Review Index:

Intel Lynnfield Core i7-870 and Core i5-750 Processor Review

Author: Ryan Shrout
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

The P55 chipset is the new accomplice

With nearly every new processor generation comes a new platform and chipset to support it from Intel.  It is one of the keys to Intel's success over the years: stable and reliable chipsets from day one.  The Lynnfield release is no different and the P55 chipset is stepping in to take its place by Lynnfield's side. 

More than likely you have been hearing and seeing P55 motherboards for some months now - PC Perspective has posted 4 unique previews and numerous news posts about products based around the P55 chipset.  And in reality, the P55 chipset doesn't really have anything new or exciting to offer the consumer:

With the movement of the primary PCIe 2.0 lanes from the chipset to the processor itself, the P55 is more or less a south bridge disguised by a different name.  The P55 offers up 14 USB 2.0 ports, 8 lanes of PCI Express 1.0 support (the lanes on the Lynnfield core are 2.0), Gigabit Ethernet, HD audio, 6 SATA channels with Matrix Storage Technology and that's about it.  Performance should pretty much be identical to that of previous generation Intel ICH chips.

As I mentioned on the previous pages the chipset communicates with the processor via a 2 GB/s DMI connection - somewhat constraining for future technologies like SATA 6G but should suffice most users for the duration of the processor's life.

The X58 chipset diagram already looks wildly different than the P55 variant

Comparing the X58 diagram here to the P55 diagram the biggest shift is in the move to a single chip design for the P55 and how much work it looks like the Lynnfield CPU is taking off the hands of the chipset.  This is without a doubt a big step towards higher-level system integration.

As far as retail P55 product goes, we have literally been swimming in it. 

The ASUS Maximum III Formula is one of the best P55 motherboards I have tested to date and includes devilish good looks with some very unique overclocking functionality.  This board was the basis of all our Lynnfield benchmarks for this review. 

The P55 chipset itself isn't very exciting to look at...

Intel's motherboard team has always made some quality launch-time motherboards and the DP55KG is no exception.

The best part about these new P55 motherboards will be the price.  While X58 motherboards are still hard to find under $200, there will be MANY available on day one for $150 or so.  You can expect a whole room full of P55 motherboard reviews to be on PC Perspective in the coming weeks!

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