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Gigabyte GA-P55 UD3R Review

ccokeman    -   November 1, 2009
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Testing:

Testing is the only way to prove whether or not one motherboard is better than the others, when it comes down to performance. Some groups like all the whiz-bang features, while the hardcore enthusiasts just want good solid reliable performance. To find out which one gives that last little bit of clock speed or has the right options in the BIOS means you have to test the motherboards out one at a time. Quite an arduous task when you get down to it, but it's the only way. To test out Gigabyte's GA-P55-UD3R, I will be running it through the OverclockersClub suite of benchmarks to see if it distinguishes itself from the comparison board(s). The only deviations from the default BIOS settings will be that the energy saving features, as well as Turbo technology are disabled so that the motherboard can be tested with a measure of repeatability. The video card control panel settings are left at factory defaults except where noted. Since each motherboard company has its own design philosophy, it will be interesting to see which of the designs wins out.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Motherboards:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7 870 209x21 4389MHz

Overclocking the GA-P55-UD3R was much like getting acquainted with an old friend. Having just finished up testing on Gigabyte's GA-P55-UD6, I found the MIT section of the UD3R's BIOS to contain the same tools for overclocking the processor and memory. This made it easy to duplicate the results I had on the UD6. Duplicate results would be a little unfair, since I was able to exceed the numbers I put up with the UD6 with the ED3R by running the bclock up to 209 with a clock multiplier of 21. This gave me a raw clock speed of 4389MHz. Not too bad, as this clock speed easily competed the whole benchmark suite. Prime 95 stability came a little bit lower, but there is still the room for an overclock that can be used for benchmarking only. I was able to get to this point by upping the CPU voltage to 1.425V the QPI/VTT to 1.45V and the DRAM to 1.60V. Memory timings were left at 8-8-8-24 and did not present any issues. I had an issue with double sided modules on the P55-UD6 that I did not run across on this P55 iteration. I used the modules that I had trouble with when setting speeds over 800 Mhz and bumped them first to 805MHz to see if the problem manifested on this board, and was glad to see that it did not follow suit. I then pushed the timings close to the rated specification and bumped up the speed initially to 900Mhz, then 1000Mhz and finally 1020MHz without so much as a hiccup. Since the board supports up to DDR3 2200Mhz, the ability to hit big memory speeds is there if your modules can hack it.

Overclocking via the BIOS is not the only way to go anymore, as overclocking is becoming more mainstream. Gigabyte has a utility called Easy Tune 6 that works as a monitoring and overclocking utility, and will let even the novice get a decent overclock by just clicking an icon and rebooting the system. By using the Easy Tune software with the basic interface, the clock speeds can be increased with three different options, with the highest offering up a clock speed of 3.5Ghz. So, being the highest speed, that's where I went. The software gave up a 3.52GHz clock speed, but it proved to not be 100% stable and required a bump in voltage under the advanced section to get it prime stable. That is just a little work on top of the base settings, but still a way to overclock. Not being able to post after a failed overclock is one of the consequences of pushing your hardware. How a board or series of boards reacts to this overclocking failure is one way to measure how overclocking friendly the board is. During the CPU overclocking and memory overclocking, I found that a failed overclock would need s series of three bad POSTs in a row to reset the CMOS to the defaults, to facilitate booting. Once into the BIOS, the settings that were set and resulted in a bad POST are still there, so you can see what you did wrong and learn from the mistake. Not once did I get so far out of bounds that I had to clear the CMOS to boot. Less power phases and a big overclock make the GA-P55-UD3R a winner in terms of overclocking credentials.

 

 

Benchmarks:

  • Scientific & Data:
  1. Apophysis
  2. WinRAR
  3. Office 2007 Excel Number Crunch
  4. POV Ray 3.7
  5. PCMark Vantage Professional
  6. Sandra XII
  7. ScienceMark 2.02
  8. Cinebench 10
  9. HD Tune 2.55
  • Video:
  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Crysis Warhead
  3. BioShock
  4. Call of Duty World At War
  5. Dead Space 
  6. Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War II
  7. Left 4 Dead
  8. 3DMark 06 Professional
  9. 3DMark Vantage



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