Gigabyte aims for microATX with P55 boards

Earlier this week, the folks at Gigabyte held an event to introduce the press to their lineup of P55 motherboards. I attended and got the skinny on a whole raft of upcoming products—11 different motherboard models, by my count, based on Intel's P55 chipset and intended for Lynnfield Core i5/i7 processors.

Reps from Intel and Kingston were on hand to talk about how their new CPUs and memory would complement the motherboards. The talk was generally upbeat all around, since many in the industry are looking to Lynnfield and its related products to provide a much-needed boost for the PC market in the midst of a difficult economy. That hope is predicated in part on the fact that Lynnfield projects to deliver a real boost in single- and dual-threaded applications—including games—thanks to an aggressive version of the Turbo Boost function familiar from the original Bloomfield Core i7s.

Of course, when I mention 11 different mobo models, that's perhaps overstating things, since many of them are just minor variations of the same design, with features deleted to meet different price points. We've already previewed one of the anchors of that lineup, the P55-UD4P. One board that stood out from the pack, though, was the P55M-UD4.

This thing crams an awful lot into a microATX form factor, including four DDR3 DIMM slots, two PCIe x16 slots with SLI and CrossFireX support, PCIe x4 and PCI expansion slots, eight SATA ports, eight-channel HD Audio with Dolby Home Theater certification, and 12-phase power. On top of that, Gigabyte has a whole stack of fancy tweaking and tuning capabilities with which it endows most of its boards, and this mATX specimen looks to be generously appointed on that front, as well.

This is just one of two P55 mATX boards Gigabyte has planned. The other, the UD2, looks to have two PCI slots and fewer features, likely at a lower price.

We'll have more to say about these P55 boards once the CPUs have officially made their debut, of course. Stay tuned.

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