Intel DP55KG P55 Lynnfield Motherboard Review
Features, Layout, Included Extras
Support for the Intel® Core™ i7 and Intel® Core™ i5 processors in the LGA1156 package
Features Intel® Turbo Boost Technology3 and Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology4 for exceptional performance and scalability, and 8 MB Shared Intel® Smart Cache, enabling dynamic and efficient allocation of cache.
Intel® P55 Express Chipset:
Revolutionary new single chip increases routing space for additional onboard
features and lowers power consumption.
Dual-Channel DDR 3 1600+1 / 1333 / 1066 MHz memory support:
Four DIMM slots support up to 16 GB5 memory connected directly to the processor via the Integrated Memory Controller.
One PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot:
Graphics with the ability to scale to dual x8 graphics supporting ATI CrossFireX and NVIDIA SLI.
One PCI Express 2.0 x4 slot, two PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots, and two PCI expansion slots:
Flexibility to support PCI Express and legacy PCI devices.
Eight SATA 3.0 GB/s ports, with two additional eSATA ports:
Allows for a large addition of external mass storage using either single hard drives or SATA enclosures supporting port replication.
Intel Matrix Storage Technology:
RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 for higher performance data access and/or data protection.
Consumer infrared receiver and transmitter:
Supports receiving,learning, and emitting capabilities, controls up to two additional CE devices with your PC, and eliminates the need for a USB CIR dongle.
Exclusive voltage regulator thermal solutions:
Provides reliable and silent cooling for extreme performance tuning.
Six-phase improved voltage regulator:
The addition of the CHiL processor voltage regulator allows for improved power and voltage delivery to reach even better performance while running games and media applications.
Adds the ability to connect to Bluetooth-enabled devices such as an audio headset, keyboard, or mouse for reduced cable computing.
Post code decoder:
Allows for display of post codes for debug along with the included post code quick reference card displaying critical areas to help troubleshoot performance-increase roadblocks.
New feature allows easy system recovery with all the BIOS settings kept intact after pushing the performance envelope too far.
One IEEE 1394a port with one additional port via internal header; eight Hi-Speed USB 2.0 ports with four additional ports via two internal headers and one onboard port via one internal header:
Provides for the most flexible connectivity options for front and back panels.
The DP55KG came packaged in Intel's signature Extreme Series branded retailed box with a large blue "circuitry" skull embossed on the front panel.
The back panel of the retail box lists the board's features and specifications and has short summaries on the DP55KG's overclocking and basic P55 chipset features.
Upon opening the retail box, we are greeted with some marketing material that discusses the advantages users will notice with Intel's family of desktop motherboard solutions.
Our initial impressions of the DP55KG are pretty positive. Our eyes were first drawn to the blue heatsinks, DIMMs, and PCI sockets as well as the large circuitry skull in the bottom right-hand corner of the motherboard. The P55 uses only one chip that really gives vendors more room to work with to add third-party chips and controllers. Intel crammed most of their headers in locations that are already occupied by other devices, which is a little disappointing considering the available space toward the bottom of the board. I'm a bit concerned about the POST code LED display's location, because its view could be obstructed by a large third-party heatsink. Overall, the layout is clean for the most part, but Intel could have moved a few controllers to other less-crowded areas on the motherboard.
The back of the PCB has the usual suspect - a plain aluminum backplate behind the CPU.
The back I/O panel is rich with available features, including eight USB 2.0 ports, one firewire port, one Gigabit port, two eSATA ports, a Back-to-BIOS button, S/PDIF In and Out optical connectors, and audio ports for 7.1 high definition audio. The eSATA connectors on the back panel can be used for port replication, which allows the aggregation of multiple hard drives on each of the eSATA ports. The eSATA interface also supports RAID 0 and 1.
Intel included one PCI-E 2.0 x16 port, PCI-E 2.0 x8 port, PCI-E 2.0 x4 port, two PCI-E 2.0 x1 ports, and two PCI bus connectors on the DP55KG. These extra PCI-E 2.0 ports are available courtesy of the P55 chipset.
Here's an up-close and personal look at the front panel audio, S/PDIF, and rear chassis fan headers.
The DP55KG also has eight SATA 3.0GB/s headers onboard. Two of the SATA headers are controlled by a discrete onboard controller, while the other six are managed by the P55 chipset. The six onboard SATA channels (black connectors) provided by the chipset support Intel Matrix Storage RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 levels.
Here's another grouping of USB 2.0, fan, and firewire headers that are located on the right side of the motherboard above the SATA headers. The USB 2.0 headers can support up to four devices, while the firewire header can only manage one IEEE 1394a device.
The front panel power, reset, power LED, and hard drive LED activity headers are color coded for easy installation. There are also headers for a back panel CIR transmitter (output) and a front panel CIR receiver (input).
Intel also incorporated a simple power button at the top of the motherboard. This is pretty commonplace on most modern motherboards, but still a nifty feature, especially for hardware reviewers like myself who swap out new boards frequently.
Here's a close-up shot of the POST code LED display in all its glory. It's located right above the PCI-E 2.0 x16 port, and should be easy to read and unobstructed by large graphics cards and heatsinks.
The DP55KG supports up to 16GB of dual channel DDR3 memory, including DDR3 1600, DDR3 1333, and DDR3 1066 DIMMs.
The low profile heatsinks around the CPU should provide plenty of clearance for large CPU coolers and even have room to mount a water block or other cooling solution. The six phase power design allows for improved power and voltage delivery to reach even better performance while running games and media applications.
Intel also included a USB connector on board next to the eight-pin power connector on the top left corner of the DP55KG motherboard. I'm a little concerned that users won't have access to this USB connector because of power connectors and large heatsinks getting in the way of it being a useful feature. This connector should have been placed toward the bottom of the case where users might have a little more room to work with instead of by one of the most cluttered portions of the motherboard.
The Intel DP55KG comes with a bluetooth external antenna, an SLI bridge to link two graphics cards, and a simple I/O backplate.
Intel included plenty of marketing material for users to browse about their entire line of motherboards.
More marketing info about Intel's Integrator Assistance and other useful resources.
And, of course, two more books pushing Intel products and their Extreme Series product line.