A couple years ago, ASRock, a seemingly quiet motherboard company decided to change the way they do business in hopes of stepping up their image as well as taking some market share for themselves. This meant that any and every motherboard they produced had to see big changes in function, form, and performance. Yes, that included product themes and colors too.
We were recently surprised by their X58 Extreme Motherboard which is still the most affordable LGA1366 solution on the market. The board was capable of overclocking with the best of the mid-ranged X58 motherboards. Once again, we're very curious to see if ASRock's new aggressive approach has been applied to their next generation performance based P55 Deluxe LGA1156 Motherboard.
Features and Specifications
While many of the features are common among P55 motherboards, some of these features are common among upper echelon performance based boards, yet again, that cost more.
A good example would be the Advanced V16+2 Power Phase design which does it's best work when you're overclocking the processor. This is further complimented by supporting DDR3 memory overclocked all the way up to 2600MHz! Of course, that means you'll need DDR3 memory that can go that high. The fastest we've seen so far was about 2500 MHz and only marginally stable at the time.
Another high end feature is the board's 3-Way CrossfireX and Quad-SLI support. Of course, the slots clock down to x8/x8 when both slots are used. A third PCI Express 2.0 slots operates at x4 when occupied like when adding a third video card for Physx. However, a couple GIGABYTE GTX260 SO (Super Overclocked) video cards should be more than fast enough for the pickiest of gamers.
The P55 Deluxe includes software utilities like Turbo Boost which works well with LGA1156 processors for dynamic overclocking performance , OC DNA for sharing your overclocking with other ASRock owners online, and OC Tuner which is so easy a novice can use it. If you think the BIOS needs a tune up to get a better overclock, ASRock makes it very easy with Instant Flash.
Checking Out the Contents
Included in the box is a standard motherboard bundle. It's nothing "uber" by any means, but you do get at least four yellow SATA cables, two 4-pin to SATA power cable adapters, manual, driver CD, motherboard IO case shield, blue floppy, and ATA cable.
An optional external SATA PCIE card is also included. This adds another eSATA port to the back expansion possibilities. The card itself offers two more SATA ports increasing the total count to eight regular ports and two eSATA. It's kind of a cool rather than necessary extra since most users probably won't need this many ports.
Hands on Inspection
Once again, as I handled the motherboard, it would seem engineers are doing their job better these days. We've all handled at least one old school ASRock motherboard at some point and questioned the theme. But, the P55 Deluxe continues to wipe out any remaining questions of quality. This board feels quite solid.