MSI P55-GD85 LGA 1156 Intel Motherboard Review

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MSI’s P55 Lineup

MSI P55 GD-85 Board from Angle

MSI has a staggering nine Intel P55 motherboards and a total of 14 LGA1156 motherboards available. Today we have MSI’s P55-GD85 which sits up near the top of boards. In the MSI pecking order sitting at the top is the MSI P55 Big Bang Fuzion at $369.99 followed closely by the MSI P55 Big Bang Trinergy at $329.99. Sitting a full $100 lower at $229.99 is the P55-GD85 which, strangely enough, features a few key technologies that aren’t included on the Big Bang boards. Namely these are USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gbps. Oh yes, this is another one of those USB 3.0/Sata 6Gbps boards. So, why is this IO toting board priced a full $100 lower than the Big Bang boards, and should it concern you? Well, to explain that take a glance at the image below.

Intel P55 Block Diagram

Take note at the top left corner where it says PCI Express 2.0 Graphics. On the P55-GD85 the traces are identical to the block diagram above.  You have 16 lanes and you can split those in half if you want to run two GPUs. The Big Bang boards, however, use NVIDIA NF200 and Lucid Hydra 200 chips to expand these lanes so that you can run three graphic cards at x16/x8/x8. Is this worth another $100? In my book, no as this is a niche product. There is very little sense in putting three graphic cards on LGA1156 when LGA1366 is a much more capable platform and can do this without extra chips adding additional latency. Anyway, that is why the P55-GD85 is ONLY $229.99
plus shipping
and MSI’s true flagship P55 board. So, let’s take a look at P55-GD85 board and specifications.

Socket 1156
CPU (Max Support) i5/i7
AM3 CPU Ready N/A
FSB / Hyper Transport Bus 6.4GT/s
Chipset IntelĀ® P55
DDR2 Memory N/A
DDR3 Memory DDR3 1066/1333/1600*/1800*/2000*/2133* (OC)
Memory Channel Dual
DIMM Slots 4
Max Memory (GB) 16
PCI-Ex16 2
PCI-E Gen 2.0 Gen2 (1×16, 1×8)
PCI-Ex1 2
PCI 2
IDE 1
SATAIII 2
SATAII 7
RAID 0/1/5/10/JBOD
LAN 10/100/1000*2
TPM 1
USB 3.0 ports (Rear) 2
USB 2.0 ports (Rear) 6
Audio ports (Rear) 6+Coaxial SPDIF/Optical SPDIF
Parallel ports (Rear) N/A
Serial ports (Rear) N/A
eSATA 1
1394 ports (Rear) 1
HDMI N/A
DVI N/A
Display Port N/A
VGA N/A
VGA Share Memory (MB) N/A
DirectX N/A
Form Factor ATX
DrMOS Y
APS Y
Sideport Memory N/A
SLI Y
3-way SLI N/A
Hybrid SLI N/A
CrossFire Y
Hybrid CrossFire N/A
D-LED2 N/A
Green Power Genie N/A

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