Electronic Design
Gigabyte's Core P55 Motherboard

Gigabyte's Core P55 Motherboard

Gigabyte’s GA-P55A-UD6 (Fig. 1) is one of the hottest ATX motherboards around. It handles the latest Intel Core i5 and i7 1156 socket processors and incorporates major advancements such as SuperSpeed USB 3.0 and 6GHz SATA III support. It utilizes a 24 phase power VRM design and Dynamic Energy Saver 2 technology delivers optimum power efficiency and its Ultra Durable 3 technology is based on 2oz copper PCB design.

The USB 3.0 support uses the NEC SuperSpeed USB 3.0 with transfer rates up to 5 Gbit/s. All the USB ports can deliver up to three times the power of conventional USB ports. The Marvell SE9128 high speed SATA3 storage interface delivers the 6Gbit/s storage transfer rate. Also included is Gigabyte’s Smart 6 technology for PC management including Smart TPM that allows a user to provides 2048 bits key via Bluetooth cellphone for more secure system operation. The Gigabyte DualBIOS technology makes it almost impossible to brick the motherboard via a BIOS upgrade. On-board LEDs help should troubleshooting be necessary.

The motherboard supports both ATI CrossFireX and NVIDIA SLI to handle multiple graphics cards simultaneously. Up to two x16 PCI Express cards can be used with the motherboard. Built-in Dolby Home Theater audio delivers impressive surround sound. The Smart DualLAN has port auto-switching for both 1 Gbit/s Ethernet connections.

The GA-P55A-UD6 has six DIMM for 240-pin DDR3 dual channel memory. There is an IDE and floppy drive connector if you need them but more likely the six SATA II and two SATA III connectors will get more use. RAID 0 and 1 are supported but only a pair of SATA III drives can be configured in a RAID 1 configuration. There are a pair of USB headers and a 1394 header for internal use. There are three x16 PCI Express sockets but they run x16, x8 and x4 interfaces. There is a pair of x1 PCI Express and a pair of PCI sockets.

The back panel has integrated eSATA/USB combo connectors (Fig. 2) in the middle. These provide power of eSATA drives. It also has half a dozen USB 2.0 connections and a pair of USB 3.0 connections on the far right. All the USB ports can deliver up to three times the power of conventional USB ports. There are both types of 1394 connectors plus optical and S/PDIF connections on the left. There is only one PS/2 port but that will likely go unused in most cases. The discrete audio connections are on the right and of course there are a pair of Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45 jacks on top.

TPM (Trusted Platform Module) support may not be at the top of most users checklist but it is indispensible if security is a top priority. Gigabyte’s SmartTPM not only secures the operating system when it boots but it can do it using your Bluetooth enable phone or a USB flash drive. Walk  away with the phone or flash drive and system data is essentially locked down.

The GA-P55A-UD6 is a top of the line motherboard that will make any user pleased with its functionality and performance.


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