Some of you asked us for scores and benchmarks showing just how far we managed to push the top P55 boards in our sub-zero cooled benchmarking (amidst socket failures) test suite. So we are here today to show how these boards fared against each other when using the same components. Be warned the results are geared more towards benchmarking fanatics and are not in any way indicative of your everyday web browsing PC needs...

 

 

A quick summary of each board:

EVGA P55 FTW SLI E657

Our favorite board of the bunch for extreme benchmarking is the EVGA E657. In terms of ease of use and 'overclockability' this board wins on all counts. Our retail sample came with a TYCO AMP socket and survived everything we threw at it over the last six weeks of near 24/7 testing. At cold temperatures, this board boots up better than any other we’ve tested to date. You don’t have to boot up in safe mode or wait for temperatures to increase, it’s that simple.

Heavy load benchmarking stability is this board’s strength and at its price point there is no other P55 board that delivers on as many levels for the overclocking professional. EVGA is using TCYO AMP and LOTES sockets exclusively for all their P55 boards at this point, although there may be some early stock around still using Foxconn sockets.

ASUS ROG Maximus III Formula

While it worked our ASUS Maximus III Formula board was a pleasure to use. In terms of overall features, BIOS design, and general desktop performance this board is rated at the top of our list. Unfortunately, the board did not respond as well as the EVGA or Gigabyte boards in extreme overclocking conditions. Our experience with the large cascade was not trouble free as it refused to post once the evaporator head temperature was below -110 degrees.

The ROG Connect software is a novel design that we see a lot of promise in and a pleasure to use as a side bonus. The board was proving itself to be the all around choice (gaming/desktop/overclocking) until we experienced the now infamous socket burn syndrome.

As of press time for this article, ASUS is still investigating the socket burnout problems and has not told us if they will be following the lead of other vendors in moving over to other socket vendors for their high end boards.

Gigabyte GA-P55- UD6

The GA-P55-UD6 from Gigabyte was on a level playing field with the ASUS ROG for the most part in general performance and extreme overclocking results. It did trail the other boards in the 8-thread CPU tests, but showed second place performance everywhere else. The UD6 handled cold temperatures as well as the E657, but required us to shut the PSU off periodically between reboots in order for the board to properly repost.

Our test sample arrived with the revised Foxconn socket and managed to survive the onslaught of benchmarks without a problem. We understand that Gigabyte has moved production over to LOTES based sockets for their higher end boards, so expect to see these showing up in the retail channels shortly.

EVGA P55 Classified 200

When this board arrived in the labs we were intrigued to see what it brought to the table in comparison to less expensive P55 boards. At a $340 price point, there’s no room whatsoever for failure. Unfortunately, the only real strength that extra monetary outlay will buy you is the ability to run non-memory intensive 8-thread loads a few MHz higher than the superlative EVGA E657.

The other side bonus is for multi-GPU setups as you get dual x16 capabilities, though we wonder why you would even pick a P55 board at this price point for such a setup when there are X58 boards available to do the job better. While the board responded well in most cases, we had problems with higher memory speeds (over 2200MHz) as they were just not as stable on this board in comparison to the other boards in our tests, no matter what we tried. We’re not sure if this can be fixed without some kind of hardware change, as we tried every BIOS tweak the board has in order to try and squeeze a little more stability above DDR3-2200, but alas, no improvement.

Test Setup
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  • McDaniel - Sunday, November 08, 2009 - link

    Gigabyte is always ahead in cooling trend.. nice review anyway.. is it possible to set my old processor(core2duo) on this main board? & by the way where i should go for it? Reply
  • darkslyde - Monday, November 09, 2009 - link

    you can't use socket 775 CPU in a socket 1156 board.

    but AFIAK, you can use socket 775 cpu cooling (heatsinks, cpu waterblocks) on the P55 evga boards. it has mounting for both 1156 & 775. that's one thing you can save on...

    if you want to re-use your c2d (i.e e6600) there are good intel G/P/X 4X series and nvidia geforce 7000/9000, nforce 700 boards.

    i'm reusing my old E6600 on an ASUS P5N7A-VM for media pc use. i get to use my old ddr2 dominators too.

    Reply
  • techraze - Sunday, November 08, 2009 - link

    Yes, you certainly can use it for core 2 Duo. but as this main board is designed for core i7/core i5 & their over clocking performances it's wise to have a new processor for this main board. i also did it recently & http://micropartsusa.com">http://micropartsusa.com can be a site for u also..anyway good luck dude Reply
  • yyrkoon - Sunday, November 08, 2009 - link

    As a matter of a fact. Doing some looking around I saw . . .

    LGA 1366 == i7 only
    LGA 1156 == i5 only
    LGA 775 == Core 2 duo, core 2 quad, core 2 extreme ( just another core 2 ), Pentium 4, and Celeron ( could be based on core2, P4, or others, but so long as LGA 775 pin layout).

    Of course, with LGA 775, some manufacturers do not allow all CPU types, but it is possible for them to do, if they wish.
    Reply
  • erple2 - Monday, November 09, 2009 - link

    Technically,
    LGA 1366 == Certain i7 (9xx parts).
    LGA 1156 == i5 and SOME i7 (8xx parts).
    LGA 775 == Core2Duo, Core2Quad, and some Pentium 4 parts (any after "Northwood"), and some Celeron parts.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Sunday, November 08, 2009 - link

    Uh, you know I have not really looked into it, but I am fairly sure a socket 775 CPU would not fit into these newer sockets. Unless Intel took extreme precautions they normally have not in the past. I7 is what? 1368 pin ? Socket 775 is . . . 775 pin . . . Reply
  • MrCommunistGen - Saturday, November 07, 2009 - link

    In the first paragraph of page 8 (the Gigabyte GA-P55-UD6 page)you mention cooling on the "ICH10R". It should probably say "PCH" instead. Reply
  • leexgx - Saturday, November 07, 2009 - link

    even past reviews never seen these types of problems before guess P55 is an no go until they fix the socket issues (overclocking or not) Reply
  • yyrkoon - Saturday, November 07, 2009 - link

    "Unfortunately, any jubilation for a platform winner ends here until we know the exact cause of the issues we experienced on motherboards using the Foxconn 1156 sockets."

    Does this mean that all boards use this socket ? Or does it mean that the ones you wish to be winners use this socket?

    I also find it odd that you would mention the Gigabyte board is good, but costs too much, where surely it is fairly priced compared to many Asus boards of the past. Yeah, the same company who seemingly wins all of your top awards, and comparisons.

    Asus is *not* that good. EVGA is definitely not that good. and Gigabyte while not perfect definitely is not as bad as you make it seem. Not only that, these three companies are definitely not the only three in the motherboard business. Why is it that MSI, DFI, and other board makers are no longer sending you samples for review ? Hmm . . .
    Reply
  • Rajinder Gill - Saturday, November 07, 2009 - link

    Gary has the MSI board already; it was not tested in this compare because of CPU damage. The too expensive comment is aimed at the EVGA Classified 200 which does not deliver a significant advantage over the other boards in terms of CPU/memory overclocking even for the extreme crowd. DFI's board was not ready as early as the 4 boards we have tested here.

    The socket comment was made because in light of the failures we experienced during testing. Our failures have been all related to Foxconn sockets, but there is now a confirmed user case having issues with a LOTES socket too. In light of this, it's hard to give any board accolades for raw overclocking until we know for sure that the 'problem' is fixed. Out of all the boards, the EVGA P55 FTW was the most consistent and easy to use. Also note, this article is in no way reflective of 24/7 PC's and what matters in typical usage scenarios.
    Reply

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