Hardware has managed to snap some pictures of both Asus' and MSI's P55 motherboards and although neither company seems to be quite ready at this point in time, we have a feeling that Computex could well be the launch time for socket 1156 processors and motherboards.
Asus is showing off two models, the P7U and P7U Pro, with the difference between the two being that the Pro model has a pair of x16 PCIe slots. Both boards have a single, open ended PCIe x4 slot, two PCIe x1 slots (three for the P7U) and a PCI slot. Then there are four DDR3 memory slots, five SATA, an IDE, four USB 2.0 headers for eight USB 2.0 ports and get this, a floppy connector. Around the back you'll find a PS/2 port, six USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, eSATA, FireWire and 7.1-channel analogue audio.
There's a big empty space that seems to be reserved for an HDMI or DisplayPort connector as well as a DVI and D-sub connector. There's also a space near the memory modules which should house a Turbo Memory module, but the slot is missing.
The MSI board goes under the name of G7P55-DC or the MS-7581 and it is a higher-end board than the two from Asus. MSI has fitted it with three PCIe x16 slots, two PCIe x1 slots and two PCI slots. There's of course four DDR3 memory slots and MSI has gone for eight SATA connectors, a single IDE connector, four additional USB headers for an extra eight USB 2.0 ports and just like Asus, a floppy connector. Around the back you'll find two PS/2 ports, six USB 2.0 ports, FireWire, eSATA, a DVI and D-sub connector, dual Gigabit Ethernet and 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF out.
A couple of oddities with this board include three extra buttons in addition to the power, reset and clear CMOS buttons. These extra buttons are meant to be for overclocking usage, but we're not sure exactly how this will work. MSI has also added a row of jumpers near the x16 PCIe slots which seems to be used for switching the mode of the slots, but we hope MSI will implement a digital switch before this board ships. MSI also claims CrossFireX and 3-way SLI support for this board.
The new CPU socket is quite different to the LGA-1366 socket used for the Core i7. It still has a metal lid that needs to be lifted up, but the design has been simplified and the lid is hooked into a bolt that is attached to the PCB of the motherboard. It's easier to open (we had a quick play a few days ago), but a little bit tricky to close, as it's flopping around somewhat due to the hinge construction. It's also worth noting that both Asus and MSI have used very simple, passive heatsinks on the P55 chipset which is promising.
You can find the Asus pictures here
and the MSI pictures here