Since this is PCSTATS' first
review of an Intel P55 Express motherboard, it's a little difficult to compare
GA-P55-UD3R to other solutions for Intel's Core i5 700-series and Core i7
800-series of processors.
However even from preliminary testing, it's easy to see
that motherboards based on Intel's P55 Express chipset are going to become
popular. If you're looking to build a new PC from the ground up, I wouldn't
hesitate to adopt the Core i5 and P55 motherboard platform at all.
Part of this is because the P55 Express chipset inherits
the popularity of Intel's P35 and P45 Express chipsets, in the same way Core i5
will inherit the legions of Intel Core 2 Duo and Quad owners looking to upgrade
to the next great intel processor.
Intel's P55 Express is otherwise a good little piece of
engineering. The Intel P55 Express shakes up the age old
CPU-Northbridge-Southbridge architecture and replaces it with a faster, more
effective solution that cuts the design from three chips down to two. Intel's
P55 Express chipset has a lot more bandwidth and should suffer fewer
Unfortunately the same can't be said with Intel's
confusing branding. Remember that if you're building a "Lynnfield" system,
you're going to need a Core i5 700-series, a socket 1156 compatible cooler, a
dual channel DDR3 memory kit, and of course a motherboard based on the Intel P55
Express chipset, like the Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3R that PCSTATS tested today.
Under testing Gigabyte's
GA-P55-UD3R motherboard proved to be a solid board that has a lot of extra
features but not too many needless frills.
Gigabyte has loaded the GA-P55-UD3R with extra SATA II
3Gb/s ports (eight internal and two eSATA),10 USB ports on the I/O panel, and a
good mixture of PCI and PCI Express expansion slots. Both stock and overclocking
performance were right in line with other Intel P55 Express motherboards.
Gigabyte has also added its Smart 6 utility suite as an
additional bonus. While a few of the utilities could use a few more features
(like the system logging tool), Smart 6 does offer some genuinely unique
functionality to Gigabyte's motherboards.
Is this enough to make the Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3R stand
out amongst the tidal wave of Intel P55 Express-based motherboards coming to a
PC store near you? Not really, but sometimes it's better to have a solid feature
set and a decent price rather than tacking on gimmicky extras like LCD displays
and special water cooling nipples that most buyers won't ever use.
Retailing for about $150 CDN ($140 USD, £85 GBP), the
Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3R motherboard represents a solid entry to Intel's P55 Express
chipset. It gives you all the features and performance to unlock the true
potential of a quad-core Core i5 processor, at a competitive price that makes it
easy to include in a mainstream computer system. Recommended.
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