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GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD6 Motherboard Preview - The Layout

Lynnfield is just around the corner and the first boards to support it are showing up. We had the chance to take a closer look at one from GIGABYTE.

| Socket LGA 1156 in Motherboards | Posted: Jul 17, 2009 7:02 am

The Layout

 

The GA-P55-UD6 has a fairly clean layout with a standard ATX form factor. As with all modern mainboard designs, we see the upper half of the board containing the CPU, RAM and power connectors. One additional "trend" that we have come to see in mainboard design is the inclusion of heatsinks surrounding the CPU socket. While this is there to keep the power regulators cool, it does clutter up the board and can make for awkward installations for larger cooling products.

 

GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD6 Motherboard Preview

 

If you take a close look at the upper PCI-E x1 slot, you will notice something ugly. There is almost no way you can use this slot. The Northbridge heatsink blocks it from use. Yes, there are smaller x1 cards, but for the most part it is unusable and probably should not even be there.

 

GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD6 Motherboard Preview

 

One other item that becomes more difficult to connect is the 8-pin Auxiliary ATX power connector. Due to its placement in the upper left hand corner of the board (as viewed when installed in a standard tower case) the heatpipe intended to cool the power regulators interferes with easy access, especially if you use a larger CPU cooling solution. You may want to consider getting an extender cable for this so you can plug it in before you mount the board into your case.

 

GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD6 Motherboard Preview

 

Taking a closer look at the CPU socket, we see a change in the hold down mechanism.

 

Instead of the normal clamp design that you see on 775 and 1366 sockets, the 1156 socket on the P55-UD6 has an interesting slide lock style.

 

GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD6 Motherboard Preview

 

As you lift the locking arm the clamp moves backwards and releases from a single front "bolt" .

 

GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD6 Motherboard Preview

 

Once released you can lift the hold down clamp and install your CPU.

 

GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD6 Motherboard Preview

 

One of the items that Lynnfield is bringing is a different IMC (Internal Memory Controller). We see a departure from the Triple-Channel controller found in the i7 and a return to the more common Dual-Channel setup. What's interesting to note is that GIGABYTE has chosen to keep the familiar six slots in place, meaning you can put up to 24GB of DDR3 goodness on the P55-UD6.

 

GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD6 Motherboard Preview

 

We talked a little above about the cooling surrounding the 1156 socket, but we did not go into detail about what is under that cooling. The GA-P55-UD6 will feature 24-Phase power. This massive power regulation system can be glimpsed once you get the heat pipe system out of the way.

 

GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD6 Motherboard Preview

 

Note the blocks of ferrite chokes and solid capacitors that assist in supplying the P55-UD6 clean and stable power. It looks like this could be a great board for overclocking.

 

GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD6 Motherboard Preview

 

Of course, one of the big items here is the P55 chipset. Below you can see it in all its naked glory. It is much smaller than the X58 or even the X48 chips we have gotten used to.

 

GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD6 Motherboard Preview

 

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