Intel Core i5 750 Core i7 870 Reviewccokeman - September 7, 2009
» Discuss this article (83)
The DP55KB Extreme series motherboard is built based on the latest chipset from Intel the P55 that is a replacement for the P45 for use in mainstream level computers while the X58 is left for the high end. When you take a look at the Kingsberg board something looks like it is missing right off the bat. Right where the chipset is traditionally mounted you have the CMOS battery! Hhhmmmmm, thats not quite right! Well really it is with this newest processor class. The Northbridege traditionally handled the PCIe graphics lanes as well as the memory controller. Well now both of those functions are on the processor die so the need for this chip is gone. The P55 Express chipset handles the rest of the PCIe lanes as well as the rest of the drive connectivity and is now called the PCH instead of the ICH. This means you are only supplying power for 2 chips instead of 3, a savings right from the start. The Kingsberg board is an ATX form factor board that supports both Crossfire and SLI graphics technologies.
The I/O panel features plenty of connectivity. One thing you may notice is that there is not a PS/2 port for the mouse or keyboard so you will need USB based peripherals. There are 2 eSATA ports in red, The Back to BIOS button which is basicaly a way to clear the CMOS after a really bad OC failure, S/PDIF in and output, 8 USB 2.0 ports, 1 IEEE 1394a port, Intel Pro 10/100/1000 LAN port and to round it out the 7.1 Intel High Definition sound connections. For expansion slots you get one full size 16x PCIe slot, 2 1x PCIe slots, a 4x slot that can be run at 8x when two discrete graphics cards are used in a multi GPU arrangement, 2 PCI slots and a 4x PCIe slot. Both SLI and Crossfire are supported technologies but when a multiple GPU setup is installed the 2 slots revert to an 8x x 8x arrangement.
Moving along the bottom edge of the DP55KG you have an aux fan header and not a whole lot else, as the front panel connections, USB and 1394 headers are located elsewhere. The Skull located on the bottom right corner fetures LED's to bring this Icon to life with blue LED's lighting the skull with red ones lighting up the eye sockets for a nice little bit of bling to view through your case window.
Moving up the right-hand side of the board you have the SATA 3.0GB/s connectivity. The black ports are controlled via the PCH while the two blue slots are controlled by the Intel Matrix Storage manager and support raid 0,1,5,10. Right behind the SATA ports in green is the Bluetooth module. The USB, IEEE and front panel connections as well as the IR transmitter and receiver headers are next in line followed by the 24 pin ATX power connector. Just inside from the edge are the DIMM slots. The Lynnfield processors offer support for Dual Channel memory configurations instead of the triple channel seen on the socket 1366 Nehalem processors. Up to 16GB of DDR3 1066MHz/1333MHz/1600MHz are supported. This is another way to cut the cost of entry when buying a new system.
Spinning around to the top edge you have the onboard power switch in case you decide to use this board on a tech bench or are really just a bit lazy and don't feel like hooking up the front panel connections. After this there is a fan header and the 8 pin power connection. Visible behind the Back to BIOS switch is a vertical USB header. Not sure what kind of use this could be but where there's a will there is a way.
The CPU socket area looks a bit more crowded than it really is. it looks like the DP55KG uses a 6 phase VRM circuit to power the socket 1156 processors. The heatsinks are a little on the smallish side but seem to do the job they are intended to do. Right under the CPU socket area you will find a diagnostic LED to help trouble shoot errors during the POST cycle. The PCH is located behind the expansion slots and is covered with a passively cooled aluminum heatsink, simple and effective. The bluetooth module is a nice touch that brings with it additional flexibility. No more hooking the 'crackberry' up with a wire just send your files via Bluetooth.
The DP55KG is just one of the P55 based motherboards that Intel is launching to take advantage of the Lynnfield processors. You have the Sharpsburg board that is the Micro ATX version and then the Warrensburg and Whitesburg boards that are the lesser featured Kingsberg and Sharpsburg boards. Intel looks to have the feature sets covered from the lower end to the top end. I have looked at the cooling , the processors and the motherboard so it's time to put the screws to the processors and see just how well they stack up against the best from the AMD camp.