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

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Intel Warrensburg DP55WG

Intel Completes Wind River Acquisition

Unlike Asus and Gigabyte, Big Blue, i.e. Intel, isn't as well known for their enthusiast class motherboards, but they are making advances in this area and would like to change that.


Intel DP55WG Media Series Motherboard

 Model BOXDP55WG
 Layout and Features

Processor
LGA-1156 i5 / i7 Processors

Memory
Four 240-pin DDR3 SDRAM DIMM sockets
Supports DDR3 1600 / 1333 / 1066 MHz DIMMs
Supports up to 16 GB max
   
Expansion Slots
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 slot
1 x PCIe 2.0 x8 slot
1 x PCIe 2.0 x4 slot
2 x PCIe 2.0 x1 slots
2 x PCI bus connectors
   
RAID
Intel Matrix Storage Technology for SATA

Audio

Intel High Definition Audio subsystem
Realtek® ALC889 audio codec

Networking
Gigabit (10/100/1000 Mbits/s) LAN subsystem
Intel 82578DC Gigabit Ethernet Controller


Back Panel I/O
8 x USB 2.0 ports
1 x RJ45 LAN jack
1 x IEEE1394a port
1 x S/PDIF In
1 x S/PDIF Out
8 -Channel Audio I/O

Accessories
4 x SATA data cables
SLI bridge
Rear I/O shield
Quick start guide
Drivers and utilities disk


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


Warranty
3 year warranty from date of purchase
Includes technical support, parts, and labor

Price
$140



With eight P55 boards in this comparison, Intel's DP55WG is the most economical choice at $140. But don't let the low price fool you. This product provides all of the advantages that the P55 chipset offers without a lot of frills. We find that this board's feature set is ample, and the board delivers in the performance department. 

 

The layout of the motherboard is relatively bare, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. We do like the fact that Intel installed a POST code LED for troubleshooting purposes. Also, we were surprised to find a small, onboard power switch by the memory slots. It would've been awesome to find a reset switch as well but no luck. The DP55WG's only heatsink is located on the P55 chipset. Unlike the rest of the boards we're looking at today, there are no heatsinks surrounding the CPU socket area.

At this price point, we weren't surprised to find a limited bundle inside the box but Intel included enough to get things started. The DP55WG includes a quick reference guide, an I/O shield, drivers disk, four SATA cables, and an SLI bridge. In this case, we feel a couple more SATA cables would be ideal to correspond with the motherboard's six SATA ports.

Pictured above is a spacing issue we ran into while testing the DP55WG. With a graphics card installed in the top PCIe slot, it became impossible to open the bottom set of memory slot retaining clips. This layout forces you to remove an installed videocard before being able to access the RAM. We admit this a minor problem, but an inconvenience nonetheless. Intel should have swapped the placement of the top PCIe X16 slot with a PCIe x1 slot, resulting in more room for the retention clips to open and averting this issue altogether.

The back I/O panel features several ports for connectivity. Here, we find optical S/PDIF in and out, one Firewire port, eight USB 2.0 ports, a single RJ-45 LAN jack, clear CMOS button, and 6 audio jacks. We can't blame Intel for deciding to do away with PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports as we haven't used either in years.


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