|ASUS P7P55D-E Pro Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Thursday, 24 June 2010|
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Intel P55 Express Chipset
The ASUS P7P55 series motherboard platform is designed for the Intel Core i5/i7 LGA1156 'Lynnfield' processor (CPU) and Intel P55 Express Chipset (IOH). New to the P55 platform is a Direct Media Interface (DMI) that connects between the processor and chipset. The chipset supports 8 PCI Express 1.1 x1 Ports (2.5GT/s) for flexible device support. Dual graphics cards are supported by the CPU directly, in a "2x8" configuration. The chipset also supports six SATA 3Gb/s Ports with Intel Matrix Storage Technology providing RAID levels 0/1/5/10. Up to 14 USB 2.0 Ports can be supported with the chipset's integrated USB 2.0 Rate Matching Hub, along with Intel High Definition Audio for premium digital sound.
The Lynnfield CPU incorporates the system memory controller (as it did beginning with Nehalem) and accesses DDR3 memory through two independent, direct memory channels. The CPU also provides support for the two PCIe graphics slots via the Quick Path Interconnect (QPI) bus, and is limited to 16 lanes. The DMI connection between the Intel P55 Express chipset (IOH) and Lynnfield CPU is based on a PCI-e x4 connection and allows for only 2 GB/s of bandwidth. This limited bandwidth is not an issue, since the P55 only provides support for the legacy SATA, USB and other system interfaces, all low-speed functions that used to be performed by the Southbridge (ICH).
All motherboard busses and components are driven from a single base clock with a standard clock speed of 133.33 MHz; this is known as the B-Clock or BCLK. The individual component speed values are generated by applying a multiplier value to this base clock. There are four multipliers on the motherboard which are used to set the clock rates for:
1. CPU Speed: When multiplied by the system base clock speed (default 133.33 MHz), gives the CPU frequency. Four multipliers are used to define different speeds based on the number of active CPU cores.
2. Memory Speed: When multiplied by the system base clock speed, gives the memory frequency. For example a memory multiplier of 10 times the base clock of 133.33 MHz results in a memory frequency of 1333 MHz.
3. Direct Media Interface (DMI) Speed: Selectable transfer rate of data transferred between the CPU and the IOH. (Note: Many BIOS programs and monitoring utilities (CPU-z, etc.) will report this as QPI. This is the interface used between the LGA1366 CPUs and the X58 Chipset.)
4. Uncore Speed: This multiplier applies to the non-CPU related items in the processor. The limit on this multiplier is set by the memory multiplier.
Intel P55 Express Chipset Features
Intel Management Engine Ignition Firmware Support - Provides essential platform functionality such as clock maintenance and thermal reporting
Intel Matrix Storage Technology - With additional hard drives added, provides quicker access to digital photo, video and data files with RAID 0, 5, and 10, and greater data protection against a hard disk drive failure with RAID 1, 5, and 10. Support for external SATA (eSATA) enables the full SATA interface speed outside the chassis, up to 3 Gb/s.
Intel Rapid Recover Technology - Intel's latest data protection technology provides a recovery point that can be used to quickly recover a system should a hard drive fail or if there is data corruption. The clone can also be mounted as a read-only volume to allow a user to recover individual files.
Intel High Definition Audio - Integrated audio support enables premium digital surround sound and delivers advanced features such as multiple audio streams and jack re-tasking.
Universal Serial Bus (USB) - Hi-Speed USB 2.0, provides greater enhancement in performance with a design data rate of up to 480 megabits per second (Mbps) with up to 14 USB 2.0 Ports.
USB 2.0 rate matching hub - Enables lower power requirements and manages the transition of the communication data rate from the high speed of the host controller to the lower speed of USB full speed /low speed devices.
Serial ATA (SATA) 3 Gb/s - High-speed storage interface supports faster transfer rate for improved data access with up to 6 SATA ports.
eSATA - SATA interface designed for use with external SATA devices. It provides a link for 3 Gb/s data speeds to eliminate bottlenecks found with current external storage solutions.
SATA port disable - Enables individual SATA ports to be enabled or disabled as needed. This feature provides added protection of data by preventing malicious removal or insertion of data through SATA ports. Especially targeted for eSATA ports.
PCI Express 2.0 interface - Offers up to 2.5GT/s for fast access to peripheral devices and networking with up to 8 PCI Express 2.0 x1 ports, configurable as x2 and x4 depending on motherboard designs.
USB port disable - Enables individual USB ports to be enabled or disabled as needed. This feature provides added protection of data by preventing malicious removal or insertion of data through USB ports.
Intel integrated 10/100/1000 MAC - Support for the Intel 82578DC Gigabit Network Connection
Green technology - Manufactured with lead-free and halogen-free component packages