Previously, we had a quick look at ASUS' latest P55 motherboard, the P7P55D Evo . Today, we are following up with MSI's P55 offering, the P55-GD80. The P55 chipset is of course a step down from Intel's range-topping X58 chipset, and will be paired with Intel's Lynnfield processors. Naturally, the P55 chipset is aimed at the slightly less demanding performance mainstream user segment, and has a slightly different feature set than the X58 chipset (a few new additions, but also some departures mostly due to processor differences). You can read up on these here.
However, despite Intel's positioning of the P55 chipset as one for 'mainstream' users, the MSI P55-GD80 motherboard that we have here is packed with numerous features that are more commonly seen on enthusiast-class motherboards. Apart from MSI's familiar DrMOS integrated Driver-MOSFET package, which helps improve power efficiency (you can read up more about it here ), there's also two new features that MSI are showing off for the first time: OC Genie and SuperPipe.
As its name suggests, OC Genie is a one-button overclocking solution. By pushing the OC Genie button, the onboard OC Genie chip will calculate the optimum settings of your system and overclock the CPU and memory accordingly, all in a single second. It sounds like magic and we can't wait to give it a go ourselves when the time for a full review comes.
On the other hand, there is SuperPipe, which are essentially thicker heatpipes. Just by looking, you can tell that these 8mm thick heatpipes are chunkier than those found on other motherboards, and MSI claims it can improve cooling efficiency by up to a massive 90%. Again this is something we're looking forward to check out in actual testing on the final board revision.
Apart from these features, the MSI P55-GD80 also has native support for CrossFireX and SLI, dual Gigabit LAN ports, a plethora of expansion ports and onboard control switches. So even if the P55-GD80 is based on a mainstream chipset, it has enough features to keep high-end users happy.