Similar Bang For Fewer Bucks?
The great news for enthusiasts who chose to wait for LGA 1156 before taking the plunge into Intel’s Nehalem architecture is that these boards cost around $100 less than similarly-equipped LGA 1366 platforms. Buyers can forget what they knew about former high-end build prices and instead refer back to the glory days of high-end LGA 775 price structures. And while this kind of pricing competitiveness isn’t doing any favors for manufacturers, even the slimmest profit margins should look great in light of anticipated sales volumes.
That means our so-called “budget” P55 motherboard round-up of a month ago, in fact, was loaded with mainstream products similar in added features to $200+ X58-based models, while this month’s $150+ round-up of P55 boards compares added features to X58 products that cost roughly $250-$300.
Yet one feature missing from all P55-based products is the second 16-lane PCI Express (PCIe) 2.0 slot, which has been available to Intel buyers exclusively through X58 and earlier X48/X38 chipsets. Some die-hard technology extremists might say that this disqualifies any P55 product from being considered enthusiast-class, but we won’t go that far. Just as the budgets of some auto enthusiasts compel them to buy custom-tuned economy cars, the budgets of many PC enthusiasts will lead them to explore their P55 options.
We consider a few of those options beginning with page two's feature comparison list.