I’m planning my next build, and I’m having a hard time deciding between a motherboard with the X58 chipset or one with P55. Is triple-channel RAM worth paying extra for? I plan to keep this PC for three years (until the motherboard warranty expires) and I’m worried that in three years there’ll be 9x-channel RAM or something crazy like that. I’m a heavy gamer but I don’t do anything else that requires a ton of memory—I don’t use AutoDesk or Maya.
How is that motherboard makers can cram all kinds of innovative technologies onto a motherboard and serve up marketing bullets that will have buyers thinking they're investing in a little slice of Heaven, yet when it comes to naming their creations, all that creativity goes out the window? To quote Bill Belichick, "It is what it is." In any event, meet the newest member of MSI's P55 motherboard family, the P55-GD85.
Built around Intel's P55 chipset, MSI's newest addition brings official support for Intel's 32nm Core i3/i5/i7 processors. It also comes equipped with support for SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0, the latter of which will probably prove more useful during the board's lifespan.
To make sure the board squeezes out every last bit of bandwidth, MSI tossed in a PLX PCI-E bridge chip "to multiply the PCI-E bandwidth as well as most effective distribution when using the functions of SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0 functions."
Other features include four DIMM slots supporting up to 16GB of DDR3-2133(OC) memory, a pair of PCI-E x16 ports, two PCI-E x1 ports, an IDE port, seven SATA II ports, two SATA 3 ports, six USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, Firewire, eSATA, and various other odds and ends.
No word yet on price or availability, though if we had to guess, we'd say "soon" and about "$220 street."
Lately motherboard manufacturers have been looking to make a splash with their naming schemes, and MSI is no exception. The company's first gaming oriented mobos built around Intel's P55 platform will be dubbed the "Big Bang" series, MSI announced today.
"Unique and innovative, the all-new Big Bang series will deliver the shock and awe of unprecedented experience and expand into its own collection of galaxies," MSI stated in a press release.
Sounds ambitious, and the first galactic board created from the Big Bang series is the Trinergy. Goofy marketing aside, the Trinergy looks promising on paper and comes with 100 percent Hi-c capacitors, a discrete Quantum Wave soundcard, 3-way SLI support, MSI's OC Genie, an external dashboard for on-the-fly overclocking, and some other goodies.
MSI said it plans to follow up the Trinergy with its upcoming Big Bang Fuzion, which will support different GPUs in a single system. Look for Fuzion to land on our home planet sometime before the end of 2009.
Intel may be content to wait until 2011 before jumping on the USB 3.0 bandwagon, but that isn't stopping third-party mobo makers from taking advantage of the SuperSpeed spec right now. Take Asus, for example, who has just launched a pair of motherboards the company claims features "true" USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s performance.
So what exactly is all this talk of 'true?' According to Asus, a special expansion bridge chip outfitted to its P7P55D and P7P55D-E series alleviates bandwidth constrictions for both the USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s controller chips, whereas other solutions might knock the theoretical bandwidth down by as much as 50 percent.
Other features of the new boards include CrossFireX and SLI support, eSATA, up to 10 USB 2.0 ports (and 2 USB 3.0 ports), Firewire, DDR3 2200 support, and full Windows 7 support.
We're all about a hardcore naming scheme that eschews the now overused 'Extreme' nomenclature, so we applaud Asus for its new TUF (The Ultimate Force) series, at least in title.
Kicking off the TUF series is the Sabertooth 55i. Based on Intel's P55 chipset and built around Asus' own 'Marine Cool' concept unveiled at CeBIT earlier this year, the Sabertooh comes equipped with the new CeraMIX heatsink. Through the use of ceramics and a microfin surface texture, the CeraMIX heatsink purports to dissipate heat more rapidly than traditional anti-oxidant compounds, Asus says.
Other TUF attributes include direct memory cooling by way of a CoolMem fan frame that encloses most standard 40mm or 50mm computer fans and fits directly below the memory slots, military-certified capacitors and MOSFETs, E.S.P. (Effcient Switching Power. Drat! We were hoping for a board with a sixth sense), a 12+2 power phase design, and other goodies.
More proof that Intel's P55 platform packs enough punch to satisfy power users and mainstream users alike, MSI's P55-GD80 motherboard helped Taiwan overclocker Coolater set a new Core i7 overclocking record. Using the aforementioned board, Coolater was able ramp up his 2.8GHz Core i7 860 CPU all the way to 5.39GHz.
"The MSI P55-GD80 owes much of its outstanding overclocking ability to its equipped MSI-exclusive technologies, such as the one second auto-overclocking feature OC Genie, the SuperPipe cooling system that effectively drops the operating temperature by 50C, and 1>4 phase total DrMOS power supply design," MSI said in a related statement.
According to the validated CPU-Z screenie, Coolater ran a 245.39MHz bus speed with a 3926.2MHz frontside bus and a 1.672 vCore. And of course at nearly 5.4GHz, LN2 was involved in keeping the proc cool.
Some sources are saying that, at least internally, Intel is talking about shipping one million Lynnfield processors for desktops by the end of 2009. Should Intel meet its goal, it would put the pressure on motherboard makers to keep up.
Asus and Gigabyte are each on pace to ship 400,000 P55-based mobos by the end of the year, leaving 200,000 units for other manufacturers to pick up the slack. MSI, ECS, and ASRock are expected to ship around that many mobos, but all it takes is for one manufacturer to miss its goal for there to be more CPUs than there are mobos.
Asus looks to be the most active for the rest of the year. According to company VP Joe Hsieh, Asus' expects to ship between 5.5 to 6 million motherboards in the third quarter, 6 million in the fourth, and 22 million total. Going forward, Asus says P55-based boards will account for 10 percent of all shipments.
iBuyPower on Wednesday announced its new Paladin E-series Gaming PC built around Intel's "Lynnfield" processors and new P55 chipset. Three rigs in all -- Paladin E720, E780, and E870 -- come equipped with one of Intel's new socket 1156-based Core i7 800 series or Core i5 processors, but what iBuyPower really hopes will give it an edge over the competition is an optional "Power Drive" overclocking service.
iBuyPower will overclock your processor up to 10 percent for free (Power Drive Level 1), up to 20 percent for $49 (Level 2), and up to 30 percent for a dollar shy of a C-note (Level 3). Depending on which level you choose, you'll also need to configure compatible components iBuyPower says are certified for a particular OC (Gigabyte's GA-P55-UD6 is certified for a level 3 OC, whereas the GA-P55-UD3R is certified for level 1, for example).
OCZ on Monday announced several new low-voltage DDR3 kits the company claims has been designed specifically for the upcoming Intel P55 chipset. All six dual-channel kits come rated at 1.65V, partially a result of "using sophisticated IC screening methods."
“OCZ is excited to introduce a complete range of new DDR3 dual channel memory kits that are engineered specifically for Intel’s cutting edge P55 platform,” commented Alex Mei, CMO for the OCZ Technology Group. “These gaming kits make use of high quality hand screened chips to deliver exceptional performance and stability at surprisingly low voltages when paired with the latest Intel processors and chipset.”
The new kits include:
DDR3-1866, Platinum, 2x2GB, 9-9-9-27
DDR3-1866, Gold, 2x2GB, 10-10-10-27
DDR3-1600, Platinum, 2x2GB, 7-7-7-24
DDR3-1600, Gold, 2x2GB, 8-8-8-24
DDR3-1333, Platinum, 2x2GB, 7-7-7-20
DDR3-1333, Gold, 2x2GB, 9-9-9-20
All six kits come with OCZ's familiar honeycomb heatspreader. OCZ also claims that each module is "100 percent hand tested."
As Intel's socket 1156-based Core i5 and Core i7 processors inch closer to an official release, look for motherboard vendors to start rolling out new mobos built around Intel's P55 chipset. That's exactly what Foxconn has done, who over the weekend unveiled its Inferno Katana motherboard as part of the company's Quantum Force series.
There's a lot to like about the Inferno Katana, at least on paper. Power user features are aplenty, including a 12 phase hybrid PWM and DirectFET MOSFET technology, 2 phase for VTT and memory, and a "Fuzzy Equalizer," which is an LED indicator light for displaying the PWM loading status.
Other specs include support for up to 16GB of dual-channel DDR3-1800, 8 SATA ports, 7.1 channel onboard audio with Dolby DTS, 3 PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots, 8 USB 2.0 ports, and "performance comparable to if not better than the C/P ratio of the Core i7."