We've just received some interesting images and information regarding a couple of motherboards Asus has coming down the pipeline. The two motherboards you see pictured below are the P7P55D-E Premium and the P6X58D Premium, for Intel's Lynnfield (Core i5, Core i7 800 series) and Bloomfield (Core i7 900 series) platforms, respectively.
As its name suggests, the P7P55D-E Premium is built around Intel's P55 Express chipset and sports an LAG1156 socket for Core i5 and Core i7 800 series processors. Alternatively, the P6X58D Premium features Intel's X58 Express chipset and an LGA1366 socket, for more powerful Core i7 900 series processors.
It is not the core logic on these products that differentiates them from other motherboards, however. It is their implementation of SATA 6G and USB 3.0 support. Both SATA 6G and USB 3.0 build upon their respective base technologies by offering vastly increased bandwidth--up to 6Gbp/s for SATA 6G and 4.8Gb/s for USB 3.0.
Both of these motherboards feature a Marvell 9123 6G SATA controller, which powers a pair of white SATA ports on the boards. In addition, instead of connecting the controller directly to the PCIe Gen 1 lanes available in the P55 chipset, the Marvell 6G SATA controller is linked to the chipset via a PLX8613 PCI Express Gen 2 bridge. The PLX8613 is connected to the P55 via four Gen 1 PCIe lanes, but links to the Marvell controller via single Gen 2 lane, offer up to 500MB/s of peak bandwidth.
The same is true of the NEC USB 3.0 controller found on both boards. The USB 3.0 controller passes through the PLX8613 as well.
According to Asus, the SATA 6G and USB 3.0 implementations on the P7P55D-E Premium and P6X58D Premium motherboards eliminates a potential performance bottleneck that could occur with the controllers connected directly to the chipset via a single PCIe x1 lane.
We hope to have both of these motherboards in the lab soon, and will keep you posted as more information becomes available.