P55 Motherboard Round-up: Asus, EVGA, GB, Intel, MSI
Performance Summary: Comparing motherboards that use identical chipsets can be somewhat monotonous. After all, every single one of these boards provides the same high-level feature set to consumers, though each board offers its own different set of miscellaneous bells and whistles obviously. Our performance benchmarks prove that the difference between these eight boards was minimal. However, our test suite allows us to measure small variations and provides you with quantitative results that removes ambiguity from the discussion. Regardless, all of these motherboards still stack up tightly together, in terms of raw performance.
The Recommendation: Boiling our analysis down here is not as clean, however, as the numbers might paint. All told, we would recommend any one of the motherboards we looked at for you here in this round-up. And as such, technically, they all would be worthy of our "Recommended" award. Even from the standpoint of the board that consistently brought up the rear in our benchmarks (the MSI P55-GD65), you really can't go wrong with any of these products and again, our benchmark variances were mostly negligible in terms of end user perceptible performance. At the end of the day, it all boils down to assessing what your personal needs are in a motherboard and then matching up the features and price points that you feel suit you best. Hopefully we've helped you along that path a bit in the previous pages.
And in reality, if price is primary gating item for you, the MSI P55-GD65 is one of the cheapest boards in our round-up at $159.99 currently on Amazon. Beyond that, there are some stand-outs in the field of products we tested and we'll list them for you here...
An Honorable Mention: Inevitably, we assume the majority of consumers will use cost and features as the deciding factors in any buying decision. In this regard, it's hard to ignore Intel's DP55WG as an economical choice for system builders who want a product that offers all the important options and simply works. It is one of the most affordable P55 boards on the market and the least expensive option in our round-up (found as low as $140 at various etailers). Taking a look at our results, the Intel motherboard turned in a respectable performance, usually scoring somewhere in the middle of the competition. If you don't require the highest overclock or a luxurious bundle, consider the DP55WG.
The Cadillac: On the other end of the spectrum sits EVGA's P55 Classified motherboard. At $340, it is one of the most expensive P55 boards available. While the price makes it unattractive to the majority of consumers, the board is made specifically for the extreme enthusiast market, and caters to the overclocking crowd making use of subzero cooling. The Classified performed pretty well in PCMark Vantage, Cinebench, and 3DMark06, but turned in average results for the most part. But keep in mind we limited most of our testing to stock speeds and voltages, and even our overclocking results only made use of air cooling; the Classified was obviously designed for more torturous testing. With that said, if you are trying to break world records or want to win overclocking competitions, we think the P55 Classified is the board of choice.
The Runner-Up: Another solid performer in our testing was the Asus P7P55D Deluxe. Besides looking fantastic, Asus packed the bundle with extra goodies for those who enjoy tweaking their system to perfection. In addition, the board fared considerably well in all of our SANDRA benchmarks, while also displaying respectable overclocking capability. To top it off, the P7P55D Deluxe finished second in our fully loaded power consumption results, coming in behind Gigabyte's micro ATX model. This is particularly impressive since we consider the Asus motherboard a high end, enthusiast class product and expected it to consume much more juice than it actually did. Though at $220, it carries a high price tag that will turn off budget minded consumers, but we feel it is still worthy of consideration.
Grabbing Gold is Gigabyte's GA-P55A-UD6 Motherboard
But if we were to take every feature into consideration and choose one board to use as the foundation of our next build, which one would it be? We don't give out Editor's Choice awards very often around here, but sometimes a product leaves us no choice. Admittedly, a roundup article gives us a perfect opportunity to do so, since we're able to look at so many offerings all in one fell swoop. With a retail asking price of $250, the features of the UD6 cost a pretty penny. Although, a little bit of searching allowed us to find it online for about $210 after rebate at Newegg. Still, the price of the board is not ideal but we feel you get what you pay for in this particular case. Throughout testing, one Gigabyte board stood out as the best motherboard in this comparison group. It consistently achieved the highest scores, the most FPS, and overclocked more aggressively than the competition. The P55A-UD6 finished first in 9 out of 12 different categories of our benchmark suite, all while providing a generous accessory bundle, and an excellent layout that made good use of its high-end components. If you're in the market for a new P55 motherboard that offers the one of the best experiences possible, we highly recommend Gigabyte's P55A-UD6.