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EVGA P55 FTW

P55 On Boost: Five LGA 1156 Boards Between $200 And $250
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With a Web price starting at around $200, EVGA’s P55 FTW makes incremental improvements compared to its previously tested P55 SLI without breaking the bank.

As a board marketed primarily towards overclockers, the biggest advancement of the P55 FTW might be its 14-phase CPU power regulator that EVGA rates at 600W peak output. That’s more than even an eight-pin CPU power connector can supply, so EVGA also adds a second eight-pin EPS12V connector.

While the P55 FTW look nearly identical to its less expensive sibling, the biggest change hardcore gamers will notice is the slot order. SLI and CrossFire come to the LGA 1156 processors by splitting their 16 PCIe 2.0 lanes across two slots, and EVGA rearranges those slots so that they are four spaces apart. Unlike the P55 SLI, the P55 FTW puts the four-lane x16 slot in the middle, so that SLI and CrossFire users who need only graphics cards will get the maximum cooling space between them.

EVGA is the only company in today’s roundup to support both LGA 1156 and LGA 775 coolers, giving extreme-overclocking gurus a great reason not to modify their custom LN2 pots or oversized water blocks. LGA 1156 has a slightly shorter installation height that prevents solid-mount LGA 775 coolers, such as Swiftech’s Apogee Drive, from providing proper contact pressure, so the second set of mounting holes should only be used with spring-loaded mounting mechanisms.

EVGA includes a gadget called EVGA Control Panel Version 2 (ECP V2) that extends several motherboard features beyond the motherboard’s surface via cables. Included are power, reset, CLR_CMOS, two core-voltage, and one uncore-voltage (labeled VTT) buttons, a numeric status display, and a set of jumpers for disabling individual PCIe slots. Each voltage button adds 100mV when engaged. That last feature is supposed to be handy in case an overclocked video card prevents a system boot, but what isn’t as handy is that the module itself has no provisions for front-panel mounting.

Other than the changes noted above, there isn’t much to say about the P55 FTW that hasn’t already been said of the P55 SLI in its review. Both boards strive to be nearly legacy-free, yet both include a single PS/2 port that we still occasionally use, and with the exception of the altered slot order, both have the same layout.

BIOS

The P55 FTW continues EVGA’s good overall BIOS layout while adding more reference- and signal-voltage controls. The bottom of the frequency/voltage controls page features a menu for saving custom configurations to a protected portion of the BIOS IC as any of four user profiles.

Automatic configuration per setting eases the alteration of the most familiar memory timings.

Accessories

EVGA includes four SATA cables and a single SLI bridge in an installation kit that stands out mostly for its control module.

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  • -1 Hide
    LePhuronn , 15 December 2009 15:53
    And if you're going to spend this much money on an extreme-capable system, why even bother with P55? If you have the cash to burn surely you'd go X58...
  • 0 Hide
    kilowattMalaya , 15 December 2009 23:04
    X58 will be more pricey compared to P55 system...for me P55 more reasonable...
  • 1 Hide
    LePhuronn , 16 December 2009 01:14
    @kilowattMalaya:

    that's entirely my point - these P55 boards are as expensive, if not more, then X58 boards. So if you're going to splash this much cash around, my sell yourself short with "only" P55?
  • -1 Hide
    Silverlight , 16 December 2009 01:33
    P7P55D and an i7 860 is much cheaper than i7 920 and ASUS P6T, or atleast in my country it is

    I chose those boards because they're both ASUS' bottom of the range (compare apples to apples)
  • 0 Hide
    LePhuronn , 16 December 2009 02:32
    @Silverlight:

    But we're not talking bottom of the range in this article, are we so your comparison's a little irrelevant. Yes, bottom-end P55 boards are a lot cheaper, but this article is about high-end P55 boards.

    P7P55D Deluxe: £169.99
    i7 860: £226.99

    Rampage II Gene: £174.99
    i7 920: £217.99

    P55: £396.98
    X58: £392.98

    So, with the X58 combo actually a hair cheaper than the P55, the deal breaker here is the cost of dual-channel vs triple-channel RAM.
  • 0 Hide
    damian86 , 21 December 2009 08:15
    a P55 motherboard+ a i7 860-870 can give almost the same performance as the x58+i7 920.there's not much difference,for me it's a good deal.