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

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Gigabyte P55-UD4P

Gigabyte makes a copious amount of P55 models and actually sent us three for this round up. The first one we'll be looking at is the UD4P. At $180, this board isn't cheap but it is still relatively affordable for consumers looking to start a new Core i5 or Core i7 build.

Gigabyte GA-P55-UD4P Motherboard

 Layout and Features

LGA-1156 i5 / i7 Processors

Four 240-pin DDR3 SDRAM DIMM sockets
Supports DDR3 2200 / 1600 / 1333 / 1066 MHz
Up to 16 GB max
Expansion Slots
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 slot (x16)
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 slot (x8)
3 x PCIe x1 slots
2 x PCI slots

SATA 1-6 support Intel Matrix Storage Technology
AHCI / RAID 0/1/5/10
Realtek® ALC889A audio codec
7.1-channel HD audio

Dual LAN (10/100/1000) Realtek RTL8111D
Back Panel I/O
10 x USB 2.0 ports
2 x RJ45 LAN jacks
2 x IEEE1394a port
1 x Coaxial S/PDIF out port
1 x Optical S/PDIF out port
1 x PS/2 keyboard or mouse port
2 x eSATA ports
6 audio ports

Rear I/O panel shield
SLI bridge
4 x SATA data cables
IDE/PATA cable
User's guide
Drivers and utilities disk

Form Factor
ATX 12 x 9.6 inches ( 30.5 cm x 24.5 cm )

3 years limited (parts and labor)


Something to note on the design of this particular sample is that it slightly differs from the retail model. While similar in many ways, the southbridge heatsink is missing the Gigabyte logo and several of the expansion slots sport various colors. Retail offerings use only white and baby blue slots.

If you're unfamiliar with Gigabyte motherboards, their trademark feature is called Ultra Durable 3. This design uses 2 ounces of copper for both the power and ground layers of the PCB, and promises to lower system temperature by dissipating heat from critical areas of the board more efficiently. Gigabyte also claims this feature lowers impedance up to 50%, improves signal quality, lowers EMI, and improves overclocking. The company also makes use of solid Japanese capacitors, lower Rds MOSFETs, and ferrite core chokes. All of which help with long term reliability for consumers. 

This board presents a well designed layout that is common for Gigabyte products. The CPU socket area is compatible with large, aftermarket heatsinks, while memory stick installation and removal is an effortless affair. In addition, the UD4P features right angled SATA ports that aren't blocked when large videocards are in use. Historically, the Gigabyte motherboards we've reviewed flaunt impressive board design and for the most part, the UD4P delivers. As their midrange offering, the absence of onboard power, reset, or clear CMOS buttons wasn't totally surprising but would've made a nice touch if included.

Gigabyte included a basic accessory bundle with the UD4P. It includes four SATA cables, an IDE cable, SLI bridge, I/O shield, user's guides, and a drivers/utilities disk. The absence of a USB/Firewire expansion bracket is understandable in this case, and you'll see why in the following section. At any rate, a few more SATA cables would have been appreciated. 

The rear panel on the UD4P is loaded. Here we find a PS/2 keyboard or mouse port, optical and coaxial S/PDIF out, two Firewire connectors, two RJ-45 LAN jacks, 6 audio ports, two eSATA connectors, and ten USB 2.0 ports. Did we miss anything? Needless to say, this board gives you plenty of room to grow. 

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