ECS Elitegroup P55H-AK ReviewRJR -
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The P55H-AK looks a little different than the previous offerings from ECS. The bright yellow, orange, blue and red colors are gone now and a darker more appealing look has been brought to the table. This motherboard has just about everything you could possibly want in a P55 motherboard with the addition of a NVIDIA NF200 chip so 16x8x8 tri-SLI/CF is available, a PLX chip to help support the Serial ATA 3 (6 Gb/s) and the USB 3.0, DDR3-2600+ (OC) capability, 14 phase (12+2) PWM, 7.1 HD audio, Dual Gigabit Lan, on-board power and reset buttons, POST diagnostic LED, dual heat-pipe passive cooling and 15µ gold contacts on the CPU socket and memory slots for additional corrosion and anti-wear protection.
We'll start at the lower right corner where we have on-board power and reset switches, CMOS battery, POST diagnostic LED, beeper, clear CMOS jumper, two USB 2.0 connections, front panel header, six Serial ATA 2 (3 Gb/s, that support RAID 0,1,5,10) ports and two Serial ATA 3 (6 Gb/s, that support RAID 0,1) ports.
Here we have three PCI-E x16 slots (Gen2), capable of running at x16 single or x16x16 CF/SLI or x16x8x8 in tri-SLI/CF configuration, thanks to the addition of the NVIDIA NF200 chip that supports 32 PCI-E lanes. There is also a legacy PCI slot and two PCI x1 slots. Below these are the front audio header, case fan header and USB 3.0 header. To the left you have a RealTek RTL889 for the 8-channel (7.1) audio and a pair of RealTek RTL8111E chips for the Dual Gigabit Lan. We also have the eight pin power header and you get an idea of what the dual heat-pipe passive heat sinks look like.
The I/O header is packed with just about everything. Starting left to right we have a CMOS reset button, PS2 keyboard/mouse combo header, eight USB 2.0 ports, two eSATA 3 (6Gb/s capable of 0,1 RAID), Dual Gigabit Lan, two USB 3.0 (6 Gb/s) and the audio interface for both digital and analog outputs. We have four DDR3-2600+ (OC) memory slots that have the 15µ gold coating (three times the norm) to help with corrosion and wear protection along with a 24-pin main power connection, system fan header, power fan header, CPU fan header and an auxiliary four pin molex connection.
Now for the heart of the motherboard. The CPU socket and hold-down bracket are both manufactured by Lotes with the inclusion of the 15µ gold coating on the contacts. The PWM uses 14 Phase (12+2) and 18 capacitors for a stable power supply. The dual-pipe heat sinks are very generous in size but not overly tall as to limit your cooling solutions.
The NEC D720200F1 chip supports the use of USB 3.0 and this motherboard has two of these chips on-board. The PLX PEX 8608 is a PCI-E Gen 2 (5 GT/s) switch providing 8 lanes of throughput and is hidden under a passive heat sink.
On the next page we take a look at the utilities included with the motherboard.