Page 9 of 10
ASRock P55 Pro:
While the board does perform on the same level compared to all others, it lacks in the power-consumption category. Even overclocking is possible with this board and we have to commend ASRock support which included our requests to allow under-voltaging. On the other hand ASRock is the only vendor over-voltaging some settings at stock speeds. We can't accept such behaviour. But at least now you can reduce the over-voltaging by yourself. For €88,- you get a nice board. For this price, the offer is a good one.
Also the Elitegroup offering did perform well. As usual with Elitegroup they lack BIOS support. Even known bugs take weeks to fix and even longer to place on the webpage. Also the overclocking department is not it's strongest suit, but at least idle-power is satisfory. The price is at about €96,-. However, due to the lack of satisfactory BIOS support we can't recommend it.
The Intel board is a strange one. While they think a "skull" on the board is cool, which maybe is on Helloween, most of the components are not highend. So you have to pay for the name, but get a board which does work without flaws. We hope Intel will arrive in the 21st century soon. The board is available for about €166,-.
This is the star of our review. While it's more expensive compared to ASRock and Elitegroup at about €125,- it offers the unique RDS-on MOSFET technology which lowers power-consumption even under load and also keeps CPU temperature lower. We are not happy with the choices of some components MSI made. OC Genie does not work as well as advertised and experienced users won't benefit from it. A better network chip but without PATA and Floppy controllers/connectors would have been better. MSI does improve the BIOS all the time which is commendable. Of course this is not the ideal board we wished for - because MSI did not ask us - and even though OC Genie doesn't live up to our expectations it's the best choice for now and we can recommend it.
More is not better as MSI proved with the GD80. Three slots are not a wise option with just the P55 chipset, which limits the third PCIe 2.0 x16 slot at x2 speed. Also more phases don't help the board. It does not improve overclocking and increases power-consumption. So for real triple Crossfire or SLI operation the new Trinity will be a better option but at an extremly high price. We also don't like the extremly lame cooling solution with its unnecessary northbridge cooler which does nothing but block the first PCIe x16 slot. The board is available for about €175,-.