During CeBIT 2009 in March, we brought you the first glimpse of the upcoming performance mainstream platform - Intel P55 motherboards supporting the yet to be released Lynnfield processors such as seen here from ASUS . Those were very early builds, but we showed you a whole slew of much more updated Intel P55 motherboards that are nearing their final builds during Intel's official announcement at the Computex 2009 exhibition in June.
Now into July, we're slowly seeing vendors getting their motherboards finalized and ready for sampling. ASUS was the first to reach us and they've even graciously supplied us a Lynnfield processor to trial as well. Unfortunately, performance results are strictly under NDA - until the 7th of September at the time being. So what else does this signify for you? Well, you'll get to see the motherboards and processors in retail in exactly two months from now. So if you've been holding back on upgrading your aging rig of two years or older, this is the date to be looking forward to building a fresh new system.
The core features of the Intel P55 chipset would be that it's now a single-chip platform controller hub which integrates the functions of the traditional ICH chip and supports a PCIe graphics controller with a configuration of either PCI x16 or dual PCIe x8. For more information and that of the P57 variant, please refer to our last Computex 2009 article with all the juicy details over here .
The ASUS P7P55D Evo motherboard is one of their higher-end SKUs of an Intel P55 chipset based motherboard and it shows from the features it supports. Triple PCIe graphics slots, Dual Gigabit LAN ports, SATA 6Gbps ports and onboard control switches, signal the high-end nature of this board.
Last but not least, from this point onwards, all new ASUS motherboards will feature ASUS Xtreme Design - a nomenclature that encompasses performance enhancing technologies (Xtreme Phase, Turbo V, Turbo Key), safety features (Anti-EMI) and Reliability enhancements (Stack Cool3+, Xtreme Durable Capacitor). While competing vendors have their own equivalents as well, everyone has slight implementation differences.
We briefly touch upon a few notable new additions. The Anti-EMI feature adds ICs and components to prevent ESD discharge damage to delicate components on the motherboard. Stack Cool 3+ is an evolution of their Stack Cool feature where the first iteration added four extra layers on PCB to improve thermals and the second iteration builds upon it by adding a coating layer. The third iteration uses a 2oz copper PCB in addition to extra PCB layers, thus the Stack Cool 3+ nomenclature. Looks like 2oz copper PCB is the next big catch phrase for motherboard makers just like Solid Capacitors made its rounds the last couple of years.