While Intel P67 motherboards are on everyone's
back order list, the only other game in town is AMD's 890FX or Intel's previous generation platform -
the Intel P55 Express.
As you saw in the preceding benchmark charts, the Intel
Core i5 CPU and Intel P55 chipset are for the most part
equivalently paced against AMD quad-core Phenom II
X4 processors and the AMD 890FX chipset. The problem in choosing one or the
other is the feature sets on motherboards have ballooned so exponentially
that there's a lot more to consider than benchmark figures alone...
This brings us to the ASUS P7P55D Premium. This motherboard is
for the most part a good Intel socket 1156 Core i5 platform - it comes with
features the average user needs and many the overclocker would love to have. The
board itself is well built and well laid out.
A bit of extra engineering goes into the P7P55D Premium
to try and differentiate it from the mass of P55 motherboards long in the
market. For example, ASUS boost the CPU power phases to 32 - decreasing VRM heat
by spreading it out over more components and improving board power efficiency as
unused power phases can be disabled, potentially lengthening component lifespan.
The memory gets a 3 phase power supply and controls that enable significant
Beyond that, ASUS include operating
system independent tools like ASUS ExpressGate which allow a limited set of
functionality very quickly; for example access to the internet when Windows has
crashed. Fan Xpert makes it possible to control the speed of CPU and chassis
fans, so manual fan speed controllers need not be bought. The list goes on and
That's not to say P7P55D Premium is the perfect
embodiment of a motherboard however. PCSTATS is particularly unimpressed by ASUS
utilizing physical USB 3.0 ports on a board that does not actually support
anything other than USB 2.0. Nor are we happy that the one eSATA port is
relegated to a bracket that must cannibalize an existing internal SATA jack. A
single PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot running at x16 mode is to be expected, support
for x8/x8 mode for Crossfire/SLI is typical, but not ideal either.
With dual channels of DDR3 memory running at speeds up
to DDR3-2133, some extra frills like Firewire, SATA III, dual 1GbE networking
and the like, it's really the special overclocking controls where the ASUS attempts to
differentiate itself. If overclocking is the name of your game, these tools and
software based overclocking features may very well slant the table in this
The benchmark results were, expectantly, flat among the
different Intel P55 platforms PCSTATS tested. This is what to expect from
identical chipsets tested with identical hardware. The ASUS P7P55D Premium
motherboard performs at stock like the next - we all know this. Where the ASUS
P7P55D Premium motherboard shines is in its overclocking options and endless
list of features that we were only able to scratch the surface of.
As far as overclocking, PCSTATS managed to overclock the
board's BCLK to a modest 200MHz. Overclocking is luck of the draw and voltage
options are not something we typically mess around with, so you may be able to
reach much higher levels, possibly at the expense of some hardware if you're too
aggressive. TurboV Evo provides a whole set of overclocking and over-volting
tools for the folks who like to overclock within the Windows environment, rather
than the BIOS. The TurboV Evo remote is a neat tool to augment this, but it's
really not necessary either.
Bottom line, the ASUS P7P55D Premium is a solid
motherboard by benchmark results most certainly, by overclocking tools and
features for sure... but PCSTATS doesn't think it's a great buy at this point in
time. Having tested a few of the P7P55D's different flavours, we'd opt for the
ASUS P7P55D-E Pro instead. That platform is
better bang for your P55 + Core i5 buck.
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