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MSI P55-GD80 Lynnfield Motherboard Preview‏

by MAC     |     August 19, 2009

Specifications



Waiting to be Exposed - P55 PCH

Intel's new P55 Express 'Ibex Peak' chipset is a true break from their traditional chipset design. Unlike all previous Intel chipsets which featured both a northbridge and a southbridge (eg. X58 Express + ICH10R), the P55 is a one-chip solution. As such, it has been given the new designation of Platform Controller Hub (PCH). When it comes to PCI-Express 2.0 connectivity things get a little complicated with this chipset since in the past, the northbridge supplied the graphics-related PCI-E lanes. However, Lynnfield processors feature an industry-first: an integrated PCI-E controller that supports 16 PCI-E 2.0 lanes supplying two mechanical PCI-E x16 slots. If only one graphics card is installed, it will operate at the full electrical x16 speed and if two graphics cards are installed, the PCI-E lanes are divided between both PCI-E x16 slots and they will operate at x8 each. On motherboards with three mechanical PCI-E x16 slots such as the P55-GD80, the first two slots will each operate at x8 while the third slot will operate at x4. How is this possible if we have already established that the integrated PCI-E controller only supports 16 PCI-E lanes? The additional 4 PCI-E lanes come from the P55 PCH itself, which can supply up to 8 PCI-E 1.0 lanes in total.

On the connectivity front, we can tell you that the P55 supports 14 USB 2.0 ports and 6 SATA II ports with Matrix Storage Technology. It also features one Gigabit LAN port and High Definition Audio. Now we would love nothing more but to give you all the additional juicy details about this new chipset, but that information is under wraps so you will just have to check out our future Lynnfield/P55 review.

While that is all we can tell you about the chipset itself, here is some of the MSI P55-GD80's specifications:


The P55-GD80 is MSI's high-end P55 model, and the specifications list certainly reflects this. What immediately stands out are the 8+2 phase DrMOS power design, the three PCI-E x16 slots, the 8 SATA II ports, the powered eSATA port, and the interesting touch-based easy buttons.

Next up let's take a closer look at some of the features listed in the right-hand features list.
 
 
 

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