Platform Controller Hub
The P55 PCH - Platform Controller Hub
So the P55 chipset itself and the Lynnfield processors embargo was lifted. Weirdest thing to see, physically 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 1866 MHz DDR3 OCZ memory kit. OCZ provided this kit specifically for this review.
The Gigabyte P55 UD5 motherboard is thus based on that single chip P55 chipset and allows up-to 16GB of memory to be installed. Memory frequency wise, of course, DDR3 1066/1333 MHz is supported at default though the BIOS reveals a 2200 MHz settings as well !
The UD5 features Gigabyte's UD3 suite of features, which include 2oz of copper throughout the PCB, Japanese solid capacitors, low RDS MOSFETs, high-quality ferrite core chokes, and more. The UD5 comes equipped with a "modest" 12 phase power design.
Two PCI slots are supported and you'll spot three physical PCIe 2.0 x16 graphics slots. A little weirdo config though, one is x16, one is x8 and the lower one is x4. Should you opt Crossfire then your PCIe lanes will be divided into a 8x/8x configuration. The motherboard is SLI certified and obviously Crossfire compatible.
As standard the board has ten USB 2.0 ports and additional USB headers to add another 14 USB ports should you want to. Extras can be found in an eSATA port, Clear CMOS, power and reset micro switches, Optical SPDIF audio output controlled by 8 Channel Realtek AL888S HD Audio, which is one of their better quality audio codecs.
Pricing should be roughly 189 USD or 175 EUR, which seems fair. Anyway there's a lot going on on this motherboard, let's just head on over to the photo-shoot and show you what we are talking about.