mV), 100-600 MHz BCLK (1 MHz)
CPU IMC-0.80 to +0.63 Volts (10 mV), 16x-18x BCLK (2x)
Memory-0.8 to +0.63 Volts (10 mV), 3x-6x BCLK (1x)
Memory TimingtCL 3-15, tRCD 3-15, tRP 3-15, tRAS 9-63 Cycles (1c)
Chipset-0.8 to +0.63 Volts PCH

The P55H-AK has a wide range of voltage settings and a high-enough frequency ceiling to assure that the overclocking limits of nearly any LGA 1156 processor can be reached.

Though the BIOS menu of the P55H-AK is advanced from ECS’ previous high-end attempts, it’s still a little basic compared to its hardcore competitors. Little items, such as having to set the “Performance Level” to Enhanced just to unlock multiplier controls are somewhat annoying.

Simplicity can be a good thing for beginners however, and we certainly found enough adjustments to set up our processor just the way we wanted. DRAM, for example, was changed to DDR3-1600 at CAS 7-7-7-21, using a 200 MHz BCLK to reach a CPU clock of 4 GHz.

A 1.38 V setting allows our Core i7-870 to run happily at 4 GHz at low heat, producing an actual voltage of approximately 1.36 V. A 14-phase voltage regulator keeps the system extra stable, just in case we need more.

ECS includes three flexible SLI bridges, allowing builders to configure three-way SLI by using the longer bridge to cross the other two bridges at the center card. The extra-important front-panel USB 3.0 breakout plate is also included, along with a slot-panel adapter for those who prefer more connections out back.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • TheRockMonsi
    Well, if I'm shocked at anything, it's that the P55 platform actually outdid the x58 on some benchmarks. From a pure video card usage's perspective, you really won't be missing out on anything going for the P55 over the x58.

    And while this makes the P55 look good, what really sucks - if you're looking into the longevity of the P55 motherboards anyway - is that the new "Sandy Bridge" CPU's coming out in 2011 will feature a 1155 socket instead of an 1156, which means upgrading to a new motherboard.
    Reply
  • rmmil978
    Very interesting reading, a bit shocked at the outcome. P55 can really be a viable alternative to X58 after all, even for the enthusiast crowd.
    Reply
  • adbat
    Yes the 1156 platform is going bye bye it's realy sad.
    But i think that it shows that moving PCIa to CPU die is not a good idea as P55 with additional chip wins in the end - even the power usage test.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    adbatYes the 1156 platform is going bye bye it's realy sad.But i think that it shows that moving PCIa to CPU die is not a good idea as P55 with additional chip wins in the end - even the power usage test.Remember that in this case, the additional chip is acting as a signal repeater. That is to say, you really don't need more than sixteen lanes from the CPU, for optimal SLI performance you only need those same 16 lanes to feed all graphics cards simultaneously.
    Reply
  • tacoslave
    TheRockMonsiWell, if I'm shocked at anything, it's that the P55 platform actually outdid the x58 on some benchmarks. From a pure video card usage's perspective, you really won't be missing out on anything going for the P55 over the x58.And while this makes the P55 look good, what really sucks - if you're looking into the longevity of the P55 motherboards anyway - is that the new "Sandy Bridge" CPU's coming out in 2011 will feature a 1155 socket instead of an 1156, which means upgrading to a new motherboard.yeah i hate how they took of one pin just to f@#$ with us.
    Reply
  • compton
    What an awesome board ECS has put together. I'd like to see a full review of this board - I'm intrigued with the effort ECS has put it to make what seems like a excellent piece of gear. Perhaps this will result in the trickle down effect if ECS is successful, that is, maybe starting at the high end will result in better mid- and low- range boards.
    Reply
  • Nvidia does not seem to be bothered by continuing production of 65nm NF200. Would like to know if there is any R&D into a die-shrink to 40nm or less.
    Reply
  • martel80
    tacoslaveyeah i hate how they took of one pin just to f@#$ with us.IIRC they didn't just take out one pin but they also redesigned how clocking of the CPU works. 1155 CPUs will have their own clock generator (as opposed to 1156's board-generated clock) and the board needs to support this. They could possibly hack-around this but why would they bother? Sheep will always buy the latest Intel stuff no matter what. :)
    Reply
  • BoxBabaX
    This is an excellent article, nice analysis that I enjoyed reading before bed :).
    Reply
  • dogman_1234
    Now let all the trolls come out about the LGA 1155 release!
    Seriously, as a respective consumer to Intel, i have began to dislike their practices. Why do I not want SB? Hmmm...good question, same reason I do not want P55..short live and full of disaster!
    Reply