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ASRock P55 Deluxe LGA 1156 ATX Motherboard Review

Author: Steve Grever
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASRock
Tagged:

Features, Layout, Included Extras

Features

  • Supports Intel® Core™ i7 / i5 / i3 and Pentium® G6950 Processors in LGA1156 Package
  • Supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology
  • ASRock DuraCap (2.5 x longer life time), 100% Japan-made high-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors
  • Intel® P55 Chipset
  • Advanced V16 + 2 Power Phase Design
  • Supports Dual Channel DDR3 2600+(OC)/2133(OC)/1866(OC)/1600/1333/1066 non-ECC, un-buffered memory, 4 x DIMM slots, Max. capacity up to 16GB
  • Supports ATI™ CrossFireX™ , 3-Way CrossFireX™ and Quad CrossFireX™
  • Supports NVIDIA® Quad SLI™ and SLI™
  • 2 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots (Single at x16 or Dual at x8/x8 mode), 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (at x4 mode, 2.5GT/s), 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 slot (2.5GT/s)
  • 2 x SATA3 6 Gb/s connectors (including 1 x external SATA3 6 Gb/s connector), supported by ASRock SATA3 card
  • 6 x SATAII 3.0 Gb/s connectors, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10, RAID 5 and Intel® Matrix Storage), NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug functions
  • 1 x Powered eSATAII/USB Connector
  • Supports 2 x IEEE1394 ports (one port on back panel, one header on board)
  • Dual GLAN with Teaming function : 2 x PCIE Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
  • 1 x Power Switch with LED
  • 1 x Reset Switch with LED
  • 1 x Clear CMOS Switch with LED
  • 1 x TPM header
  • Supports ASRock Instant Boot, Instant Flash, OC DNA
  • Supports Smart BIOS, ASRock OC Tuner, Intelligent Energy Saver
  • EuP 2.0 Ready (supported by Nuvoton NCT3016 IC)
  • Combo Cooler Option (C.C.O.)
  • 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection, supports DAC with 110dB dynamic range (ALC890 Audio Codec), DTS (Digital Theater Systems) support
  • Premium Blu-ray audio support
  • Windows® Vista™ Premium 2008 Logo Ready
  • Free Bundle: 1 x ASRock SATA3 Card, 1 x ASRock SLI_Bridge_2S Card
  • I/O Panel: 1 x Coaxial SPDIF Out Port, 1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port, 1 x IEEE 1394 Port, 7 x Ready-to-Use USB 2.0 Ports, 1 x Powered eSATAII/USB Connector, 2 x RJ-45 LAN
  • Port with LED, 1 x Clear CMOS Switch with LED

Layout

The ASRock P55 Deluxe comes packaged with a box design that looks very similar to how Gigabyte boxes and packages their current motherboards. The front panel of the box showcases some of the unique aspects of the board like its custom Turbo Boost Monitor and OC DNA software. It also shows off the bundled 6GB/s add-on card, which is definitely a great selling point for those who new to the SATA3 technology.

 

The back panel of the retail packaging also seems to take a page from Gigabyte’s playbook, but their marketing material seems to focus on the EuP, which stands for Energy using Product, which is a provision regulationed by the European Union to define the power consumption for a completed system. According to EuP, the total AC power of a completed system should be under 1.00 watts in off mode. The other features showcased on the back panel includes the P55 Deluxe's premium Blu-ray audio, Turbo Boost, and Instant Boot technologies.

 

This board meets ATX specs and uses a black PCB that follows a similar design to many P55-based motherboards in its class. The board looks a bit crowded at first glance, but all the key features are easily accessible and are not impeded by oversized heatsinks or other chips that could have been placed in better locations. One of my only issues with this board layout is the location of the power and reset buttons. I prefer to have them at the bottom of the motherboard next to the front display headers because they are easier to use when the board is installed in a PC case.

 

The back of the PCB is very standard and only includes a small aluminum backplate behind the CPU. Nothing else going on here.

 

One of the board's "claim to fame" is its support for three PCIe slots that run at x16 and x8 speeds. ASRock ensured it could handle triple SLI and CrossfireX graphics configurations. They also threw in three PCI slots and one PCIe x1 slot. Overall, this is a great feature set that gives users plenty of upgrade options.

 

The back I/O panel consists of PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports, coaxial SPDIF out port, optical SPDIF out port, 7 USB 2.0 ports, eSATA connector, two RJ-45 LAN ports, firewire port, clear CMOS button, and HD audio jacks. This configuration gives users several options for connections high definition audio components as well as some legacy hardware.

 

There is an HD front audio header as well as an HDMI SPDIF header along the bottom of the motherboard. HD audio devices are a welcome addition that really enhances the end user's overall PC experience.

 

ASRock also included a COM port header and a floppy header to connect those legacy components.

 

There are two fan headers to support three and four pin configurations. Users can also add one more firewire device through this extra IEEE 1394 header shown above.

 

The P55 Deluxe comes with six SATA 3GB/s ports that support RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10. The practice of angling SATA ports has become very common because it makes installing SATA devices easier and improves cable management.

 

Along with the LED debug display, ASROCk made a small jumper set for the front panel's power button, reset button, HD LED, and power LED. They separated the speaker LED that has become an optional item in many modern PCs.

 

ASRock also included a PATA header for IDE devices. You don't see too many of these headers anymore, but legacy users will definitely look for these features when they are purchasing a new motherboard.

 

ASRock also added a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header, which can securely store keys, digital certificates, passwords, and data. A TPM system also help senhance network security, protects digital identities, and ensures platform integrity.

 

A power button and reset button was also included on the P55 Extreme to help users be able to boot up the system without having to connect the front panel buttons. This is a very convenient feature that many of us hardware reviewers enjoy having.

 

This board supports up to 16GBs of DDR3-2600/2133/1866/1600/1333/1066 memory via four DIMMs working in dual-channel mode. This is consistent with boards supported by the P55 chipset.

 

The spacing around the CPU socket has ample room for users to install a third party, air-cooled heatsink or upgrading to a water cooling solution. ASRock also adds mounting holes for LGA 1156 and LGA 775 heatsinks which is a neat feature for those users who own a higher end LGA 775 heatsink and want to use it with the P55 Extreme.

 

 

Included Extras

One of the best bundled features I've ever seen with a motherboard is this SATA3 add-on card that ASRock included with the P55 Extreme. Users can plug one SATA 6GB/s device into this add-on card, which will double the transfer rates people see with SATA 3GB/s devices.

 

ASRock included four SATA cables, which is more than adequate to setup a good gaming or entertainment PC system.

 

The I/O backplate is color coded and includes descriptions to help users plug in devices properly. They also added an SLI bridge and a power button extension cable.

 

For legacy users, ASRock included one floppy cable, one PATA cable, and power adapters to connect molex to SATA devices.

 

They also threw in a little reading material on their Intelligent Screen Saver and Instant Boot programs that come bundled with the P55 Extreme.

 

Lastly, they included a user manual and driver CD to complete the bundled package. Overall, for $159 this is an excellent bundle that includes a SATA 6GB/s add-on card to help users upgrade to the newest SATA specifications.

 

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