Asrock P55 Extreme4 review
LGA1156, ATX, Intel P55 chipset, supports: Core i3, Core i5, Core i7
Asrock’s P55 Extreme 4 is a snazzy looking ATX board designed for Intel’s socket LGA1156 processors. There’s a generous supply of expansion slots, with three PCI-E x1 slots, two PCI slots and a pair of PCI-E x16 slots that support both SLI and CrossFireX multi-graphics-card setups. It’s worth noting that dual x16 card configurations will only run each card at x8, though. Four memory slots can take up to 16GB of RAM at 1,866MHz.
On-board you'll find one USB3 and three USB headers. There are six SATA2 ports and three SATA3 ports, plus an eSATA connector on the back plate. The back plate also includes eight USB ports, two of which are USB3, a pair of PS/2 ports, both optical and coaxial S/PDIF outputs and six driver-configurable 3.5mm stereo ports suitably for analogue surround sound. It also comes with Creative’s THX TruStudio PRO audio software, which allows OpenAL and EAX environmental gaming audio to be output via the Realtek ALC892 audio codec. It might not sound as good as most dedicated sound cards, but the software means it can do most of the same tricks. There’s also support for full quality Blu-ray audio. The motherboard has no integrated graphics, though, so you’ll need to use a dedicated graphics card.
The P55 Extreme 4 isn’t the cheapest LGA1156 motherboard around, but it’s reasonably priced for one with such a wide range of features. It only has the usual one-year Asrock warranty, though. Overclocking is made easy by a range of clear BIOS options and it performed well in tests with our reference processor, producing an Overall score of 129 in our tests. LGA1156 is currently an excellent choice for overclockers, with a wider range of unlocked processors than Intel’s newer Sandy Bridge CPUs. This isn't the cheapest LGA1156 motherboard around, but it’s certainly a good buy.