Gigabyte P55-UD6 P55 Lynnfield Motherboard Review
Features, Layout, Included Extras
1. Industry leading 24 phase power VRM design for optimum power efficiency and thermal solution
2. Leading quality standard of Ultra Durable™ 3 technology with 2oz copper PCB design
3. Innovative Smart 6 technology for Smarter PC management
4. Support Intel® Core™ i7/ Core™ i5 processors with LGA 1156 socket
5. New Dynamic Energy Saver™ 2 technology enables best energy efficiency
6. Support both ATI CrossFireX and NVIDIA SLI for ultimate graphics performance
7. Smart TPM provides 2048 bits key via Bluetooth cellphone
8. Smart DualLAN with Intelligent LAN port auto-switching
9. XHD technology accelerating hard drive performance with ease
10. AutoGreen technology Greening your PC via Bluetooth cellphone
11. Integrated eSATA/USB combo connectors for enhanced storage flexibility
12. Patented GIGABYTE DualBIOS™ technology delivering highest level failure protection
13. Supports Dolby Home Theater audio to create a stunning surround sound listening experience
14. Onboard debug LED simplifies motherboard troubleshooting
15. The Precision OV provides more precision voltage control for system
16. Compatible with Windows 7 to deliver the best operation experience
The P55-UD6 comes beautifully packaged in Gigabyte's standard retail packaging that features their 24-phase power design, three year warranty, SLI and CrossfireX support, and Ultra Durable 3 technology.
The back panel of the board's retail packaging provides potential consumers more information about their 24-phase power design and other power saving features. The graphic illustrations used to describe the board's features and specifications should be well received by consumers who like visual graphics that actually show them how each feature functions and performs.
The front panel of the box opens up to show consumers more of the board's security, data back, and overclocking features. There's also a huge window for users to actually get a full view of the motherboard to give them a better idea of what the board physically looks like.
The first feature that stood out on the P55-UD6 are the extra two DIMMs Gigabyte added to this board, which goes away from what other vendors have done with their P55 offerings. The main reason is because the P55 only supports dual-channel DDR3 memory, and not triple-channel memory like the LGA 1366 socket motherboards with X58 chipsets. The other key feature to note is the triple SLI/CrossfireX support that includes three PCI-E slots running at x16 speeds when used independently. However, when consumers use this board with three PCI-E graphics cards that are connected with bridge connectors, the speeds drop to x16, x8, and x4 speeds.
Nothing special as usual to note here. The back of the PCB only has one small aluminum backplate behind the CPU socket.
The back I/O panel has almost every feature that will need access to including eight USB 2.0 ports, two firewire ports in two different pin configurations, one PS/2 keyboard/mouse port, one coaxial S/PDIF out, one optical S/PDIF out, two eSATA/USB combo connectors, dual Gigabit LAN jacks, and six audio jacks for high-definition audio. This extensive offering just adds to the value of the board to the consumer, and it's important to note that not all vendors will include this many features in the back I/O panel, but still charge around the same price. I hope consumers do their homework and weigh every pro and con before making their final purchasing decisions.
As with many Gigabyte boards that have come across my test bench of late, this vendor has chosen to add support for triple PCI-E graphics cards configurations in either the SLI or CrossfireX flavors. That's good news for high-definition gamers, and we would also be interesting in seeing how AMD's Eyefinity will work in these configurations too.
Moving onto the board headers, we first come across a serial port header and one of the motherboard's four-pin fan power connectors.
The bottom of the P55-UD6 also has two USB 2.0 headers that support four USB devices and there is also one more firewire header to support an additional firewire device. These expandability options are very useful and come in handy more than one might thing when they are looking for a long-term upgrade solution for professional workstations and even gaming systems.
The front panel headers are color-coded and easily identifiable for users to plug them in and go about their next installation task.
The right side of this motherboard includes 10 SATA 3GB/s ports that are controlled by the P55 chipset and an additional JMB362 controller. The JMB362 also supports RAID 0 and 1, while the P55-controlled ports can also handle RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10.
Another handy addition is the onboard post code LED display that's located on the lower right-hand side of the motherboard. The location of this display is also pretty good because it can't be blocked by additional graphics cards or other PCI-E and PCI devices.
The onboard power button is very stylish, but it has a very functional use for those who frequently upgrade their systems or need to troubleshoot problems with their PCs.
Gigabyte included two extra DIMMs on the P55-UD6, but the technical specifications and limitations are no different than other P55 boards that only include four DIMMs. This board can still only support 16GBs of dual-channel DDR3 2200/1333/1066/800 MHz memory like most other P55 boards. This is important for users to understand because they could get confused with the LGA 1366 platform that supports triple-channel DDR3 memory.
As we move onto the top of the motherboard, my eyes bask in the glow of all the power components surrounding the CPU socket on the P55-UD6. The stylish heatsinks and heatpipe combination go very well with the board's overall aesthetics, and should leave plenty of clearance to install larger third-party heatsinks for better overclocking.
Some of the included accessories Gigabyte added with this board are four SATA connectors, one legacy PATA connector, and one SLI bridge.
The P55-UD6 also comes with a color-coded I/O backplate, eSATA bracket, and two eSATA connectors.
There's also plenty of documentation to help users get the most out of Gigabyte's Smart 6 utility suite.
Lastly, Gigabyte included an indepth user manual and DVD with drivers and other third-party applications.