Extreme P55: Four LGA 1156 Motherboards Over $250

With better efficiency and more aggressive Intel Turbo Boost binning, LGA 1156-based processors could be the right choice for some high-end machines. We look at a few premium motherboards that make these builds possible. Do they best Intel's X58 platform?

Nothing But The Best?

What defines a high-end system? Many proclaimed enthusiasts have expressed to us that the LGA 1156 platform simply wouldn't be a suitable starting point for them, simply because it’s not designed to host a large number of high-bandwidth devices, such as graphics cards. And yet, most games don’t need more than a single Radeon HD 5970 to play at super-high settings. Moreover, not every high-end user wants to play games all day, and companies like EVGA and MSI have a workaround for those whose graphics desires exceed what Intel's mid-range platform was really designed to do.

Setting aside the debate over P55's suitability for hosting multiple graphics cards, a few key advantages that could put a shiny new LGA 1156-based processor into the hands of a high-end user include higher efficiency, higher stock performance via improved Intel Turbo Boost ratios, better overclocking, and reduced heat output for those who desire a quiet workstation build (there's a reason Intel came to market with its Xeon 3400-series CPUs, after all).

Today’s contenders for P55 supremacy run the gamut from a $250 gamer's board with advanced overclocking features to a $280 premium model with all the latest interfaces and a $340 product that supports a nearly insane number of up to six graphics cards. Our next page details the features that each motherboard boasts in an effort to overcome the mainstream market stigma associated with P55-based platforms.

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  • Raptorial
    The only thing for me is: why did you not test 2 VGA cards? Two of the boards use a NF200 chip, now you won't see the results from this...

    Whyle this is why the EVGA and MSI are expensive.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the MSI P55-GD80 performs better with 1 VGA card then its expensive brother.
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  • LePhuronn
    I'm still going 1366 simply because for what I do I prefer 12GB RAM over 8GB - that's honestly the only reason now.
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  • Anonymous
    You should have tested this against a 150$ board and a 50$ board. That would have been interesting.
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  • Redsnake77
    When are you gonna do the three card crossfire / SLI review comparing the msi and evga P55 boards with X58? There's seems little relevance to reviewing these cards at all without including a 3 card metric, as that is their primary function. You wouldn't spend double the amount on either of these two boards otherwise.
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