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Biostar TP55 review

Seth Barton
27 Dec 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
82
inc VAT

The cheapest P55 board we've seen - it's a no-frills affair, but it has everything that most users are likely to need.

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Specifications

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

When it was first launched, Intel's powerful Core i5-750 processor was hampered by high motherboard prices. Thankfully, some reasonably priced boards are now available, such the MSI P55M-GD45 and the Biostar TP55. With processor prices also dropping, you can now buy a chip and motherboard for around £220.

The TP55 is a slender ATX form-factor motherboard. It's the cheapest board we've seen based on the P55 Express chipset - the only chipset to support the new Core i5 and Core i7 processors. As you would expect, it's not bursting with features, but all the basics are covered.

Like all P55 boards we've seen, the TP55 supports dual-channel DDR3 memory, including overclocked modules up to 2000MHz. There are still no Core i5 boards with integrated graphics, so you'll need to fit a graphics card. There's only a single PCI Express x16 slot on this board, but that's not a disaster considering how few people actually want twin graphic cards. There are also two PCI Express x1 slots and two PCI slots, giving you plenty of options for adding WiFi cards or TV tuners.

Internal storage is well catered for; there are six SATA ports and a RAID controller with support for all the usual modes. There are floppy and IDE connectors for older devices. This board has no FireWire or eSATA ports, but you could always buy an eSATA bracket and daisy-chain the board's SATA connectors to it.

The six USB ports should be sufficient for most users, and two PS/2 connectors make it possible to attach older input devices. We rarely see a board without Gigabit Ethernet now, and the TP55 is no exception. There are only three audio jacks; this limits you to 5.1 surround sound, and you can't plug in a microphone at the same time. This won't bother anyone using only stereo speakers or headphones, though.

The TP55 is just as fast in our benchmarks as more expensive models. If you want to build a Core-i5 based PC, this is a good choice for those who only need the basics, or who want a lot of expansion slots. However, for £8 more you can get MSI's better-equipped P55M-GD45.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****
Processor socketLGA1156
Form factorATX
Size294x210mm
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)
Maximum memory speedPC3-16000
Memory slots4
Maximum memory16GB
Dual-channel supportyes

Buying Information

Price£82
Supplierhttp://www.scan.co.uk
Detailswww.biostar.com.tw

Internal Ports

Power connectors1x 24-pin ATX, 1x 4-pin ATX
PCI-E x16 slots1
Dual graphics architecturenone
PCI-E x4 slots0
PCI-E x1 slots2
PCI slots2
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 ALC662 (3x analogue out)
USB2 ports / headers6/2
Firewire ports / headers0/0
Legacy ports2x PS/2
Other portsnone
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 adjustment800MHz

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