MSI P55-GD80 Motherboard


MicroStar International or MSI as they are better known are on of the leading manufacturers of PC components, particularly mainboards so it should come as no surprise that they are also one of the first companies to unleash there P55 range of motherboards.
Established in 1986, MSI are proud of their award winning heritage and exemplary customer service. They are dedicated to developing cutting-edge products and technology and hold stead-fast to there philosophy of 'Quality Products - Customer satisfaction'. This history has seen MSI catapult into the top three manufacturers of motherboards along with being the no1 worldwide company of choice for graphics cards so one might say they know a thing or two about meeting the customers needs, especially when it concerns PC hardware.
Today we get to put the flagship MSI P55-GD80 through its paces. This motherboard is the first retail board based on Intels P55 chipset we have gotten our hands on so I'm sure you are as intrigued to see how it performs as we are. The feature set of the P55-GD80 is as mouthwatering as the mainboard itself:
  • OC Genie
    An on board processor allows the end user to automatically overclock the CPU at the push of a button. Normally overclocking takes a lot of time and experimentation but the OC Genie automatically overclocks the CPU for you.
  • DrMOS
    An acronym for Driver MOSFET. DrMOS is different however from your standard MOSFET in that the design incorporates three features in one, the Top and bottom MOSFETs and a driver IC. This has allowed MSI to configure a 1000MHz switching frequency, 400% faster than standard MOSFETs making it one the most efficient designs on the market today.
  • Superpipe Technology
    The link between the mainboard heatsinks is perhaps as important as the heatsink itself when dissipating heat from the mainboard components. MSI's interpretation of this is 8mm thick, making the Superpipe 60% thicker on average than a traditional heatpipe and the thickest of all on any motherboard today.
  • Active Phase Switching
    This technology is MSI's slant on power saving. Sure, there are few overclockers who care about such things but when you consider that the cost of electricity can dramatically be cut by utilising this feature, even when overclocking, then the prospect of this technology becomes much more attractive.
These are just a few of the features of the mainboard and I could rabble on for a good few pages regarding all of the included attractions of the P55-GD80 but I'm sure you are itching to look at the mainboard itself and its performance so I'll finish of the introduction with a brief look at the advertised specification...
The following specification is subject to change as the board we have at present is an engineering sample and not the full retail product:
  MSI P55-GD80
LGA1156 Socket for Intel Lynnfield Processors
Supports Intel Turbo Boost Technology
Chipset Intel P55 Express Chipset
4xDIMM, max. 16GB, DDR3 2133(OC), 2000(OC), 133/1066MHz DRAM, non-ECC,unbuffered memory
Dual Channel memory architecture 
Expansion Slots
3 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots
2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 (2.5GT/s)
2 x PCI
Intel P55 Express Chipset
- 6 x SATA  ports (Intel P55)
- 2 x SATA ports (JMicron JMB322)
- 1 x eSATA port (JMicron JMB363)
- Intel Matrix Storage technology supports RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10
- 1x IDE (JMicron JMB363)
Dual LAN (10/100/1000) controllers
Realtek 8111L
8 Channel Audio
Realtek ALC889 (True blue-ray audio)
IEEE 1394
Via 6315N controller
USB 13 x USB 2.0 ports (2x3 ports on board, 7 ports on the back panel)
Form Factor
ATX (30.5cm x 24.4cm)
Rather than opting for just two PCIe slots on the P55-GD80, MSI have incorporated three slots which are CrossfireX and SLI capable but when used in multi GPU format the speeds drop from the PCIe 2.0 16x standard to 8x,8x and 4x. Also worthy of note is that MSI have not opted to go with the infamous Marvel controller supporting 6G, instead, MSI have incorporated the tried and tested stack of Intel and JMicron controllers for the 9 available SATA ports.
Enough of the small talk though, let's get down and dirty with the motherboards packaging and appearance...
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Most Recent Comments

21-09-2009, 06:35:28

I'll say it before, and I'll say it again. This is one of the best looking boards I've seen!

That's a nice clock from it too.Quote

21-09-2009, 09:37:05

It's a good mobo with a good review.

£178 is something for the 'con' section for me tbh.

For some reason, since i7, it appears the standard is to have the level of mobos at around £30-50 more expensive than they probably should be.

This could however be the result of 775 mobos just not going away. And if they're at "reasonable" prices, it tends to suggest the manufacturers feel they can "get away with charging" that much more as it's "new technology".

I personally think this is bllx however when the jump between the 2 isn't great.Quote

21-09-2009, 11:26:20

I think Rastalovich has a good point. For £180 you can pick up a mid range X58 board that might not have as many bells and whistles as the P55-GD80 but does have the advantage of 32 PCI-E connectors. Granted for it to make a difference you would need to be running Crosfire/SLI with a 24 inch monitor but the sort of people who this board targets it is quite reasonable to expect they may be running this sort of hardware.Quote

21-09-2009, 16:09:22

I agreee to a certain extent about the price and mentioned in the review that the board should be priced around £20-30 cheaper. However, this is new technology, albeit slightly inferior in certain sectors to older X58 chipsets and because of that the price is inflated accordingly. I couldn't really put the price as a 'con' as it is pretty much inline with what other manufacturers are charging for a flagship P55 motherboard.

The jump between the two technologies is indeed nothing to shout from the rooftops about but the performance difference is there. How much you value that extra performance will depend alot on how much of an investment you see a PC as.

As always guys I appreciate constructive criticism and feedback, these are afterall - reviews for YOU!Quote

21-09-2009, 16:25:19

Only really the same thing I always moan about W3bbo. Solitary performance figures are nice, but a comparison with a same speed X58 i7 system would be lovely.

Would triple-channel make that much difference with it's superior bandwidth?

Given the tiny price difference between this mobo and a 860 and a P6T and a 920D0 which is the better buy?

All those kind of things. Especially important when it's a new generation of hardware and so most people would be buying the bulk of a new system.

Even, because it's equal in dual-channelness to the AMD Phenom IIs, a AMD comparison.

I'm just a comparison whore. I love to know what the best system would be for the same money. Most online comparisons are strange things like a stock i5 vs a i7 975E vs a X2 250. Let's equal the clocks, equal the RAM and run the battery of tests. That way it's clear which is the best for general use, gaming use, productivity etc.

But, as per usual, a fantastic review. Truly droolworthy looking mobo. About the only mobo that comes close in looks is the Asus Maximus III.Quote

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