Platform Controller Hub
The P55 PCH - Platform Controller Hub
So the P55 chipset itself and the Lynnfield processors embargo was lifted. The P55 motherboard chipset is just one chip, no more North and Southbridge. Interesting to learn is that the P55 chipset connects to the processor directly through DMI (Direct media interface) interface bus, and that's different from X58 where it connects directly to the QPI link.
The P55 chip has embedded a lot of goodness in it: we see an all-time first integrated PCIe controller for x16 or two eight-speed PCIe cards, when it comes to input / output capabilities we are talking about support for 14 USB 2.0 ports with integrated USB 2.0 Rate matching hubs, 6 SATA 3.0 Gb/s ports and an integrated Gigabit LAN Ethernet.
The chipset will also support Integrated Clocking Buffer Through Mode, provides Thermal Sensor Data via SMBUS for discrete Fan Control Solutions and Intel Matrix Storage Technology 9.0. New Intel matrix storage has a new user interface for managing all storage related tasks, support for RAID 0,1,5 and 10, Rapid recover technology.
DDR3 wise 1333 MHz is supported straight out of the box, but running the memory at 1600 or 1866 MHz should be no issue either. Speaking of memory, with the arrival of Core i7 870, 860 and i5 750 Intel made the decision to go back to a dual-channel memory interface. Don't get too worried here, the controller is so much faster than the old limited FSB based controllers. You'll have 64-bit memory wide controllers which are connected directly with the processors silicon. As a result this design brings a bandwidth utilization of as much as 90%, a nice jump from the FSB based 50-60% utilization for sure.
In this review we'll be using a 1600 MHz DDR3 Corsair Dominator memory kit. Corsair provided this kit specifically for this review. It is horribly sweet memory as its arranged as 2x4 = 8 GB of memory.
But let's dive a little deeper into the eVGA P55 Classified specific.
eVGA P55 Classified 200
The motherboard we'll review today is the eVGA P55 Classified 200, and it promises to be a dark demon of a motherboard based on that p55 chipset.
It has features like a 10 Phase Digital PWM, 2x8pin CPU connectors that can provide up to 600w of power to the CPU, a 300% increase in socket infused gold content, high quality LICC capacitors in the CPU cavity, EVGA EVbot support, 3-Way SLI, Triple BIOS, and heck, even an embedded Volt Meter, you can tell this is among the best P55 motherboards in the world.
You'll spot a a large passive heatsink covering the digital VRM and a smaller EVGA-braded heatsink on the chipset itself. A third heatsink rests atop the nForce 200 PCIe switch that enables the board's expansion slot configuration for a whole lot of PCIe slots.
Some very interesting things to see on this board are simple things .. mounting holes for both LGA775 and LGA1156 compatible coolers, a diagnostic LED POST code error reporter which in fact also functions as a CPU temperature sensor once the system has fully booted into windows.
- Part Number 160-LF-E659-KR
- CPU Support Intel Socket 1156
- Chipset Intel P55
- Memory Support Dual Channel DDR3
- SLI Support 3-Way + PhysX
- SATA Header 8(2 e-SATA)
- SATA Type 3GB/sec
- USB Ports 13
- PCIE Slot 5 x x8,1 x x4
- Integrated LAN 2 x 10/100/1000
- Product Warranty 3 Year upon registration
More simple stuff: a bank of jumpers to disable PCIe lanes, power, reset, and clear CMOS buttons right on-board, and an additional clear CMOS button in the I/O backplane.
But check this out, you'll spot three BIOS EPROMS which you can select with a simple switch so you can choose in-between the different BIOSes. You could use profiles for a specific BIOS, or have a high performance BIOS with that sweet config 'just' for LN2 cooling, or simply use them with different revisions and last but not last ... you have backup BIOSes should something ever go horribly wrong.
But since there are so many of them, let's mention some of the more niche features as supplied by eVGA:
- DPHS "Double Play" Heatsink Socket 775 & 1156 Cooler Support
- 10 Phase Digital PWM - Digital Pulse Width Modulator - Cleanest possible variable power switching
- EVGA Vdroop Control - What you see is what you get - Set your voltage in the BIOS and this is what you will get under load booted in your OS
- EVGA Dummy OC -- Overclock at the touch of a button, Automatically overclock your system with one simple setting in the BIOS
- EVGA E-LEET Tuning Utility -- Overclock your motherboard from inside your OS. Use E-LEET to test your OC settings without having to constantly reset into your BIOS.
- EVGA EZ Voltages read points -- Simple voltage points. Easily read voltage levels using a voltmeter with several dedicated read points
- Onboard Clear CMOS, Power and Reset Buttons - System essentials at the touch of a button
Troubleshooting and bench booting are simple with these controls
- 300% More Socket Gold + Low ESR/ESL Film Cap - Socket bling - Using the highest quality materials means you will get the absolute cleanest power to the CPU - 700% more than the competition!
- LICC Capacitors - Lower inductance means better power delivery
Low inductance chip capacitors are yet another way EVGA gives the enthusiast to push their CPU beyond the limit.
- Onboard CPU Temp Monitor -- Monitor your temps quickly and easily. Accurately and instantly see your CPU temperature once your system has POSTed without any other software.
- Passive Chipset Heatsink. No fans: lower noise and longer lifespan. More than enough cooling wattage to keep those chips well within specs
- Triple BIOS Support - Backup, compare and more! No matter what you do to one BIOS, you will always have two more to instantly back up.
- Solid State Capacitors - Higher quality, longer lifespan - These high quality 100% solid state capacitors will just keep going and going
- Dual Clock Generators - Ensure the best signals -- Dual CPU and PCIe clock generators mean you can push this board farther than any other
- EVGA Show-Volt - Embedded voltmeter Using the the Show-Volt you can diagnose every circuit precisely on your board.
- EVGA ECP V2 Support - External debugging - You never again have to open your case to see your debug code, disable PCIe jumpers and overclocking options too.
PCIe Disable Jumpers - Instantly troubleshoot - Test a multi-card system instantly and water cooling systems without having to disassemble the loop.
- EVGA EVbot Support - Handheld overclocking - This next generation overclocking device interfaces directly to the BIOS while your system is booted in OS
Hardcore tweakers and overclockers also like to read out voltages on say CPU core, VDIMM,VTT, CPU PLL etc. Well, if you don't have a multi-meter handy .. no worries .. one is integrated into the motherboard. eVGA calls this "Show Volt". Show Volt is essentially an integrated volt meter. The LED screen will read-out voltages probed from a couple of tiny contact pads along the top edge of the board. We'll demonstrate that to you with the help of a small High-Definition video.
Of course, the board's all about its PCI Express slot configuration, with 6 physical x16 slots (5 x PCIe x16 / x8, 1 x PCIe x4, 1 x PCIe x1) is also unique amongst other P55s. An NF200 chip provides additional PCI-E lanes thus opening up the 3-Way SLI and QuadFire possibilities. Quite lovely for triple or quad-LSI / Crossfire and then a PhysX card as well.
These are just some of the 'extraordinary'; features. But there's so much more ...
But then there's the regular stuff as well like two Gigabit Ethernet port, eight SATA II ports (2x eSATA) 13 USB ports and heck ... we should mention it .. even a three year warranty.. You know what, let's fire up a photo-shoot showing you everything this motherboard has to offer, in more detail.