P55 Motherboard Round-up: Asus, EVGA, GB, Intel, MSI - HotHardware

P55 Motherboard Round-up: Asus, EVGA, GB, Intel, MSI

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Some might say that there has never been a better time to be a PC enthusiast. Compelling new products fighting for our attention abound, as the computer hardware scene is bursting at the seams with upgrade options. For example, it wasn't long ago that AMD launched the world's first DX11 videocard and now the company features a full lineup of products at a wide variety of price points. NVIDIA's answer to the Radeon HD 5000 series has just arrived as well, and the battle for dominance in the graphics market is as fierce as ever. SSDs are also becoming increasingly more affordable, while the release of SATA 6Gbps opens the door to a new generation of faster drives. Equally important, huge 1TB hard drives can be purchased for less than $100, allowing us to backup and store copious amounts of data without breaking the bank.

No matter which of the aforementioned breakthroughs piques your interest, we all have specific reasons for choosing and buying one product over another. But during these difficult economic times, consumers need to be smarter than ever and demand more value for their money. PC hardware companies are left with the task of creating products that provide the performance we seek, while also offering compelling value.

Consequently, the demand for affordable, high performance computing components has brought about Intel's P55 chipset. Initially launched in September 2009, P55 based motherboards are attractive options for those looking to build a new, mainstream system. Its no secret that this platform was created in order to target mainstream consumers that balk at the high overall cost of a flagship X58-based system, but still want the features and performance of Intel's Nehalem microarchitecture. The demand for such products was so high that motherboard makers seemingly had no choice but to saturate the market with multiple P55-based boards that cater to almost every type of PC consumer.


We understand that shopping for a motherboard can be arduous and complicated. In particular, the mountain of choices available only adds to the challenge, especially when you analyze the different features of each board and various price points. Fret not system builder, HotHardware has recruited a small army of P55 motherboards in order to compare the features and performance of each.

P55 Motherboard Battle Royal
Let's Get It On!

  Asus P7P55D Deluxe
$220

EVGA P55 SLI
$180
  EVGA P55 Classified
 $340
  Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD4
 $150
  Gigabyte GA-P55-UD4P
 $180
  Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD6
 $250
  Intel DP55WG
 $140
  MSI P55-GD65
 $160


Our round up features boards with a wide range of price points, from the affordable Intel DP55WG to the extravagant EVGA P55 Classified.  But they all sport Intel's P55 chipset platform with processors that feature integrated memory controllers, on-die PCIe 2.0 connectivity, enhanced Turbo Mode performance, dual channel memory, and plenty of expansion options. With motherboards, companies usually offer models at several price points in order to provide options to different types of consumers. This empowers buyers--like you--to make the optimal choice for your specific situation. So, let's take a closer look at each product to see what sets them apart from the rest of the pack.

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Great article on a motherboard roundup it is articles like this that really help solidify someones purchasing decision as you can see the results mono E mono. All the scores looked pretty close to one another except when you factored in overclocking where the Asus and Gigabyte boards pulled away. It was interesting though how on the gaming benchmarks all boards were neck and neck. All in all it appears if you are looking to a P55 motherboard there are plenty of choices out there it also appears the best bang for the buck is to go the P55 route. Wink

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Excellent article, really helped break down the differences (albeit typically minor) between boards.

As a bit of article feedback: I felt that there was a lot of information on each board. I realize that it's important to list the featureset/design of the boards, but I feel that it would be a clearer and more concise article to basically say: "all P55 boards share these features.... then go on to basically only mention differentiating ones, like extra lan or SATA3.

The conclusion and graphical results really helped compact that information into more useful form.

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Awesome article as always! the graph in the end compared all of them with the gigabyte P55A-UD6 wining everyone but the physical disks!

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This is an amazing review. This is why I love this site!

A review like this has just cut down on months of research and questions about what features we all look for. I know personally I have spent alot of time looking for a new motherboard. Then it has gotten to the point to where my brain was about to explode.

I was about to give up on the choice of any of the Intel boards, because most seemed to focus on using Nvidia onboard. Which I found to conflict with using an ATI GPU.  So it is good to know which ones don't.

I have been wanting to try one of the Intel boards, because of the use of Turboboost. They say this is very useful in workstation performance. Some of these EVGA boards look amazing, yet they have a reputation for not being to reliable. It is good to know that, through this review that the Gigabits have emerged victorious.  I have narrowed my choice down to that one manufacturer. Now I am still just stuck with the conundrum of AMD or Intel!

I never really thought about the X55 boards, but thanks to this article. I am now really thinking about it. Seems they have all the features I am looking for Optical out, massive RAM, Good USB connections and Crossfire.  Also some of those EVGA boards are really cool looking. I guess we will have to see if the prices come down in the next few months. Or if the Egg comes down with some really good combo deals!

My main concern would be the upcoming Opteron processors and their comparative performance going up against the I-Series?

Now if HH could just do a current comparison review such as this, for the current AM3 Motherboards? Trying to find the best value for those, with all these great features really gives me a headache :(

Either way, Cracking review Grommet :)

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Is it just me or is the EVGA P55 Classified warped?  It looks like the board is trying to smile from the side.  For a $300 board, I sure hope it didn't look like that out of the box.

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I was thinking the same thing Infinity....After all the appearance is the only thing we get from these boards on the internet, but I'm sure it doesn't usually come like that, and the boards can warp a great deal and not be damaged.

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Holy crap. Looking at these tests definitely surprised me in just how close each of these boards were in terms of scores. 

The P55A-UD6 performed the best in overall scores, I can't agree with you guys more. What REALLY surprised me was that not only did it perform all the other boards, but it uses the least amount of power on idle and load times. THAT was really surprising and impressive. 

I believe that $250 is a very stable price when you consider the overall performance of this bad boy. 

I remember that a friend of mine was trying to explain to me how motherboards don't really matter when building a PC, but this article just proved him wrong I bet. 

I occasionally go to cyberpowerpc.com to build a Intel PC there, and I always stall when I come across my motherboard selection. I have always understood what the long lines of text besides the pictures meant, but I had never really understood how each motherboard actually performed. 

Speaking of which, there was something noteworthy I figured that I should mention. On cyberpowerpc's website, under the motherboard selection category, I noticed that there are only , UD3, UD5 and UD7 versions of the Gigabyte motherboards to choose from, but the HH reviewed the UD6 version. 

I'm curious of why cyberpower doesn't display the UD6 version but will still sell previous versions and the newer, Flagship version model: UD7. 

I'm sure it's nothing, but I've always wondered why cyberpower does things like that haha. 

Another worthy mention, is the other advantage that the Gigabyte motherboards have on all the other boards that were reviewed here: USB 3.0

The Gigabyte P55A-UD6 boasts TWO USB 3.0 slots that none of the other board models currently offer. 

Obviously, the USB 3.0 ports will become more valuable when external devices are able to utilize the massive bandwidth that is now available to them.

I'm glad you guys agree. The 2 USB 3.0 slots are definitely future-proofing material for the computer. Unless you are willing to wait until 3.0 hits mainstream, this Mobo is definitely the one to get, and I would definitely consider it the best bang for your buck. 

Excellent review guys. 

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@animatortom Not sure if you want to do Crossfire on these boards. If you got the money for Crossfire, I would suggest increasing your budget a little more to the X58 motherboards because those support dual PCI-e x16. They won't be limited to an x8 configuration on the P55.

 

@Marius Malek Nothing wrong with waiting until USB 3.0 hits mainstream. Asus makes a PCI-e x4 card that adds USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB/s for around $30. Also not a bad thing to wait until a more refined controller comes out or when it is supported on the chipset itself. I think someone mentioned (or in that Asus Rampage III news post) that most current controllers share the bandwidth which means a decrease in performance when multiple devices are connected. So waiting isn't so bad.

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@animatortom Not sure if you want to do Crossfire on these boards. If you got the money for Crossfire, I would suggest increasing your budget a little more to the X58 motherboards because those support dual PCI-e x16. They won't be limited to an x8 configuration on the P55.

 

This is more of a comment on the first part, but running current ultra-high end cards at 8x has a ~2% performance loss. An X58 board is typically at least ~100 more; the P55 is capable and cheaper.

Of course what's to stop next-gen cards from being absolutely crippled by 8x :(

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sp12:

@animatortom Not sure if you want to do Crossfire on these boards. If you got the money for Crossfire, I would suggest increasing your budget a little more to the X58 motherboards because those support dual PCI-e x16. They won't be limited to an x8 configuration on the P55.

 

This is more of a comment on the first part, but running current ultra-high end cards at 8x has a ~2% performance loss. An X58 board is typically at least ~100 more; the P55 is capable and cheaper.

Of course what's to stop next-gen cards from being absolutely crippled by 8x :(

 

Do you have a link to those benchmarks? I know it isn't anything big, but I thought it was bigger than 2%.

 

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