Extreme P55: Four LGA 1156 Motherboards Over $250

Nothing But The Best?

Nothing But The Best?

What defines a high-end system? Many proclaimed enthusiasts have expressed to us that the LGA 1156 platform simply wouldn't be a suitable starting point for them, simply because it’s not designed to host a large number of high-bandwidth devices, such as graphics cards. And yet, most games don’t need more than a single Radeon HD 5970 to play at super-high settings. Moreover, not every high-end user wants to play games all day, and companies like EVGA and MSI have a workaround for those whose graphics desires exceed what Intel's mid-range platform was really designed to do.

Setting aside the debate over P55's suitability for hosting multiple graphics cards, a few key advantages that could put a shiny new LGA 1156-based processor into the hands of a high-end user include higher efficiency, higher stock performance via improved Intel Turbo Boost ratios, better overclocking, and reduced heat output for those who desire a quiet workstation build (there's a reason Intel came to market with its Xeon 3400-series CPUs, after all).

Today’s contenders for P55 supremacy run the gamut from a $250 gamer's board with advanced overclocking features to a $280 premium model with all the latest interfaces and a $340 product that supports a nearly insane number of up to six graphics cards. Our next page details the features that each motherboard boasts in an effort to overcome the mainstream market stigma associated with P55-based platforms.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.