A sneak peek at a Gigabyte P55 motherboard

First spotted at Computex last month, Gigabyte’s GA-EP55-UD4P has made its way to the Benchmarking Sweatshop. Although we can’t say much about the board just yet, we snapped some nudies for your viewing pleasure:

Yep, looks like a Gigabyte mobo

Gigabyte says a whopping 24 power phases will feed the CPU socket on one of its P55 boards

Lynnfield’s new LGA1156 socket shows its pins

Despite the presence of next-gen SATA 6Gbps ports, you still get an IDE port

Seven expansion slots with plenty of PCI and PCI Express connectivity

The port cluster is positively packed with plenty of everything

Gigabyte is prepping no fewer than five P55-based motherboards for Lynnfield’s launch. All will support CrossFire and SLI, carry Dolby Home Theater certification, and feature auxiliary SATA controllers and dual GigE chips. Only the GA-EP55-UD6 is slated to sport Gigabyte’s fancy new 24-phase power solution, though.

Comments closed
    • axeman
    • 13 years ago

    I better be able to use my awesome serial intellimouse forever dammit.

    • axeman
    • 13 years ago

    so it uses ITE-IDE?

    • axeman
    • 13 years ago

    I demand optical input and output. This is a joke mobo!

    • axeman
    • 13 years ago

    And if USB3 isn’t going to benefit external storage because of eSATA, what point is there (for now). Heck, the majority of USB devices (pretty much anything but mass storage) is fine on USB1.1. Unless we can start expanding ram with USB3… Hmm..

    • reactorfuel
    • 13 years ago

    In terms of theoretical bandwidth, USB3 should be faster than current eSATA.

    However, keep in mind that eSATA hooks the drive straight into the storage controller, using storage drivers, and all the rest. USB of any stripe has to use more complex drivers that can support a wide range of devices, use more CPU time (and add latency), and don’t support storage-specific features like NCQ. Plus, modern single drives don’t max out current SATA or eSATA interfaces anyway. USB3 is theoretically faster, but if you use the drive for active work as opposed to bulk data storage, eSATA will likely /[

    • Imperor
    • 13 years ago

    Nice to see that Gigabyte doesn’t care about the ridiculus claim that calling SATA III, SATA III (3) would confuse consumers and have just stuck to the logical naming scheme… 🙂

    To quote SATA-IO: “The terms SATA III or SATA 3.0, which are considered to cause confusion among consumers, must not be used.”
    They brought it on themselves for being stupid enough to market SATA II as 3Gbps insted of just SATA II. That’s what you get for being greedy and not thinking ahead!

    The people who don’t know the difference can just eat it up and get what’s coming to the ignorant! (Most ppl who don’t know the difference won’t be affected in the least anyways as HDDs aren’t up to speed yet by a longshot).

    As for all the “legacy” connectors I for one can’t wait until they drop PS2 & IDE as well as the stone age Parallell and Serial crap!
    For you who claim to “need” them: Maybe it’s time to upgrade some more of your hardware, eh?

    • Nitrodist
    • 13 years ago

    Some (expensive) add-on cards will have their own co-processor to process the bandwidth.

    • Kurotetsu
    • 13 years ago

    Except that he said he’s running dual 4850s, so the x16 are both taken up.

    idgarad:

    Frankly, it seems pretty damn obvious to me that you need an X58 board.

    §[<http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130226<]§ There. The third cheapest X58 board on Newegg and it fits all your requirements. 2x16 for your 4850s and the third x16 slots runs at x4 for your RAID card. That took all of, what, 1 minute to find?

    • derFunkenstein
    • 13 years ago

    I’ve had some AMD-based mobos not supply enough power to the USB ports for certain devices, but in every case a PCI card has supplied plenty juice. So it depends on the system, I think.

    • Veerappan
    • 13 years ago

    There’s nothing preventing you from using one of those x16 slots for a RAID controller with a 4x physical connector… I’m not exactly a fan of having only 16x and 1x slots either, but I can understand at least the 1x slot near the northbridge heatsink (there’s no room for anythin else), and the reclamation of board real estate elsewhere can be useful.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 13 years ago

    So when does Lynnfield launch? Any day now?

    • idgarad
    • 13 years ago

    Junk, still no PCIE 4x slots… 2 PCIE 1x slots? Garbage. Running dual 4850s leaves no room for a real raid controller and anyone foolish enough to use that trash matrix raid two words: HARD LOCKUP. Yeah that’s right the system locks up and you are running a 4 hour long verification regardless of raid 10 or raid 5. Had 1 lockup and after rebooting lost the whole damn array (on board raid 5 ICH10). Using hardware raid controller now and even if the system hard locks the raid is fine due to the BBU and a controller that is independent of the OS and drivers…

    2 x1 slots? Seriously? Trash… They’ll put in nextgen sata but won’t bother bumping the PCIE x1 slots to x4 is nonsense…

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    Shouldn’t USB 3.0 be faster than eSATA? Plus you know the ports will be powered.

    • srg86
    • 13 years ago

    …and I need serial ports. Thankfully the drivers in Linux for USB to serial converters are more reliable than the windows ones.

    oops..meant to be a reply to #27.

    • Meadows
    • 13 years ago

    Speaking of which, are there any advantages of using an expansion card as opposed to using the integrated ports?

    • UberGerbil
    • 13 years ago

    Weird. Outboard peripheral bandwidth (aside from eSATA and gigE) is so low on my priority list I hadn’t given it any thought. I’m still not sure what I’d use it for.

    • UberGerbil
    • 13 years ago

    There’s no shameless “exploitation” here. This is obviously a pre-production board using some components from a past generation. If you’ve seen engineering samples you’re familiar with this sort of thing and just shrug and move on.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    No Northbridge, no. If you look closely you can see that there isn’t even an appropriate mounting hole for the ‘Gigabyte’ heatsink in the PCB although there is one with a silkscreen outline farther out. So either they used this incorrectly sized one as a mockup and will use a larger one on the real mobo or this isn’t the final PCB. There may be other chips worth cooling under there although not with a heatsink that massive.

    • FuturePastNow
    • 13 years ago

    What’s even funnier is that the “northbridge” heatsink on this board is fake. There’s no chip under it.

    Gigabyte is shamelessly exploiting computer enthusiasts who see big heatsinks and think “good.”

    • TurtlePerson2
    • 13 years ago

    Well, I need 6 USB ports for all of my peripherals, so this works out well.

    • Arxor
    • 13 years ago

    True enough, but I’d rather have it built in on all 50 USB ports.

    USB 3 and SATA 6Gbps, along with DX11, compose the trifecta of hardware glory that I’m waiting for.

    • funko
    • 13 years ago

    nothing a pci-e add-on can’t solve, no?

    • Dr_b_
    • 13 years ago

    the IDE controller is an ITE device.

    • cygnus1
    • 13 years ago

    yeah, not so much a single serial port, but get rid of dual serial and a parallel port, and that frees up a little space

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 13 years ago

    IDE controller??! There is one?

    • Arxor
    • 13 years ago

    This has me so so tempted to throw patience to the winds and forget about USB 3… but alas…

    NEVER!

    Read my lips… no new systems. Until USB 3.

    • gtoulouzas
    • 13 years ago

    I sincerely hope it is the latter. Jmicron’s p.o.s. hard drive controllers make Jmicron’s SSD controllers look like marvels of engineering by comparison. Pun not intended.

    • Kurotetsu
    • 13 years ago

    I very much expect my next build to be mATX, since I finally managed to convince myself that I really don’t need all the expandibility a full ATX board has to offer (I use the PCI-E x16 slot and either 1 of the PCI or 1 of the PCI-E x1 slots of my current board, depending on what sound card I’m using).

    With all the mATX options that Core i7 and probably Core i5 will have, its a great time to downsize your system.

    • Meadows
    • 13 years ago

    Holy port clusters, Batman!
    This board looks really nice.

    • shank15217
    • 13 years ago

    I doubt it really makes any difference, northbridge heatsinks seem more of a bling factor these days.

    • UberGerbil
    • 13 years ago

    That is one funky (and not particularly efficient-looking) SB heatsink.

    • UberGerbil
    • 13 years ago

    Yeah, I just saw that. Hopefully we’ll see more (and ITX flavors too, which should be easier without a NB to accommodate).

    • UberGerbil
    • 13 years ago

    Nice. Looks very clean without the NB chip (or cooler) too.

    • moshpit
    • 13 years ago

    There isn’t a “northbridge/southbridge” with P55. It’s a single chip solution. I have no clue what’s under the “northbridge” heatsink. More VRMs or something?

    • UberGerbil
    • 13 years ago

    That’s for Braidwood. The P57 boards will be identical to the P55 boards (in many cases) just with the addition of NAND (or at least the sockets for them). We had an extensive discussion about this when these boards were displayed at Computex
    §[<https://techreport.com/discussions.x/17019<]§

    • UberGerbil
    • 13 years ago

    I’d rather see standard ITX and mATX P55 boards (and more cases for those form factors) than pay the Shuttle Tax. But to each his own.

    • UberGerbil
    • 13 years ago

    OMG yes, a serial port takes up, what, the space of /[

    • UberGerbil
    • 13 years ago

    I have had good experiences with Gigabyte, but I’ve never had to use their product support (which is the best form of support, I guess).

    One thing about the 55/57 boards — they’ve been under development now for longer than usual before a new CPU introduction, because Lynnfield was delayed for market (rather than technical) reasons. So the boards may be more mature, with fewer driver/BIOS issues, than usual for first edition products (and it helps that Lynnfield pulls most of the northbridge onto the die, where Intel QA is wholly responsible for it).

    Of course the fact that they don’t have a the proper (final) heatsink setup on this board doesn’t engender a lot of confidence in that position. I guess we’ll see. (As usual, the pioneers get the arrows).

    • UberGerbil
    • 13 years ago

    There isn’t one. The heatsink is still there, but as cegras points out (#22) it doesn’t look like there’s anything under it. This is clearly a pre-production board using some components they had lying around from the last generation.

    See yehuda’s link (#5) of a Gigabyte mATX board without the surplus heatsink.

    • UberGerbil
    • 13 years ago

    Yeah, that was my thought too (along with the usual “I can’t believe I’m critiquing the color-scheme of motherboard components”). Then I saw the back panel and realized Mr Orange had more power than I realized initially.

    But this is clearly a pre-production sample, and it’s quite possible that the shipping boards won’t have this fork-in-eye feature. (Though was it really so hard to find, say, a black PCIe slot?)

    • bdwilcox
    • 13 years ago

    Anyone know what the IDE controller is? JMicron or Marvell? I can’t see from the pics.

    • cegras
    • 13 years ago

    Just to confirm, the actual P55 chipset sits underneath the stand alone sink, right? I don’t see anything under the ‘northbridge’ part of the heatpiped connected sink for the VRM and it has no screws bolting it down to boot.

    • albundy
    • 13 years ago

    I have been longing for an i5 setup, but now I have read on anandtech that they will cost more than i7 cpu’s. i am now at odds in investing in something that cannot handle a future upgrade to 6 cores. i also presume that this gigabyte board can only handle 1 x16 pci-e or 2 x8.

    • eitje
    • 13 years ago

    that made me laugh, loudly. well done.

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 13 years ago

    Oh man! There goes my retirement money…

    • Kurotetsu
    • 13 years ago

    With Core i5, the memory controller, PCI-E controller, and DMI interface were all moved to the CPU. Does anyone know what the northbridge is still being used for?

    • Saber Cherry
    • 13 years ago

    After my experience with a P43, which could not even display 3D graphics properly (with a GF 9600) until the fourth BIOS update, I recommend against buying rev. 1 of any Gigabyte motherboard. They stopped updating the BIOS over 6 months ago and the latest one still doesn’t handle hard drives correctly, so I assume it has faulty hardware.

    Actually, I just don’t trust Gigabyte and can’t recommend them, though unfortunately I can’t name a single trustworthy board maker. However, I WILL say that Gigabyte makes so many versions of its different boards that it can’t support them all properly.

    • swaaye
    • 13 years ago

    There’s not enough garish yellow!!!! As a gigabyte fan I demand more color!!!!!

    • Thresher
    • 13 years ago

    Do want. Right now.

    • Kurotetsu
    • 13 years ago

    Awesome. This is why I’m a Gigabyte fanboy (was an ASUS one previously, than I bought a P35-DS3R….).

    Though, I would probably ditch one of the PCI ports and add an extra PCI-Ex x1. That, or use the layout that the P45-UD3P used, which prioritized the PCI-E slots over the PCI ones in regards to dual-slot video cards.

    • DancinJack
    • 13 years ago

    I’m pretty sure one of the new Gigabyte P55 boards will be in my future. 🙂

    • cygnus1
    • 13 years ago

    It looks like ONFI to me?

    Something to do with these guys maybe? §[<http://onfi.org/<]§ §[<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_NAND_Flash_Interface_Working_Group<]§

    • khands
    • 13 years ago

    Too bad you won’t be able to grab a cheaper CPU for that though.

    • Fragnificent
    • 13 years ago

    DROOL. Now where is that P55 Shuttle??!

    • KyleSTL
    • 13 years ago

    What in the world are the empty slots beside the IDE connector? They are 78-pin slots and look to be labelled “CNF I1” and “CNF I2”.

    • TurtlePerson2
    • 13 years ago

    You can put so many more connectors on the back of the board now that serial is gone.

    • swampfox
    • 13 years ago

    I kinda miss my old Lego-inspired board… am I the only one?

    • Farting Bob
    • 13 years ago

    Gigabyte board designer A: Look guys, ive made a really nice, subtle colour scheme rather than using lego bricks to model our boards on!

    Gigabyte board designer B: That will not do. Stick a god damn bright orange piece in the middle or your fired.

    • yehuda
    • 13 years ago
    • sweatshopking
    • 13 years ago

    Yes! they are coming to my Realm! i am the sweatshopking!!!!!!!!!!!

    • cygnus1
    • 13 years ago

    10 (8 internal, 2 external) sata and dual gigE?!? this could be the heart of a nice little storage server

    • flip-mode
    • 13 years ago

    Thank you. More please. I am so salivating over the prospect of doing a system build.

    • DrDillyBar
    • 13 years ago

    Liking the 2 eSATA’s and the presence of the PS/2 port.

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