Skip to main content

Enthusiast P55: Eight LGA 1156 Boards Between $150 And $200

Features Overview

Sub-$200 Core i5/i7 Motherboard Features
 ASRock P55 DeluxeAsus P7P55D EVOBiostar TPower I55EVGA P55 SLI
PCB Revision1.061.06G5.11.0
ChipsetIntel P55 ExpressIntel P55 ExpressIntel P55 ExpressIntel P55 Express
Voltage Regulator18 Phases (16+2)14 Phases (12+2)12 Phases (8+4)10 Phases (8+2)
BIOS1.70 (09/15/2009)0711 (09/24/2009)080015 (09/05/2009)080016 (10/02/2009)
133.3 MHz BCLK139.6 MHz (+4.7%)133.7 MHz (+0.28%)133.3 MHz (+0.0%)133.2 MHz (-0.10%)
Clock GeneratorICS 9LPRS140CKLFICS 9LPRS140CKLFRTM85N-914ICS 9LPRS139AKLF
Internal Interfaces
PCIe 2.0 x163 (x16/x1/x4, x8/x8/x4)3 (x16/x1/x4, x8/x8/x4)2 (1 x x16 or 2 x x8)3 (x16/x1/x4, x8/x8/x4)
PCIe x1/x41/02/01/11/0
Legacy PCI3222
USB 2.03 (6 ports)3 (6 ports)3 (6 ports)3 (6 ports)
IEEE-13941111
SerialPort11NoneNone
ParallelPortNoneNoneNoNo
FloppyYesNoYesNo
Ultra-ATA 1331 (2-drives)1 (2 drives)1 (2 drives)None
SATA 3.0Gb/s6866
4-Pin Fan2211
3-Pin Fan3225
FP AudioYesYesYesYes
CD AudioYesYesYesNo
S/PDIF I/OOutput OnlyOutput OnlyOutput OnlyBoth
Power ButtonYesYesYesYes
Reset ButtonYesYesYesYes
CLR_CMOS ButtonJumper OnlyJumper OnlyJumper OnlyYes
Diagnostics PanelNumericPass/Fail LEDsNumericNumeric
I/O Panel Connectors
P/S 22211
USB 2.08 (1 Shared w/eSATA)886
IEEE-13941111
NetworkDual (with teaming)Dual (with teaming)DualDual
eSATA1 (Shared with USB)122
CLR_CMOS ButtonYesYesNoYes
Digital Audio OutOptical+CoaxialOptical+CoaxialOptical+CoaxialOptical+Coaxial
Digital Audio InNoneNoneNoneNone
Analog Audio6666
Mass Storage Controllers
Chipset SATA6 x SATA 3.0Gb/s6 x SATA 3.0Gb/s6 x SATA 3.0Gb/s6 x SATA 3.0Gb/s
Chipset RAID Modes0, 1, 5, 100, 1, 5, 100, 1, 5, 100, 1, 5, 10
Add-In SATAJMB363 PCIe 1 x eSATA 3.0Gb/sJMB363 PCIe 1 x eSATA 3.0Gb/s 1 x SATA to JMB322 JMB322 to 2x SATAJMB363 PCIe 2 x eSATA 3.0Gb/s88SE6121 PCIe 2 x eSATA 3.0Gb/s
Add-In Ultra ATAJMB363 PCIeJMB363 PCIeJMB363 PCIeNone
IEEE-1394VT6308S PCI 2 x 400Mb/sVT6308P PCI 2 x 400Mb/sLSI L-FW3227-100 PCI 2 x 400Mb/sTSB43AB22A 2 x 400Mb/s
Gigabit Ethernet
Primary LANRTL8111DL PCIeRTL8112L PCIeIntel WG82578DC PHY88E8057 PCIe
Secondary LANRTL8111DL PCIeRTL810SC PCIRTL8111DL PCIe88E8057 PCIe
Audio
HD Audio CodecALC890BVIA VT1828SALC888SALC889

Setting a 133 MHz base clock on the ASRock P55 Deluxe enables the firm's Intelligent Overclocking Technology function, even when that function has been disabled. Instead choosing a 134 MHz base clock disables I.O.T., but gives ASRock a slight speed advantage in the benchmarks. We’ll keep that slight advantage in mind when discussing result charts.

Sub-$200 Core i5/i7 Motherboard Features
 Foxconn Inferno Katana GTIJetway HI05Gigabyte P55-UD4PMSI P55-GD65
PCB Revision1.01.01.01.0
NorthbridgeIntel P55 ExpressIntel P55 ExpressIntel P55 ExpressIntel P55 Express
Voltage Regulator10 Phases (8+2)8 Phases (7+1)10 Phases (6+4)7 Phases (6+1)
BIOS080015 (09/17/2009)080015 (09/04/2009)F4r (09/18/2009)1.3 (09/03/2009)
133.3 MHz BCLK133.7 MHz (+0.28%)133.3 MHz (+0.0%)132.9 MHz (-0.32%)133.7 MHz (+0.28%)
Clock GeneratorICS RS4105BLICS 9LPRS919HKLICS 9LPRS914EKLFMSI LRS4116AL
Internal Interfaces
PCIe 2.0 x163 (x16/x1/x4, x8/x8/x4)2 (1 x x16 or 2 x x8)2 (1 x x16 or 2 x x8)2 (1 x x16 or 2 x x8)
PCIe x1/x42/02/03/02/1
Legacy PCI1322
USB 2.03 (6 ports)3 (6 ports)2 (4 ports)3 (6 ports)
IEEE-1394None011
SerialPortNone111
ParallelPortNone11None
FloppyNoNoYesYes
Ultra-ATA 1331 (2 drives)1 (2 drives)1 (2 drives)1 (2 drives)
SATA 3.0Gb/s6687
4-Pin Fan1121
3-Pin Fan5233
FP AudioYesYesYesYes
CD AudioYesYesYesYes
S/PDIF I/OOutput OnlyOutput OnlyBothOutput Only
Power ButtonYesYesNoYes
Reset ButtonYesYesNoNo
CLR_CMOS ButtonJumper OnlyYesJumper OnlyJumper Only
Diagnostics PanelNumericNumericNoNo
I/O Panel Connectors
P/S 21112
USB 2.088108 (1 Shared w/eSATA)
IEEE-1394NoneNone21
NetworkSingleDualDual (with teaming)Dual
eSATANone121 (Shared with USB)
CLR_CMOS ButtonYesYesNoNo
Digital Audio OutOptical+CoaxialOptical+CoaxialOptical+CoaxialOptical+Coaxial
Digital Audio InNoneNoneNoneNone
Analog Audio6666
Mass Storage Controllers
Chipset SATA6 x SATA3.0Gb/s6 x SATA3.0Gb/s6 x SATA3.0Gb/s6 x SATA3.0Gb/s
Chipset RAID Modes0, 1, 5, 100, 1, 5, 100, 1, 5, 100, 1, 5, 10
Add-In SATANoneJMB363 PCIe 1 x eSATA3.0Gb/sJMB363 PCIe 2 x SATA3.0Gb/s JMB362 PCIe 2 x eSATA3.0Gb/sJMB363 PCIe 1 x SATA3.0Gb/s 1 x eSATA3.0Gb/s
Add-In Ultra ATA88SE6111 PCIeJMB363 PCIeJMB363 PCIeJMB363 PCIe
IEEE-1394NoneNoneTSB43AB23 PCI 3 x 400Mb/sVT6315N PCIe 2 x 400Mb/s
Gigabit Ethernet
Primary LANRTL8111DL PCIeWG82578DC PHYRTL8111D PCIeRTL8111DL PCIe
Secondary LANNoneRTL8111DL PCIeNoneNone
Audio
HD Audio CodecALC888SALC888ALC889AALC889
  • enzo matrix
    interesting
    Reply
  • skora
    There's two market segments. Once you get the features you need, there's overclockers, and stock users. I've never seen a mobo recommended based on its application performance and all thats looked at is how well it OCs. Hopefully, people read the article and don't just go buying biostar expecting the regular quality of gigabyte or asus though the asus is a little overpriced here for my taste. That $25 can go towards a better GPU, but I'm a gamer.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    enzo matrixinteresting
    Gigabyte had some additional interesting news about the new P55A-UD4P, where the addition of the letter "A" supposedly means "Advanced" and refers to the addition of SATA 6.0 Gb/s and USB 3.0 controllers. Unfortunately, it wasn't ready when the comparison was written. The "A" also cost slightly more.
    Reply
  • ibnsina
    For $15 more is best to go for the newly released Giga-byte GA-P55A-UD4P, the extra’s you get are:-

    2 x USB 3.0
    2 x SATA 6Gb/s.

    $184.99 on newegg.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    ibnsinaFor $15 more is best to go for the newly released Giga-byte GA-P55A-UD4P, the extra’s you get are:-2 x USB 3.0 2 x SATA 6Gb/s.$184.99 on newegg.
    $15 for all that sounds great, unless those features are useless to you. SATA 6.0 Gb/s will remain completely useless until long after the board is outdated, and USB 3.0 is nothing more than an eSATA substitute at the moment.
    Reply
  • apache_lives
    Why do we bitch about IDE and FDD connectors? If your using windows xp and IDE hdd/dvd drives your should be ashamed, and even then you can get USB floppys etc, and if you are using those fittings you are not getting the true performance out of your modern system, and IDE also makes boot times longer thanks to detection and legacy delays - cudos to those who ditch those ports in an effort to modernise modern systems, and to those who keep them - its like adding ISA ports to the board - times up.
    Reply
  • cahl
    The new P55A-UD4P has better power phasing, 12+2 vs 8+2 on the old gigabyte UD4P, and probably more stuff aswell, like the LOTES socket, well worth the extra $15 to me.
    Reply
  • bigballinggpr
    You don't bring up MSI's board at all in the conclusion. . . i'm a little curious as to what your final thoughts are on it.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    apache_livesWhy do we bitch about IDE and FDD connectors? If your using windows xp and IDE hdd/dvd drives your should be ashamed, and even then you can get USB floppys etc, and if you are using those fittings you are not getting the true performance out of your modern system, and IDE also makes boot times longer thanks to detection and legacy delays - cudos to those who ditch those ports in an effort to modernise modern systems, and to those who keep them - its like adding ISA ports to the board - times up.
    You mean complain? Like you're complaining right now? It's all a matter of logic: There are probably more Windows XP users carrying over their old OS into a new build than there are Ultra ATA users carrying over their ancient hard drives. Therefor, the floppy interface, as outdated as it is, is more useful than the Ultra ATA interface.

    The problem as described is that you PAY for an Ultra ATA controller. Why bother? Even if you're an XP devotee you probably don't WANT to pay for an Ultra ATA connector.

    But for most motherboards, the floppy interface is free. It doesn't slow down boot times or performance either, if you don't need it you can ignore it.

    Well, maybe you can't ignore it, but a logic dictates over emotion in reviews.

    THG has no reason to love or hate the floppy connector, no stake in the legacy OS game, but anyone reader who wants to play the hater deserves to be called out for it. As for the manufacturers, honest reporting is Tom's Hardware's goal. Personally, I like the fact that some manufacturers provide legacy features and others don't, both types of products work well.
    Reply
  • doomtomb
    with only a single PS/2 port left behind to support the older mice occasionally preferred by seasoned gamers

    This is from the page on the EVGA P55 but you can clearly see it is a purple PS/2 port which is for keyboards... lol
    Reply