Mini-ITX is the new Micro-ATX, and Micro-ATX is the new ATX. At least that’s where we see the trends going in the next few years. With the heavy amount of integration that Intel is working on, motherboard real estate just isn’t as important as it used to be.

While we won’t be able to buy an LGA-1156 mini-ITX motherboard until early 2010, there are good micro-ATX options for Lynnfield owners today with more coming.

The price points are nice and you don’t give up any features to go with a micro-ATX P55 motherboard. Gigabyte’s GA-P55M-UD2 is selling for $110 and ASRock’s P55M Pro lists for $99. We will take a look at the performance oriented Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD4 and ASUS Maximus III GENE motherboards shortly. While both those boards are targeted to gamers/overclockers with dual x16 PCIe slots (x8 dual in CF/SLI) along with additional features, better performance is not necessarily a given unless you are running multi-GPU or high-end cooling options.

You also don’t give up much in the way of features with either of these boards. Both offer a single PCIe x16 slot for graphics support along with an x4 PCIe 2.0 slot. ASRock gives you a single PCIe x1 and a 32-bit PCI slot, while Gigabyte insists on a pair of 32-bit PCI slots. Both boards also feature IEEE 1394a, eSATA, Gigabit LAN, 8-channel audio, and a penchant for overclocking. The Gigabyte UD2 board ups the stakes with two additional 3Gbps SATA ports and a BIOS that just about any enthusiast will love in an entry-level board.

Performance is indistinguishable from other P55 motherboards - these things all perform about the same at stock speeds:

Application Performance - MultiTask Test - Total Time

Networking and storage performance are about equal between the two boards as well:

Networking Performance - HD Video - Play/Record

Storage Performance - HD to SSD

The biggest difference between the boards, from a stock performance standpoint, actually surfaces in power consumption:

Idle Power Consumption

About the only real performance difference between these two motherboards is in overclocking.

Core i7/860 8GB Results -

Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD2


ASRock P55M Pro


If you’re going to buy just one, we’d recommend the Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD2, especially if top flight overclocking is important to you. If you are not concerned solely with overclocking, then the ASRock P55M Pro is a great choice, especially if you are on a strict budget and it comes with our full recommendation. If you want more details on both boards, continue on.

P55 Refresher
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  • mfs - Friday, March 26, 2010 - link

    how do you get 4 phase on the GA-P55M-UD2? looks like 6 by the photos? bit-tech says 6 too. Reply
  • andersbranderud - Friday, March 12, 2010 - link

    Does anyone have any experiences with overclocking an i7-860 on this motherboard with 1333 mhz or 1600 mhz ram.

    In that case give me some more details.

    Thanks!

    Anders Branderud
    bloganders.blogspot.com
    Reply
  • zoggy - Thursday, February 18, 2010 - link

    Was looking at picking up GA-P55M-UD2 for a HTPC, going to pair it with Core i7 860 and a ATI HD 5000 series card. Wanted to know if there was any problems with this board to do the bit-streaming of HD audio or if the UD4 would be better suited? Reply
  • Hrel - Friday, October 23, 2009 - link

    Pictures of the Motherboard BIOS, THANK YOU SO MUCH! Reply
  • maomao0000 - Sunday, October 11, 2009 - link

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  • Googer - Sunday, October 11, 2009 - link

    I don't see how the inclusion of something can be seen as a negative. I am sure there are a few users who still depend on a floppy drive from time to time (retro dos gamers, some drivers, and archiving old files) and it's presence has little to negative impact on the actual usability, functionality, or performance of the motherboard.

    As for my self, I have tried several times to remove my drive, only to have someone or myself find an unexpected need for it a few months later. So I still keep it installed but the drive it's self remains disabled in the bios until I actually need it. Having it enabled has no noticeable impact on my P4 based system.
    Reply
  • Serveo - Friday, October 09, 2009 - link

    Hi Gary,

    Nice review. I am planning to buy a p55 mATX board. There are some on the market but mostly they support only 16x & 4x GPU and thats a pity.

    Only the Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD4 and ASUS Maximus III Gene support sli/cross at 8x mode. I would like to your review about these boards soon. The price for the GA-P55M-UD4 is available around € 130.- incl. VAT and the Maximus III Gene around € 170.- incl VAT.

    Thats why I probably go for the Gigabyte due to the price an the board colors, but the board layout has some fails and according to the review at bit-tech.net the performance is not that good.

    Gary when can I aspect the review about these boards? Or which of these two board would you advice?
    Reply
  • Awnold - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    Hi Gary,

    Great article! Looking at other user's experience w/ the Gigabyte board, I've seen a number of complaints w/ memory compatibility (e.g., Newegg's reviews). Would you mind posting the part #'s of the different memories you tested this board with?

    I did see your comment that the F4 BIOS improved memory compatibility, but to my knowledge they haven't updated their qualified memory list yet.

    Also, if other users on this forum have experience w/ this board, would you mind posting your memory config as well?

    Thanks!
    Reply
  • Awnold - Friday, October 09, 2009 - link

    I'm mostly curious about the G.Skill memory used. Does anyone have any success (or BSODs/failures) with the following modules:

    F3-12800CL7D-4GBRH
    F3-15000CL9D-4GBRH
    F3-16000CL9D-4GBRH
    Reply
  • haplo602 - Tuesday, October 06, 2009 - link

    stop with this P55 flood and finaly review a few 785G boards !!! please please PLEASE !!!

    I don't care about intel, I want to build an AMD PC and your site is severely lacking in that part ...
    Reply

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