Asus P7P55D EVO P55 Motherboard Preview


Asus P7P55D P55 Motherboard
First impressions are this is one very, very nice looking motherboard. With a black PCB and two tone blue effect carried through the various ports and heatsinks on the board, the theme is cold, freezing and simply lush to look at. Even the 24pin and 8pin ATX power slots are colour coded rather than being the bland white slots of old.
P55 front
The first thing I noticed about the new motherboard was that the CPU socket looks so much smaller than the 1366 socket size I am used to. Framing this and in turn framing the CPU, making it look smaller than it actually is, are two weird looking heatsinks. Presumably, these heatsinks are anodised aluminium as with the P5Q range of motherboards and not the Cobalt metal the colour would have us believe. Interestingly, these heatsinks are further away from the edge of the motherboard than previous models which may or may not be a good move depending on you choice of cooling. What certainly is a good move is the 14+2 power phase design of the board which should ensure that overclocks will come thick and fast with this motherboard.
CPU Socket Memory slots
As previously stated, the memory configuration differs from the i7/X58 range of motherboards in that the P55 boards will run with dual channel only but with the point to point interface of P55, memory speed will hopefully be such that bandwidth will not be a problem. I have never really advocated the absolute need for triple channel memory anyway and while I do welcome progress, I don't think the eventual P55 users will notice any serious performance drops, they just won't notice the gain i7 users have. It's nice to brag about numbers but in all honesty, I have yet to notice any tangible difference between Dual and Triple channel setups. E-peen hunters will however no doubt beg to differ on this opinion. Squint your eyes a little and you may notice that the memory slots have clips to just one side. This is because with the primary PCIe slot located so close to the memory, removing said memory with the GPU in position will be a difficult task indeed. This neat little design allows memory to be added or removed without disturbing the graphics card.
PCI Express bandwidth is one area which may or may not be the downfall of P55. With the ever increasing bandwidth requirements of GPU's, PCIe lanes become all important. Single card users need not worry as the P55 comes with a full fat PCIe 2.0 standard GPU slot which provides all the bells and whistles X58 does. This bandwidth however is split between two ports (x8 + x8) should you wish to use a dual card configuration. Again this is not so much of a problem with mid - high end cards as PCIe 2.0 x8 provides just as much bandwidth as PCIe 1.1 x16. The problem however arises when one wishes to use 2 top end cards such as ATI's 4870x2 and NVidias GTX295 in Crossfire and, if this board does support it, SLI. These monster cards will suffer some (though not too much) throttling by using 8 lanes instead of the full 16. Admittedly though, users of these extremely expensive GPU setups would most likely plump for X58 anyway so this is a null point but a point worth making nonetheless.
Next we arrive at what appears to the the Southbridge but is in effect the NB, or should I say P55 chipset core itself. The heatsink does not look like what will be the final design as I would expect a much more intricate design to be employed. Also note the white outline which serves to back up this assumption. The chip itself functions more or less like the traditional ICH chip of old, controlling the same functions bar memory. This controller acts as a one chip for all, and replaces the dual ICH and MCH chips on previous designs with the one chip controlling all of the I/O functions in one place.  As with Core i7, Lynnfield cores will have an on-board memory controller and will also act as as the PCIe controller.
Perhaps one of the biggest upgrades you are likely to get with P55 is the introduction of SATA-III. Judging by the picture above at least that's what I assume it is as the current standard is 3GB/s not the 6GB/s advertised on the mainboard. Either way there are 6 of these ports controlled by Intel and a further two (white slots) controlled by the Marvel Controller.
Finally, we arrive at the I/O backplate area which is no different from high end X58 motherboards. The P7P55D EVO features a whopping 8 USB ports, Firewire, dual LAN ports, 10 Channel audio courtesy of 6 3.5mm audio jacks or the S/PDiff output. Asus have also included traditions PS/2 ports for both keyboard and mouse.
There's no doubting that the Asus P7P55D EVO is a premium board despite it's mid range chipset. First impressions are it will be a corking board that will deliver on it's promises. We at OC3D are brimming with excitement over this motherboard and new chipset with everyone gathered around my virtual desk drooling over its form and features. Ushering them away was no easy task as I'm sure it won't be for those lucky enough to eventually get one installed in there PC. Unfortunately, that's about all I can tell you about Asus's P55 EVO for the time being as the NDA is not officially lifted until September unless there is a revised date, in which case you can expect OC3D to let you know those performance figures before you can say 'Gimme that P55 EVO!'.
We will keep you posted on all developments...
Feel free to discuss the preview in our forums.
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Most Recent Comments

14-07-2009, 09:40:46

The board looks nice.

Still unconvinced that yet another new socket is the way to go. Hmmm.

Be better when we've a little more information about it's performance. Right now it looks like a needless budget item (Core2 still rocks the cheap stuff, 920s aren't that expensive).Quote

14-07-2009, 10:08:13

Personally, I'm very confident about the i5 platform. With LGA775 a soon to be discontinued socket, people like myself are less keen to take this route and with AMD offering comparable performance from Celeron 430 to Core 2 Quad Q9650 level and a range of motherboards at very good prices, it'd be great from a DIY customer perspective to see this platform appear asap.

To me, P55/LGA1156 has a lot of potential. By cutting Triple Channel Support, reducing PCI-Express lanes, presumably lower power regulation requirements and a single unified MCP style chipset, the build cost of these motherboards should be considerably lower than X58 and nearer to AMD's 790GX chipset. P55 motherboards ranging from £75 to £150 would hit the spot quite nicely. The i5 CPU's themselves are very much like i7 architecturally and I would expect performance to be quite similar. I'm sure that this will steal AMD's Phenom II thunder.

The P7P55D looks like a well thought out motherboard. The board layout appears very well spaced out and has a good combination of PCI and PCI-E slots. It's pricing that I'm keen to hear about Quote

17-07-2009, 17:42:54

hmmm...makes me think of waiting to buy a new board...looks really nice. I do hope they do some more work on the overall look, the heatsinks i suppose is the only thing that worries me. Especially with some overly large heatsinks.

Looks interesting, shall be nice to see some clocks...Quote

17-07-2009, 18:41:09

Apart from feeling that Intel are eFFing us all with these socket differences..

We gonna get a different socket for i3 also ? They seeing people using the E pentium ranges in higher end 775 boards and getting close to fantastic results and seeing it as a reason they're not requiring to buy the more expensive core 2 cpus. Nipping that in the bud.

ASUS's memory slot with 1 clip will be seen as "something nice", ofc it sounds like u hook the memory in one end and rotate it down, the kinda thing u can do with existing 2 clips if ur being clever. What a load of rot, harping back to ASUS throwing their mobo designs together, they needed to move the slots up some mm - ?? I dunno. U reckon they've put a reinforcing slip of plastic behind the pins to prevent bending if used frequently ? mfm style connectors are ofc meant to be pushed in evenly.

VIA sound is interesting. Just as I'm appreciating Realtek's ALC889a being a very good audio set, it'd be interesting to see what VIA have to say.

Proof of this mobo's pudding is going to be the performance, or what the "P" used to stand for, perhaps we'll see.

New socket spacing for coolers ?

SATA-III will be nice, it's interesting that USB3 hasn't been rushed through, but even so, i7 SSD owners are gonna feel like they've been bent-over cos of this. Perhaps a new i7 range will come out. ASUS generally make 50 mobos for one range anyway

Personally nice to see that the mobo is warped almost as much as the one I was worried about previously. Kinda self satisfying.

Without a very good reason not to be, I still think Intel are eFFing us with this range - not performance wize or anything, but in terms of choice and financially in terms of what u may have to buy at have-to buy prices.

775 I feel still has a heck of a long time to serve, as long as u can source the cpus. Asrock mobos are out there, but they don't appear to be the solid types that come out right at the downturn of a chipset. But ofc the time will come, and still they could be coming with the x68 by then. Perhaps the x58 cpus will fit in them ??

What a mess, and well-done to AMD !

Looking forward to the DATA releases even so, as I have a strong feeling that, like the i7, all the mobos from the other manufacturers are going to relate in a very very similar way performance wize.Quote

17-07-2009, 19:03:52

Gotta say I agree with some of your points. I think it's a big nono to restrict the upgrade path (or downgrade as it were).

I''m quite happy I have i7. The only reason I would want i5 is for SATA3. Other than that I cannot see a reason why anyone would want to change. Obviously I cant go into performance details but I think it's safe to assume the bandwidth will favour the tripple channel i7 to the dual i5. Then there's the PCIe16x vs PCIe8x.

AFAIK both i5 and i3 CPU's will work with P55. i7 is more expensive to produce and as such may have prevented lot of people from upgrading. i5 is theoretically cheaper so should tempt more people away from skt775 but one has to wonder at the logic behind tempting people to upgrade but in a half assed manner as they are still restricted in upgrade path from there.

It remains to be seen if these cheaper to produce prices are passed down to the consumer. I fear if they are not then intel just blasted themselves in the foot with a 12bore shotgun.Quote

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