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We had more than two months to play around with our P55 boards. Generally speaking it's good to wait always before buying new stuff, because after some time you can expect mature boards that will not cause much troubles.
We tested two boards in the sub €100 market, one in the sub €130 market and two which we consider high-end, as they cost upwards of €160. While the boards perform around the same level they only differentiate by features and layout.
A fast recap of the P55: This is now called Platform Controller Hub, which in fact is a Southbridge. To avoid competition to the X58 platform all eight PCIe 2.0 x1 lanes are crippled to half speed, so you get PCIe 2.0 x0.5. This causes all sorts of problems for vendors who want to integrate USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps, at least there is no hard drive which can fully utilize SATA 6Gbps, but for SSDs this feature could be interesting.
We think the LGA 1366 offerings have no merit, besides one memory channel more, which gave us the odd 3GB, 6GB and 12GB memory configurations, the LGA 1156 offers faster speed at same clock due to higher turbo modes. This will not change as long Intel comes not out with it's 32nm offerings. Besides that, Hyperthreading doesn't work most of the time, and only a few applications can benefit from the feature. For Gamers and highly optimized applications it may even slow down the performance.
Also the lower power consumption despite the included northbridge of the i5 line makes it the perfect choice for most users. Compared to the X58 platform we noticed all BIOSes have changed the C-States setting to enabled, whereas the X58 platform has that option disabled. With an i5-750 that costs only 0.5% performance, but saves a lot in idle and even shaves off some wattage under load.
several P55 boards provided by ASRock, Elitegroup, Intel and MSI
MSI 790FX-GD70 (provided by MSI)
MSI DKA790GX (provided by MSI)
Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P (provided by Gigabyte)
Intel DX58SO "Smackover" (provided by Intel)
Intel Core i5 750 (provided by Intel)
AMD Athlon II X4 620 (provided by AMD)
AMD Phenom 9650 (provided by AMD)
AMD Phenom II 810 (provided by AMD)
AMD Phenom II 905e (provided by AMD)
AMD Phenom II 955 Black Edition (provided by AMD)
AMD Phenom II 965 Black Edition (provided by AMD)
Intel Q9450 (provided by Intel)
Intel Q(X)9650 (provided by Intel)
Intel Core i7 920 (provided by Intel)
Intel Core i7 975XE (provided by Intel)
Scythe Kabuto (provided by Scythe-Europe) for AMD and Intel E/Q
Thermalright Ultra 120 eXtreme 1366 (provided by Thermalright) for Intel 1366
Thermalright MUX-120 1156 (provided by Thermalright) for Intel 1156
Kingston 2GB Kit PC2-9600U KHX1200D2K2/2G (provided by Kingston)
1066MHz CL5-5-5-15 CR2T at 1.90V for AMD DDR2
Qimonda 3GB Kit PC3-8500U (provided by Qimonda)
1066MHz CL7-7-7-20 CR1T at 1.55V for Intel i7
Kingston 3GB Kit PC3-10600U KHX1600D3K3/2GX (provided by Kingston)
1333MHz CL7-7-7-20 CR1T at 1.50V for AMD DDR3 and Intel P55
1440MHz CL7-7-7-20 CR1T at 1.50V for Intel P55
1600MHz CL8-8-8-23 CR1T at 1.60V for AMD DDR3 FSB overclocking
1644MHz CL9-8-8-23 CR1T at 1.60V for Intel P55
1800MHz CL9-8-8-23 CR1T at 1.65V for Intel P55
MSI R4850-2D1G-OC (provided by MSI)
PC Power & Cooling Silencer 500W (provided by PC Power & Cooling)
Samsung F1 1000GB (provided by Ditech)
SilenX iXtrema Pro 14dB(A) (provided by PC-Cooling.at)
Cooler Master Stacker 831 Lite (provided by Cooler Master)
All tests are performed with XP SP3. As 64-bit software is still not very common, we stick with the 32-bit version.