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Gigabyte P55M-UD2 review

Seth Barton
19 Jan 2010
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Gigabyte P55M-UD2
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
78
inc VAT

There's little to choose between budget P55 motherboards, but this is our narrow favourite for now.

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Specifications

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

Intel's Core i5-750 processor is the best current choice for those wanting to build a powerful PC on a reasonable budget. Because of this, we've reviewed a number of motherboards that have a suitable LGA1156 socket. Our favourite to date is MSI's P55M-GD45, but Gigabyte's P55M-UD2 is equally attractive.

Like the GD45, the UD2 uses the P55 Express chipset – which is actually the only one currently supporting LGA1156 chips. Other similarities include a tasteful blue and white colour scheme, not dissimilar to the GD45's blue and black, and a microATX format. The latter means you can squeeze this board into smaller desktop cases, or media centre cases; however, it does limit the number of expansion slots to four.

The choice of expansion slots is the key difference between the two boards. The UD2 has two PCI-Express x16 slots and two PCI slots, which should be ample for most needs. The only issue could come if you want to use a pair of graphics cards and a PCI-Express expansion card, like a dual TV tuner; but we'd strongly recommend the extra space provided by a full-sized ATX board for a dual graphics card setup. We feel the GD45 is a little more flexible here, with both PCI and PCI-Express x1 slots.

Like all P55 boards, this one has plenty of SATA ports. Five are supported by the chipset, with all the usual RAID 0,1,5 and 10 options, plus there's an additional two ports supported by a separate RAID 0 or 1 controller. IDE and floppy connectors are also present for older storage devices.

The back of the board has every port you're likely to need, with eSATA, FireWire and ten USB ports. The onboard audio chip has six analogue minijacks outputs supporting up to 7.1 surround sound, plus there's both optical and coaxial S/PDIFs.

There are four memory slots, which support DDR3 at speeds up to the P55 specification of 1333MHz. The UD2 can also support overclocked memory up to 2,200MHz, though such modules are prohibitively expensive and only give small performance increases. The BIOS contains all the options you'd want for overclocking in, though we simply let Intel's own Turbo Boost technology do its own thing.

We can't see any reason why one P55 board should be faster than another, but the UD2 was a little quicker in our benchmarks than both the boards we tested last month. It's only by a few points in our Multitasking test, but repeated test runs confirmed this. Complete with a Core i5-750 chip it scored 140 overall, powering through every task.

There's really little to choose still between this and other P55 boards. However, the UD2 has everything you'd expect, and is also a little cheaper than most. Unless you particularly need the GD45's additional PCI-Express slot, then we recommend you buy the UD2 as the basis for your new PC.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****
Processor socketLGA1156
Form factormicroATX
Size244x244mm
Processor supportCore i5, Core i7
Processor external bus133MHz (2.0GB/s Direct Media Interface)
Chipset north bridgeIntel P55 Express
Chipset south bridgeIntel P55 Express
Integrated graphicsNo
Supported memory typeDDR3 800/1066/1333/2200
Maximum memory speedPC3-17600
Memory slots4
Maximum memory16GB
Dual-channel supportyes

Buying Information

Price£78
Supplierhttp://www.scan.co.uk
Detailswww.giga-byte.com

Internal Ports

Power connectors1x 24-pin ATX, 1x 8-pin ATX
PCI-E x16 slots1
Dual graphics architectureCrossFireX
PCI-E x4 slots1
PCI-E x1 slots0
PCI slots2
Fan headers2
Floppy ports1
IDE ports1
Serial ATA ports7
RAID chipset (max disks)Intel Express P55 (5x SATAII, RAID 0, 1, 5, 10), Gigabyte SATA2 (2x SATAII, RAID 0, 1)

Features

Wired network ports10/100/1000
Sound (ports)Realtek ALC889B (optical and coaxial S/PDIF, 6x analogue out)
USB2 ports / headers10/2
Firewire ports / headers1/1
Legacy ports1x PS/2
Other portseSATA
Cables included2x SATA, 1x IDE
Brackets includednone
Software includedN/A

Setup and Overclocking

Voltage adjustmentCPU/RAM/chipset
CPU clock max adjustment1,200MHz

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