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Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3R Intel P55 Motherboard Review
Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3R Intel P55 Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
It's not every day that a new chipset such as the Intel P55 Express brings about such sweeping changes to the desktop PC environment. In addition to its two PCI Express x16 slots, Gigabyte's GA-P55-UD3R has four legacy PCI slots and a single PCI Express x1 slot.
 80% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Gigabyte Oct 28 2009   J. Apong  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3R

P55 and Core i5 Worth Buying? Yes.

Since this is PCSTATS' first review of an Intel P55 Express motherboard, it's a little difficult to compare the Gigabyte 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 bottlenecks.

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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Contents of Article: Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3R
 Pg 1.  Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3R Intel P55 Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Closer Look at Intel's P55 Express chipset
 Pg 3.  Motherboard Highlights Photo Gallery
 Pg 4.  Overclocking the BCLK, BIOS screenshots
 Pg 5.  Power Draw and Test System Specs
 Pg 6.  Motherboard Benchmarks: SYSmark 2007, PCMark Vantage
 Pg 7.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Sandra 2009
 Pg 8.  Motherboard IGP Benchmarks: 3DMark06, 3DMark Vantage, FEAR
 Pg 9.  — P55 and Core i5 Worth Buying? Yes.

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