A Closer Look
The Asus P7P55D-E Pro has the dark blue/light blue/silver color scheme of the Asus EVO line of motherboards, and I suppose it should since it sports the EVO package of features, including the TurboV EVO Hybrid Hardware/Software overclocking system. The SB cooler and power supply heatsinks are definitely all EVO.
As with all P55 motherboards, the lack of the Northbridge makes the board look pretty bare. Layout of the P7P55D-E Pro is fairly standard, with a couple of oddities partially due to the extra SATA ports and partially due to some extra chips on the board, the latter will be discussed on the USB 3/SATA 6Gb/s page. Besides the CPU_fan connector, there are three other onboard fan connectors which should take care of most case cooling setups.
Around the CPU socket, attempting to catch a little cooling from the CPU cooler, sit a battalion of ferrite chokes and many of the board’s high quality polymer conductive capacitors. Beneath the heatsinks lie the power supply’s voltage regulation MOSFETs. Asus has come up with a very serious voltage regulation setup, consisting of 12 phase CPU Vcore regulation, 2 phase memory regulation, and T.Probe, an onboard microchip that constantly detects and balances phase loads and temperatures. Asus calls this “16 Hybrid Phase”, 12 + 2 x T.Probe. What this does for you is ensures that the board gets the cleanest power possible, which gives better overall stability, longer component life, and greater overclocking satisfaction.
Of course the board sports Intel’s new LGA 1156 CPU locking system.
The P7P55D-E Pro sports a pair of PCI-E x 16 slots supporting both SLI and CrossfireX. As allowed by the P55 chipset, the slots support x16 or x8 + x8 for multi GPU setups. No PCI-E lanes are stolen for use by the SATA 6Gb/s or USB 3. More about that a little later. The board also has 3 x PCI-E x1 slots, and a pair of traditional PCI slots.
Having mentioned the USB 3 and SATA 6Gb/s, I guess while we’re here I could point out the locations of them. The NEC USB 3 controller is located just below the I/O panel, and the PLX bridge, which will be discussed later, is located forward of the bottom PCI-E x1 slot. The Marvell SATA 6Gb/s controller’s location is in the next paragraph. As mentioned earlier, these three chips greatly affect the layout of the motherboard.
The SATA slots are laid out a little strange, at least not quite what we are accustomed to. Between the chipset and the jMicron controller we have seven SATA 3.0 Gb/s ports, blue and black in color. SATA_1 and SATA_2 are in a rather strange location, and utilize traditional SATA ports rather than facing the edge of the board. The seventh SATA port is black and located on the bottom edge of the board. The two gray SATA ports are SATA 6Gb/s and controlled by the Marvell controller, located just behind the gray ports.
The P7P55D-E Pro supports up to 16 gigs of DDR3 memory as allowed by the chipset. It will handle memory up to DDR3-2200, though anything over DDR3-1600 will require overclocking. The board has Asus’ MemOK, an onboard button that allows greater memory compatibility with modules that have not been tested on the board.
The memory slots themselves are new, at least the locking mechanisms are. Traditional slots with a lock on each side currently don’t unlock easily with a video card in place, the lock nearest the video card doesn’t have enough room to clear the module. Asus has created a memory slot with the lock only on one side to solve this problem.
On the I/O panel we have PS/2 mouse and keyboard, coaxial and optical S/PDIF, six USB 2 ports, eSATA, IEEE 1394, one LAN port, HD Audio, and two USB 3 ports, the latter are backwards compatible to USB 2 so you have a total of eight USB 2 ports.
Included in the bundle is one of Asus’ awesome padded Q-shields, a pair of Q-connectors, a ribbon IDE cable, an SLI bridge, and a nice expansion bracket with a pair of USB 2 ports and an eSATA port.