EVGA P55 Classified 200 Motherboard Sneak Peek

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News Posted: Fri, Sep 18 2009 6:30 PM
We have shown you a myriad of P55-based motherboards over the last few months and featured a trio of high-end offerings in our coverage of the official Lynnfield launch from a couple of weeks back. The latest P55-based motherboard to hit the HotHardware labs, the EVGA P55 Classified 200, differentiates itself from every other P55-based mobo we've seen with a host of unique features.

A few of the features that make the EVGA P55 Classified 200 so interesting are its 10-phase digital VRM, gold-infused CPU socket, its expansion slot configuration, and the board's myriad of overclocking / tweaking related options.

As you can see, the EVGA P55 Classified 200 is built around a dark colored PCB with black and read accents. There is a large heatsink covering the digital VRM and a smaller EVGA-braded heatsink on the chipset itself. A third heatsink rests atop the nForce 200 PCIe switch that enables the board's expansion slot configuration.

 
  

 

 
EVGA P55 Classified 200 Motherboard, Click Images For Larger View

You'll also notice if you look closely around the CPU socket area, that the EVGA P55 Classified 200 has mounting holes for both LGA775 and LGA1156 compatible coolers--should come in handy for upgraders. There are other unique touches almost everywhere you look around this board though. For example, the LED POST code error reporter doubles as a CPU temperature sensor once the system has fully booted, there are a bank of jumpers to disable PCIe lanes, there are power, reset, and clear CMOS buttons right on-board, and an additional clear CMOS button in the I/O backplane.

The CPU socket itself is also home to a couple of cool features. For one, the socket's gold content is 300% higher than most other boards for better electrical conductivity. And Low Inductance Ceramic Capacitors (LICC) are used in the socket for increased efficiency. The EVGA P55 Classified 200 also sports three BIOS EPROMS, and a switch that gives users the ability to choose between them, should users want to save different profiles, or even experiment with multiple BIOS revisions.

At the upper edge of the board, just behind the DIMM slots, EVGA has also incorporated something it calls "Show Volt". For lack of a better explanation, the Show Volt feature is essentially an integrated volt meter--the LED screen will read-out voltages probed from the contact pads along the top edge of the board. Of course, the board's all PCI Express slot configuration, with 6 physical x16 slots (5 x PCIe x16 / x8, 1 x PCIe x4, 1 x PCIe x1) is also unique amongst other P55s.

This board still has more to offer, namely EVGA ECP V2 and EVBot controllers, but we'll have to save some details for the full review. For now, enjoy the preview, and stay tuned to HH for more in the coming weeks.

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3vi1 replied on Fri, Sep 18 2009 7:20 PM

That looks to be a killer board, but I don't buy EVGA on principle.

I once wasted months tracking down infrequent system crashes that turned out to be caused by a defective EVGA video card. Eventually I found a lot of other customers were having the same problem with same card (and getting cards with the same defect for their RMA replacement). I really think they should have issued a product recall. It'll be a long time before I'm willing to take a chance on them again.

Of course that was just one product...  your experience may vary.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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Kyouya replied on Fri, Sep 18 2009 7:28 PM

3vi1, you raise an interesting point because I have been thinking of buying the EVGA GTX 260 for my new PC I am going to build. I wonder which video card you are talking about. As for the motherboard, I am torn between the Asus and Evga boards. It's also difficult to purchase these motherboards when there aren't any quality CPU heatsinks (LGA 1156) out there.

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3vi1 replied on Fri, Sep 18 2009 7:56 PM

The card was an "EVGA 512-P3-N867-AR GeForce 9600GT SSC 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI".

Looking at the NewEgg reviews, it's evident that I was far from the only person burnt by this poorly QA'd card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130330

It's funny that you mention Asus.  I wasn't willing to play RMA-roulette and waste my time with EVGA, so I replaced my video card with an Asus EN9800GTX, and never had another problem again.  Also, I have an Asus motherboard in my primary desktop system, and other than the Northbridge running a little hot (as was the norm for the Strike Formula II's... it's never gotten so hot as to be a problem) it's probably the best motherboard I've owned in a long time.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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rapid1 replied on Sat, Sep 19 2009 1:45 PM

I don't have a lot of experience with EVGA, however I have heard positive and negative on them. This has mostly been of a positive nature, so hearing the other side of the picture is nice.

I will say one thing between a debate of EVGA, or ASUS I don't think there would really be a lot to question. I know every manufacturer has problems especially on bleeding edge products. What I know of and about ASUS kind of rules much of these worries out. I would say ASUS is definitely the most trusted (at least in my mind), I generally use ASUS or MSI on the MB choice. I do run a DFI MB in my desktop, that was kind of a instant decision though, I will most likely not ever use them again.

Please don't get me wrong DFI is not necessarily bad, I just don't like some of there BIOS work. Not to mention this board never received a BIOS update past the initial one, and it could have used one for sure. To end what I am saying if I was choosing between ASUS and almost any other manufacturer other than MSI or maybe Gigabyte there would not be much of a choice.

OS:Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit
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Dallas replied on Sat, Sep 19 2009 2:09 PM

My 2 Cents. I used to run ASUS exclusively but in the last few years the quality seems to have diminished as it apparent by reading the reviews at newegg as well. And from my reading of their RMA process, it has become a nightmare although I have no experience with it. I had a similar problem with a vid card that was in an HP. They kept replacing the card with the same one until several years later they finally sent out a replacement so it is not just one company that has these problems. My experience with EVGA has always been good, with good Customer support and by reading the reviews on newegg, sure they have problems but they seem to be on top of things when it comes to resolving them these days, so IMHO, it seems that both companies have had changes occur, one for the worst and one for the better.

My jump into the P55 realm will likely be an HTPC so this would not be the board I choose but I would likely choose a different EVGA as it is my first choice followed by ASUS.

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ClemSnide replied on Sun, Sep 20 2009 2:11 AM

Hm. Can I let this one pass without adding a comment? No, I cannot.

Asus hasn't been great for me. Part of that was Vista, but I had the deuce of a time getting my K8U-X motherboard to work-- I try to keep it running as long as I can because it sometimes hangs on boot at the logo screen. The board supports SATA rather indifferently, requiring a PATA drive to hold at least the bootrec file even if you continue booting from the SATA. Trying to track down the drivers for the nVidia controller was also a mess; Asus tech support blamed nVidia, nVidia blamed Asus, and their customer support left me with a profound dislike for both companies. (Eventually I found that I had to run anh application-- not a traditional driver file-- to get the SATA drives working.)

Overclocking? Fuhgeddaboudit. I couldn't even get a 5% speed bump (admittedly using only a slightly better CPU cooler than the default). Yes, I may have been given a bum CPU (AMD Athlon 3000+), but you'd think I would be at least able to squeeze a LITTLE more out of it.

The previous system I had was a VIA motherboard and an AMD processor, which ran like champions for years till they died. Now that I'm venturing into the world of system building with a P55, Asus is on my list, but isn't the top pick-- I'm liking the Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3R.


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rapid1 replied on Sun, Sep 20 2009 4:11 AM

Yeah ClemSnide I have been thinking about a Gigabyte to, I really like there thick PCB boards. Maybe I will see about getting one of those, who knows I am waiting a very short bit before I order the parts. I definitely want an aftermarket cooler on this system. Those are pretty much slim to none for the new Intel chipset boards. I think I found 2 and 1 I might use ( I like at least a 120mm fan) as there quieter with better performance.

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GPU:Geforce GTX 770 4GB
Mem:***ingston 16384MB RAM
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starwhite replied on Mon, Sep 21 2009 3:42 PM

Pretty nice board.

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ClemSnide replied on Tue, Sep 22 2009 8:04 AM

@rapid1: There have been a bunch of high-end CPU coolers released recently; my top two picks are the Prolimatech Megahalems and the Xigmatek Thor's Hammer, both of which get very good reviews. Of course the choice of a fan for the CPU cooler is also important; the Megahalems doesn't even come with one. I'd go with a Scythe Kama Flex or Gentle Typhoon to keep the noise level down.

My thinking on a CPU cooler is that this is one place it's best to go overboard. Once it's on, you do NOT want to replace it! And somewhere down the line, you may wish to see just how much juice you can get out of that i7 860.


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Travisx2 replied on Fri, Sep 25 2009 9:20 PM

How long ago were people having issues with EVGA?

I've got an 8800GT which seems pretty quality to me.

And The MB looks cool but I'm not buying anything else until the new MSI Board that allows Mixing/Matching Different Video card brands comes out:

http://www.i4u.com/article27129.html

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