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MSI P55M-GD45 review

Seth Barton
1 Jan 2010
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
90
inc VAT

This P55 Express board has plenty of features, despite its relatively low price, making it ideal for building a Core-i5 PC.

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Specifications

LGA1156, microATX, Intel P55 Express chipset, supports: Core i5, Core i7

If you're building a budget PC, you're still better off buying an AM2+ board and an inexpensive Phenom II processor. If you're looking for something more powerful, though, you need Intel's excellent Core i5-750 chip and a P55 Express board such as MSI's P55M-GD45.

This is MSI's cheapest P55 Express board. It has a microATX form factor, so you can squeeze it into a smaller case than Biostar's ATX-format TP55. It looks smarter, too, thanks to its unified blue-and-black colour scheme.

Like most P55-based boards, it has two full-length PCI Express slots, so you can fit two graphics cards in a CrossFire configuration. The first is a standard x16 slot, while the second support speeds of up to x4. Despite this, you won't see any significant performance bottleneck, even with twin Radeon HD 5870s fitted. The second large slot can also be used for other PCI Express devices such as TV tuners, plus there's a PCI Express x1 slot and a PCI slot as well.

There are four dual-channel memory slots for DDR3 modules, supporting speeds up to 2,133MHz. Just 2GB of such memory will cost you a whopping £211 including VAT. Thankfully, 1,333MHz memory is a more reasonable £36. We tested the board with our usual 4GB of 1,333MHz DDR3 and its results were the same as every other P55 Express board we've seen.

With IDE and floppy connectors, six SATA ports and a RAID controller, there are ample internal storage options. There's also a pair of eSATA ports, a six-pin FireWire port and 10 USB ports. Six audio jacks support 7.1 surround-sound speaker systems.

P55 boards still look expensive compared to their AM2+ counterparts. However, if you want to build a powerful Core-i5 based PC, this board is a great choice, with plenty of features at a relatively low price.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****
Processor socketLGA1156
Form factormicroATX
Size244x235mm
Processor supportCore i5, Core i7
Processor external bus133MHz (2.0GB/s Direct Media Interface)
Chipset north bridgeIntel P55 Express
Chipset south bridgeIntel P55 Express
Passively-cooled north bridgeyes
Integrated graphicsNo
Supported memory typeDDR3 800/1066/1333/1600(OC)/1866(OC)/2000(OC)/2133(OC)
Maximum memory speedPC3-17600
Memory slots4
Maximum memory16GB
Dual-channel supportyes

Buying Information

Price£90
Supplierhttp://www.ebuyer.com
Detailswww.msi.com

Internal Ports

Power connectors1x 24-pin ATX, 1x 4-pin ATX
PCI-E x16 slots2
Dual graphics architectureCrossFireX
PCI-E x4 slots0
PCI-E x1 slots1
PCI slots1
Fan headers3
Floppy ports1
IDE ports1
Serial ATA ports6
RAID chipset (max disks)Intel Express P55 (6x SATAII, RAID 0, 1, 5, 10)

Features

Wired network ports10/100/1000
Sound (ports)Realtek ALC889 (6x analogue out)
USB2 ports / headers10/2
Firewire ports / headers1/1
Legacy ports2x PS/2
Other ports2x eSATA
Cables included2x SATA, 1x IDE, 1x Molex to SATA power
Brackets includednone
Software includedN/A

Setup and Overclocking

Voltage adjustmentCPU/RAM/Chipset
CPU clock max adjustment600MHz

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