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ASUS P7P55D LE Motherboard

An affordable full-size solution with a decent power supply system.

January 13, 2010



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All motherboards from the "regular" ASUS series (P7P55D) based on the Intel P55 look very much alike (although the company also offers extreme models like the Sabertooth 55i and ROG/Workstation series). Their functionality gradually increases from lower-end to higher-end products by means of the second SATA controller, eSATA ports, FireWire controller, SLI support, etc. Also, the CPU power system becomes more complex by means of heatsinks, the number of phases, the number and type of capacitors, and such. The appearance, however, remains practically the same down to minor peculiarities of the new series, such as the snowflake chipset heatsink and unusual memory slot latches. We have already reviewed the "regular" high-end models P7P55D EVO and P7P55D Deluxe, now let's take a look at one of the lower-end models, P7P55D LE, which is the second lowest.

You probably shouldn't expect lots of interesting results from this review, we just want to show you a cheaper Socket 1156 motherboard. $60-70 is quite a difference. Besides, some users just don't care about how modern motherboards are different. We probably won't be getting back to ASUS products until the rollout of the second generation of P55-based motherboards -- with SATA-III and USB 3.0. The only exception may be the delayed microATX P7P55-M model.

Design

We are going to compare the P7P55D LE with the already reviewed P7P55D Deluxe and EVO. We'll also point out common features in all models from this series.



This motherboard is based on a narrow PCB, but it practically did not change the layout -- for example, the power converter for memory modules had been placed near the chipset anyway. Taking advantage of the new latch type in memory slots (latches on one side do not have movable parts), ASUS places DIMM slots practically edge-to-edge to the first PCIEx16 slots. Fortunately, it does not interfere with assemblage. Fortunately, this budget motherboard lacks FDD and LPT ports, although there is still one connector for a COM port on a bracket. The P7P55D LE practically preserves the layout of expansion slots in top models, only the third PCIEx16 slot is replaced with a PCI. And the second PCIEx16 slot works as PCI Express 1.1 x4, as it's plugged to the chipset: SLI support is implemented only in the P7P55D Pro and higher.



As we have already mentioned, the CPU voltage regulator is simplified relative to the top solutions. But its level is still pleasantly high! It offers 8 phases for the processor core and two phases for Uncore (including the memory controller) with two MOSFETs per phase; power converter for memory modules has two phases as well. You must agree that it's a big difference from 4+1+1 in budget models from the other manufacturers. (ASUS has only one cheapest model in the series with this design, which formally does not belong to P7P55D -- P7P55 LX.) Besides, the P7P55D LE uses only polymeric capacitors (from an unknown non-Japanese manufacturer, unlike top representatives of the chipset), so even in this respect this motherboard looks very decent (besides, only the P7P55 LX uses electrolytic capacitors, and only in peripheral circuits). Thus, in our opinion, the P7P55D LE can also be overclocked.



There is no choice of the chipset cooling system in all motherboards from this series: a relatively small flat heatsink (it does not interfere with long expansion cards) designed in the form of a semiabstract snow-flake. By the way, it's fixed with metal screws through holes in the PCB even in the budget model we review here. Fortunately, all relatively inexpensive P7P55D models offer reasonably moderate cooling systems for the CPU voltage regulator: Low-End models leave their MOSFETs to their own devices, Mid-End models feature small heatsinks (screwed to the PCB), and High-End motherboards have these two heatsinks connected with a heat pipe. The latter case is slightly excessive, but it's quite excusable. The P7P55D LE has no heatsinks on MOSFETs, but it's not a problem with just eight phases (16 MOSFETs) in the main circuit. This system does not grow very hot, although intensive cooling would have done well for serious overclocking.


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Page 1: Introduction, design

Page 2: More design, features, conclusions



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