|ASUS P7P55D-E Pro Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Thursday, 24 June 2010|
Page 17 of 17
ASUS P7P55D-E Pro Conclusion
Although we strive to be as objective as possible, any review will reflect to some extent the perceptions and biases of the reviewer. Also, keep in mind that the computer market is very volatile, and that today's killer super product can easily become yesterday's also-ran as the market competition changes. Don't base a purchase decision solely on this review, but use it as part of your research.
The performance of the ASUS P7P55D-E Pro motherboard was excellent, with outstanding memory performanceand a stable power supply leading the way. I always check the stability of the main motherboard voltages, and the derived ones, using OCCT as a stress test when I'm testing a board. The 12+2 power supply works well here, even if it doesn't have the bragging rights of the 16+2 systems currently out there. Once the next generation of SSDs gets filled out a bit, the SATA 6Gb/s capability will allow even higher performance. I've been using SSDs for awhile now, and they make a substantial impact on the responsiveness of the system, but most of them are not pushing SATA 3Gb/s to the limit yet. The USB 3.0 performance is wonderful, right now. The first thing I did when this board arrived is go out and buy replacement enclosures for my old USB 2.0 external drives.
The appearance of this motherboard is very nice, and I especially like the anodizing treatment on the heatsinks. I am ready to move on from the Blue-Grey-White color scheme, though. At this point, it's hard to tell some products from the top two motherboard competitors apart, from across the room. I realize there's a certain synergy with the Intel colors, but I'd like a little more variety. The board's component layout definitely helps with the appearance of a fully assembled system. There are a number of status LEDs that provide a decent light show during system startup, in the event that you have a window to see them through.
Construction quality was impeccable. It was interesting to note that the assembly and soldering was better than I've seen lately on several video cards. I guess motherboard buyers have a longer history of being ultra picky about manufacturing quality. ASUS knows this and has done what it takes to get the top tier and stay there. My only complaint on the component layout was the inconvenient location of the single SATA port along the bottom edge of the board. Performance-wise, it's best suited for the Optical Drive, but it's a long way from the 5.25" drive bays on most chassis.
Functionally, there are more features on this board than most people will want to use. I know that sounds like a strange statement, so I'll try to explain. In a rare display of honesty, one forum member's tagline reads, "I learned how to overclock my PC in order to improve its gaming performance. Now I spend all my time tweaking and very little time playing!" So, I tend to appreciate features that just sit there and make the product perform better, or features that make some tasks so much easier, that it's worth mastering them. Lo and behold, the major features that ASUS highlights on the front of the box are the ones I'd pick as standouts. Full support for USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s are achieved without any penalty to the main PCI-e lanes, which support a single card with 16x, or two cards with two 8x connections. That leads up to the full support this board provides for both SLI and CrossFireX. Even without a full 16x connection on both slots, there is only a minimal performance hit with PCI-e 2.0 connections. The 16 Hybrid Phase Design has some tortured reasoning behind its name, but the performance is rock solid, and helps keep the CPU and chipset happy while they're being pushed around by massive overclocks.
The ASUS P7P55D-E Pro falls in the middle of the pack when it comes to pricing for P55-based motherboards. Compared to enthusiast-level Intel X58 motherboards, this board is a steal at $179.99 at NewEgg. With its best-in-class integrated memory controller, the P55 often outperforms the X58 in head-to-head competition. By integrating USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s into the motherboard, without disturbing the precious few PCI-e 2.0 lanes that need to stay dedicated to graphics processing, ASUS has created a real challenger to the high end P55 boards, and the low-end X58 models. I know that AMD is a strong competitor in the "Value" segment, especially in the CPU department, but I think that with this motherboard, and the right i5 (or even i3) CPU, AMD has a fight on their hands for the mid-market.
+ Two SATA 6Gb/s ports, two USB 3.0 ports
- SATA port limited to 5Gb/s by PCI-e 2.0 interface
Final Score: 8.95 out of 10.
Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.
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