MSI also prepping P55 mobo with 6Gbps SATA, USB 3.0

Asus and Gigabyte aren't the only ones sticking 6Gbps Serial ATA and USB 3.0 controllers onto P55 motherboards. Images of an unannounced MSI P55-GD85 motherboards featuring both kinds of next-generation I/O have appeared on the Coolaler forums.

From a distance, the P55-GD85 looks like just about any other high-end P55 mobo. The photos show a pair of PCI Express x16 slots, four DDR3 DIMM slots, heatsinks on the power regulation circuitry, and a few overclocker-friendly buttons on the circuit board (including power, reset, plus, and minus). MSI has also included little headers to let tweakers check CPU, memory, and chipset voltages with a multimeter.

We can see two upright 6Gbps SATA ports near the chipset and a couple of blue USB 3.0 ports in the I/O area. MSI has hooked up the controllers powering those ports to a PLX PCI Express bridge chip, as well. The automated translation doesn't explain its purpose very well, but on Asus motherboards, a similar bridge consolidates four half-speed PCIe 2.0 lanes from the P55 MCH into two full-speed lanes for the next-gen I/O controllers.

Other features on the P55-GD85 include eight power phases, dual Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire, and Realtek ALC889 onboard audio, which supports on-the-fly Dolby Digital Live encoding. The Coolaler forum member who posted the features doesn't quote a release date or pricing, though.

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