Motherboard's based on Intel's P55 Express chipset are
going to run the gamut from inexpensive offerings starting at around $100 up to
extreme enthusiast motherboards that will go as high as $400. That's a huge
price range to choose from, especially considering that Intel's P55 Express
chipset and Core i5 and Core i7 800-series processors ensure that most
motherboards will have the same basic performance, as we've seen from
benchmarks. So what exactly does that extra bit of cash get you?
In the case of the $220 CDN ($230 USD, £135 GBP) Gigabyte
GA-P55-UD5 motherboard, the answer is more features and better build quality.
When compared to the $130 Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3R, the UD5 has support for NVIDIA SLI and
more power phases.
important of these features is NVIDIA SLI support. While NVIDIA's Geforce
videocards have been taking a beating in the past few months thanks to ATI's
5000-series of videocards, there are still a lot of people in there who are
looking to put in a pair of Geforce vvideocards for parallel processing. Support
for SLI means that the Gigabyte GA-P55-UD5 motherboard has that many more
options when it comes to system configurations, and as any upgrader should know,
options are important!
support for multiple NVIDIA Geforce videocards in SLI mode (or multiple ATI
Radeon videocards in CrossfireX mode), the GA-P55-UD5 also has additional PCI
Express slots, so a single videocard can be run with 16x lanes of PCI Express
2.0 bandwidth, or dual videocards can be split that bandwidth into dual PCI
Express slots, each with x8 bandwidth. Fortunately even videocards like the
Radeon HD 5870 aren't bandwidth bottlenecked by x8 bandwidth, so Gigabyte's
GA-P55-UD5 should have a nice lifespan of videocard compatibility.
everything else about the Gigabyte GA-P55-UD5 is exactly what you'd want from a
motherboard of this class. Fourteen USB ports, 10 SATA ports, and lots of
expansion slots mean that this motherboard will have enough room to migrate all
your old hardware and room left over for future upgrades.
If you're an NVIDIA Geforce owner and you think SLI might
be in your future, Gigabyte's GA-P55-UD5 is an excellent choice for a new system
that uses a Core i5 or Core i7 800-series processor. Gigabyte's Ultra Durable 3
manufacturing means that build quality is consistently high and performance wise
this motherboard is on par with every other motherboard based on the Intel P55
On the overclocking front, PCSTATS was able to push the
Gigabyte GA-P55-UD5 motherboard bus speed to 195MHz, not the greatest result
PCSTATS has seen from the Intel P55 and Core i7 750 but not too bad. All things
considered, Gigabyte's GA-P55-UD5 is a good mainstream motherboard to consider
if a Core i5 upgrade is in the books for your next system build. It doesn't have
SATAIII or USB3.0, but unless you're on the cutting edge of what's new and plan
on buying a couple SSD's this won't matter too much. USB3.0 add-in cards are
popping up for reasonable amount, and the GA-P55-UD5 does have two PCI Express
x1 expansion slots which you can easily use for that purpose. Recommended.
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