Processor: Intel Core i7 870 and Intel Core i5 750
Mainboard ASRock P55 Deluxe (P130 BIOS) (Supplied by ASRock)
Memory: 4GB Kingston KHX12800D3T1K3/6GX (Supplied by Kingston)
Hard Disk: Kingston SSD Now M (Intel X25-M 80GB SSD) (Supplied by Kingston)
Graphics Card: Zotac GTX 285 AMP! Edition 1GB (flashed to stock BIOS) (Supplied by Zotac)
Cooling: Cooler Master Hyper 212 (with an extra fan) (Supplied by Cooler Master)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate RC-1 64-bit
Drivers: Intel INF 188.8.131.525 and NVIDIA ForceWare 190.62
The P55 Deluxe is a nicely laid out board that was very easy to work with. As I mentioned, ASRock put some good thought into the layout and made use of the new 2-chip architecture that Lynnfield plus P55 offers.
This is not to say that the motherboard is not without problem. One problem that I ran into was with the external SATA 6G card. As it is a PCI-e x1 card it only seems natural to drop it into the only PCI-e x1 slot on the board. Unfortunately this was not such a good idea. This slot is only Gen 1 PCI-e and does not have the same available bandwidth that the Gen 2 slots have. This meant rather poor performance from the card (performance will be covered below).
In the end (after a quick e-mail to ASRock) I was informed that I needed to use one of the PCI-e X16 slots to get proper performance. We would recommend using the lowest (x16 physical/ x4 electrical) slot for this. Using this slot keeps the two main PCI-e slots open for SLI or CrossFire. One downside is that the PCI-e x1 SATA 6G card feels a little wobbly in the larger slot.
But there was another issue. When I first installed the card I waited for the Install New Hardware wizard to pop-up, but it never did. I checked Device Manager and it still was not there. I became concerned that the card was bad. So I plugged in a Kingston SSD Now V+ 128GB SSD just to see if it needed something attached to be visible to the system. I still did not see anything and nothing extra was in the Device Manager. The odd thing was that I now had a new drive visible in Disk Management, it was the Kingston SSD. It was very disconcerting to not see the SATA 6G card install, but then to have it working like that.
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