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Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD6 Intel P55 Express Motherboard Review

Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD6 Intel P55 Express Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The GA-P55A-UD6 has a trio of new improvements in the form of SATA 6.0 GB/s using a Marvell SE9128 controller for faster hard drive transfers, enhanced USB voltage capabilities and USB 3.0 support for high-speed peripherals thanks to a NEC µPD720200 controller.
 90% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Gigabyte Jul 21 2010   Julian Apong  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD6

Overclocking the Bus and IGP, BIOS screenshots

Overclocking Gigabyte's GA-P55A-UD6 Motherboard

Overclocking Results:
Stock Max. OC
Motherboard Speed: 133MHz

210 MHz

If you're new to Overclocking and not sure what to do, check out these two excellent Guides for some pointers:
Overclocking the CPU and Memory
Overclocking the Videocard

Overclocking methodologies change along with CPU architectures, with the Core i5 platform the good old Front Side Bus is nowhere to be seen. In its place is a similar clock speed called BCLK - Base Clock. PCSTATS is still finding its feet with Core i5/P55 Express overclocking, but from what we're seeing the choice of motherboard plays an important role, as always.

Before the overclocking commenced, PCSTATS installed two sticks of 2GB Corsair CMD4GX3M2A1600C8 DDR3 RAM into the Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD6 motherboard. Good quality, low latency memory is the cornerstone of a successful overclocking attempt in our books, and Corsair is among the best brands for RAM out there.

The Corsair CMD4GX3M2A1600C8 memory was changed from DDR3-1333 to run in DDR3-800 MHz mode, so as not to hold the CPU back. All processor throttling options were disabled in the BIOS; including C1E state, and Speedstep/EIST. The standard Intel reference socket 1156 heatsink was used for cooling.

We adjusted the Core i5 750's CPU multiplier from 20x down to 12x, the base clock was then slowly increased from 133MHz... The GA-P55A-UD6 motherboard's BCLK was easily raised in 15 MHz increments to 150MHz and then 175MHz. At this point we overclocked in smaller leaps, going to 185MHz BLCK then 195MHz and 205MHz and finally 210MHz. The system would crash while loading Windows Vista at 215MHz BCLK, so we settled on a maximum overclocked bus speed of 210MHz - par for the course from what we've seen recently from P55 motherboards.

Of course, even if you don't overclock your processor manually, you can still take advantage of the Core i5 750's large amounts of headroom through enabling Turbo Boost or Gigabyte's Smart Boost utility.

Next up a quick look around the BIOS on the Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD6 motherboard and then it's on to power draw measurements, the test system specs and benchmark section of this review.

Inside the GA-P55A-UD6's BIOS

The main overclocking control features for adjusting the CPU multiplier and BCLK frequency can be found in the Advanced Frequency settings page.

The BIOS also has extensive memory control options for the GA-P55A-UD6's six DDR3 memory banks. Timings can be set down to the individual clocks cycle, per channel.

The GA-P55A-UD6's USB 3.0 controller can be disabled for troubleshooting purposes.

The GA-P55A-UD6 also gives you control over its storage support as well, and the SATA 6Gb/s connections can be turned on or off at will.

Finally you can also adjust pretty much every electrical setting on the GA-P55A-UD6, although this feature is only recommended for expert usage. You don't want to fry your flagship motherboard!

With the BIOS covered, let's see just how fast GA-P55A-UD6 really is...

System Power Draw

Energy efficient computers are a good thing, so it helps to know how power efficient, or power hungry different parts of a computer are when stressed with different tasks. Since it is very difficult to isolate a videocard or CPU and measure power draw separately, PCSTATS measures total system power draw with the aid of an Extech 380803 AC Power Analyzer and A-PFC compliant PC Power and Cooling 750W power supply. The meter is placed between the 120V AC outlet and the PC power supply. By stressing the test platform's graphics solution or processor, it's then possible to measure power draw relative to the PC at an idle state.

Total System Power Draw
Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD6

Processor & Graphics Solution

Idle CPU Loaded

Intel Core i5 750
nVidia Geforce GTS250
(Discrete Graphics)

130W 184W
(At desktop) (via Prime95)

By stressing the test platform's graphics solution or processor, it's then possible to measure power draw relative to the PC at an idle state. The test system is measured at Idle (Windows desktop), Graphics Loaded (3Dmark06) and CPU Loaded (Prime 95) states.

PCSTATS Benchmark ReportSystem Power Draw Tests: (PCPower 750W PSU)
Desktop Idle (W) Points Ranking
MSI X58 Platinum (X58 133/1066) 145
MSI Eclipse Plus (X58 133/1066) 157
Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD6 (P55 133/1333) 130
Gigabyte GA-P55-UD6 (P55 133/1333) 124
Gigabyte GA-P55-UD5 (P55 133/1333) 119
Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4P (P55 133/1333) 130
Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3R (P55 133/1333) 117
ASUS P7P55D Deluxe (P55 133/1333) 125
ASUS P7P55D Premium (P55 133/1333) 120
Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P (790FX 200/1066) 149
MSI 785GM-E65 (785G 200/1066) 137
ASUS M4A785TD-V Evo (785G 200/1066) 145
Gigabyte GA-MA785GMT-UD2H (785G 200/1066) 167
Gigabyte GA-MA785G-UD3H (785G 200/1066) 160
Prime95 Stressed (W) Points Ranking
MSI X58 Platinum (X58 133/1066) 217
MSI Eclipse Plus (X58 133/1066) 225
Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD6 (P55 133/1333) 184
Gigabyte GA-P55-UD6 (P55 133/1333) 175
Gigabyte GA-P55-UD5 (P55 133/1333) 171
Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4P (P55 133/1333) 178
Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3R (P55 133/1333) 169
ASUS P7P55D Deluxe (P55 133/1333) 175
ASUS P7P55D Premium (P55 133/1333) 184
Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P (790FX 200/1066) 221
MSI 785GM-E65 (785G 200/1066) 204
ASUS M4A785TD-V Evo (785G 200/1066) 201
Gigabyte GA-MA785GMT-UD2H (785G 200/1066) 254
Gigabyte GA-MA785G-UD3H (785G 200/1066) 260

The extra controllers and peripherals on the GA-P55A-UD6 definitely add to its power usage when compared to the other Intel P55 Express motherboards. The GA-P55A-UD6 has the highest power draw out of these motherboards at both idle and under full load.

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Contents of Article: Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD6
 Pg 1.  Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD6 Intel P55 Express Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Intel P55 Express Chipset
 Pg 3.  Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD6 Motherboard Highlights
 Pg 4.  — Overclocking the Bus and IGP, BIOS screenshots
 Pg 5.  Test System Specs
 Pg 6.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Sysmark 2007
 Pg 7.  Motherboard Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra - Processor
 Pg 8.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Sandra - Memory
 Pg 9.  Motherboard Benchmarks: PCMark Vantage
 Pg 10.  Motherboard Benchmarks: 3DMark Vantage, 3DMark06, FEAR
 Pg 11.  Conclusion: a favorite in the PCSTATS Labs

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