ASUS P7P55D Deluxe Reviewtacohunter52 -
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It's time to give you a close look at the sexiest motherboard ever. Alright, the P7P55D Deluxe may not be sexy, and there are many things Asus could have done to make it look sexier – centerfold anyone? The P7P55D Deluxe does, however, have a lot of really great features that you won't find on other boards. One of my favorites is the EMI diodes to prevent a static discharge from killing your board. The back of the motherboard is exactly what you'd expect the back of a motherboard to look like. There is even a reminder that the P7P55D Deluxe uses Stack Cool 2 cooling... wait a minute! According to Asus's specifications on the P7P55D Deluxe, the board uses Stack Cool 3+. Looks like Asus made a typo on the board. Stack Cool 3+ spreads the heat more evenly across the motherboard, which will prolong its lifetime.
Taking a look at the board's rear panel reveals just about every connector you could want. There are eight USB ports, one S/PDIF Port, and one optical audio port. For those of you that are still using older keyboards and mice, there are two PS/2 ports. Also on the rear panel are the standard audio ports and one IEEE 1394 port. A great, but not so uncommon, feature of the P7P55D Deluxe is that it has dual Gigabit LAN. So you'll be seeing two LAN ports on the rear panel as well. Those of you with keener eyes will have noticed a small black button as well. This is so you can easily reset the CMOS without having to pull that pesky coin battery. The opposite side of the board isn't as interesting, but the layout works very well. Every SATA port on this side has been angled, as well as the IDE port.
The left and right sides of the boards again show that Asus thought carefully about the P7P55D Deluxe's layout. The auxiliary power port is right at the edge of the motherboard, which will make it much easier to hide your wires. I also noticed that all the USB connectors are located in a group at the lower end of the board. This will again make it easier for you to bundle your wires.
One of the first things I noticed when examining the P7P55D Deluxe, is that the DIMM slots look slightly different. At first I couldn't quite put my finger on the difference. Then I realized half of the latches are missing. The reason behind this is actually pretty cool. The board's rear-most PCIe x16 slot, when in use, would make it extraordinarily hard to remove your memory. With these new slots, you only need to unlatch one side of your DIMMs in order to remove them. Another nifty little device Asus included on the P7P55D Deluxe is the MemOK! button. Most users know that sometimes your motherboard just doesn't want to work with your memory. If this is the case, the red LED next to the DIMM slots will light up red. Simply hit the MemOK! button and you should be good to go. When the button is pressed, the motherboard will automatically set the memory settings in the BIOS as low as possible. This is a very cool feature, but I'd still suggest checking if your memory is compatible with your motherboard before making a purchase.
Taking a look at the P7P55D Deluxe's PCI slots, you'll notice a very clever layout. Instead of the usual PCIe x1 slot, a PCIe x16 slot occupies the first section of the motherboard. Then we see two PCIe x1 slots. This means that even if your GPU covers one of the PCIe x1 slots, you'll still have another, regardless of whether or not you SLI. Most users don't use more than two GPUs, so you should have a PCI slot available at all times as well. You also may have noticed the fancier latches on the PCIe x16 slots. According to Asus, this will make it easier to remove the GPUs, although when in SLI/CrossFire mode, you'll still have to shove your hand in between a tight space to do it.
I mentioned earlier that there were six SATA ports, but six ports might not be enough for you. Asus included three more ports in the usual vertical position. If nine SATA ports still isn't enough, you'll need to lose those 80GB drives and pick up a few 2TB units.
I really like the way the P7P55D Deluxe's front panel connections were laid out. Instead of the usual grouping of pins, the connectors have been spread out. You'll notice that the power switch jumper, instead of being located behind the reset jumper, is located beside it. There is at least a one-pin gap in between each set of jumpers. In my opinion, this makes connecting cables even more idiot proof. As I mentioned earlier, there is one IDE port located near the horizontal SATA ports. Many people are surprised as to why motherboard manufacturers still include IDE ports on motherboards. The reason is because people, such as this reviewer, still use their old IDE burners. Thanks for the support, Asus!
In terms of power connectors, the P7P55D Deluxe has the now standard 24-pin connector. The auxiliary power is supplied by a slightly less standard 8-pin connector. Although, if your PSU doesn't have an 8-pin AUX power cable, a 4-pin will work just fine. Make sure you only use the 4-pins not covered by the black cap though.
Just about every motherboard has a different design, or at least a different variation on its heat spreaders. The P7P55D Deluxe's southbridge, however, has the most interesting heat spreader I've seen. Instead of the usual finned chunk of copper, we're presented with a plastic rectangle sporting the Asus logo. The actual heat spreader is located beneath this plastic cover. Also under the plastic cover is a blue LED. When powered on, this LED shines through the plastic, which illuminates the P7P55D's logo.
We just spent some time focusing on the larger parts of the board, so let's take a look at the smaller bits. The first thing I noticed was the VIA chip next to the crystal oscillator. Not because it's an extremely important part of the motherboard, but because it's nice to see VIA is still making parts for new technology. You'll also notice that there are three dip switches located near the DIMM slots. If you won't be overclocking, then you don't need to worry about them. For everyone else, these switches are important. When the switches are set to the left, they'll limit the voltage the corresponding hardware can get. Many overclockers want to push a lot of Vcore into their CPU, and if this is the case, you'll need to flip the OV_CPU switch. In case you didn't notice, the OV stands for over-volt. If you're looking to only overclock while in Windows, I recommend you use the TurboV remote. This plugs into a small connector located near the LGA 1156 socket.
You may also notice that the retention plate on the LGA 1156 socket doesn't look quite right. Instead of it lowering onto a second piece of metal, it connects only to a small metal knob. The metal lever still exists, but instead of clipping the retention plate to the board, it pushes the plate into the knob. Once pushed down, the plate can only be pulled up, but the ledges of the knob hold it down.
The heat spreaders on the MOSFETs have an intricate design as well. It does have fins to create more surface area, although it's not your conventional cooler. They remind me of mountain tops, although I'm not sure what they are actually supposed to be.
The P7P55D Deluxe has some great overclocking features. The TurboV chip uses some pretty advanced algorithms in order to get you the best overclock possible. Although, manually overclocking will still give you better results. The P7P55D Deluxe also comes with a nifty little chip called the EPU. This of course stands for Energy Processing Unit. This little chip can save you an extreme amount of power. According to Asus, using the EPU allows you to save up to 35+%. I'm not sure how accurate these statistics are, but I sure do like them.
Earlier I said that the new DIMM slots would make it easier to remove the memory when a GPU is installed. It does in fact help a lot. If the usual latches were in place you wouldn't be able to push them down.
Now that we're familiar with the board, let's take a look at the BIOS.