With every socket change and CPU release come a host of conspiracy theories. Breaking news - 'Intel to restrict overclocking'. I'm sorry to disappoint the rag tag theorists but this is evidently not the case. The i5 CPU is no more restricted than the i7 range. With enthusiasts making up such a small market share it would make little sense for Intel to make such a move. Sure, every penny counts but those who have been in the game long enough will know that major corporations revel in the thought of people who know what they are doing being treat like guinea pigs for their latest hardware. The i5 is (in ES form at least) a great overclocker.
So where does this leave the P7P55D EVO? Well as our overclocking results have shown, it's sure to take your Intel i5 CPU to the limit. Overclocking was very easy thanks to the BIOS design and while I would have liked more dividers on the memory allowing us to run faster memory at stock I did achieve some success while adjusting the base clock to compensate. In our tests we showed the CPU to reach a mammoth 4.21GHz which is respectable whichever way you look at it and no doubt as the BIOS is refined with better options and overall improvements I'm sure this figure could be increased.
The layout of the motherboard is excellent with all the right parts in the right places. The aesthetics of the board are great and are certainly a step in the right direction. Unfortunately I could not assess the packaging as the motherboard arrived bare in a plain cardboard box without so much as a motherboard manual at my disposal so please forgive me if I have missed a key feature of the motherboard.
The i5 range of CPU's is a strange move for Intel as it is clearly not as powerful as the i7 range and offers nothing in terms of innovation to tempt users of i7 away from the behemoth systems, nor does it obliterate AMD's AM3. The only saving grace would be the cost but I would be very surprised if Intel undercut AMD's current pricing. Current Core2 users though may well feel the time is right to make the upgrade and I can wholeheartedly recommend the Asus P7P55 Evo as the foundation of any potential i5 setup. The board, even in ES form was stable as a rock, clocks extremely well, looks cool (literally), it's power efficient and should Asus/Marvel sort out the HD controller issues then the EVO can hold it's head up high, worthy for consideration as a next generation platform.
- Great looking piece of kit
- Excellent overclocking
- Well structured BIOS
- Memory subtimings
- 12+2 Phase power design
- BIOS recovery from bad overclock
- Limited memory ratios
- 8x + 8x Crossfire capability
- Memory close to CPU socket
- Unable to clock memory to rated speed
- Chipset heatsink (expected to be changed for retail though)