Building a Core i5 or Core i7 rig doesn't have to mean buying an elephantine enclosure. We recently reviewed a pair of Intel P55 motherboards with microATX form factors from Gigabyte and MSI, and today, we see EVGA has jumped on that bandwagon with the $119.99 P55 V.
The EVGA P55 V motherboard has a clear enthusiast pedigree, with a sleek black and gray layout, a pair of physical PCI Express x16 slots, Nvidia SLI certification, six internal 300MB/s Serial ATA ports (two of which are mounted on the edge of the board so as not to stand in the way of dual-slot graphics cards), and a complete lack of 32-bit PCI slots.
EVGA includes a FireWire header and a couple of extra USB ports that mount in an expansion area, but the standard I/O area isn't exactly overcrowded—we see six USB ports, one external Serial ATA, Gigabit Ethernet, and your standard PS/2 and analog audio connections.
The $120 asking price makes the P55 V is a bit cheaper than the GA-P55M-UD4 we reviewed, but it's neck and neck with MSI's P55M-GD45. While the MSI board may not look quite as stylish, it does have a more generous distribution of I/O ports, and all of its internal SATA ports are side-mounted. Then again, EVGA offers its board with a $10 mail-in rebate, so you might be able to get it for slightly less.