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Gigabyte P55-UD5
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by Rob Williams on September 29, 2009 in Intel Motherboards

Alongside Intel’s Lynnfield launch, Gigabyte launched close to ten motherboards, one of which we’re taking a look at here. The P55-UD5 is the company’s second-highest offering, and it shows, with its huge feature-set, 12-phase power solution, overclocking-ability, robust BIOS, keen design and more.

System: PCMark Vantage

Futuremark is no stranger to most any enthusiast out there, as the company’s benchmarks have been used to gauge our PC’s worth for many years. Although the company’s 3DMark Vantage (which we also use for testing) is arguably more popular than PCMark Vantage, the latter is a great tool to measure a system’s overall performance across many different scenarios.

Unlike SYSmark, PCMark is more of a synthetic benchmark, as very little is seen to the user during the run. However, each test tackles a specific and common scenario that’s typical of many computer users – enthusiasts and regular users alike – such as photo manipulation, gaming, music conversion, productivity, et cetera.

The main problem right now with PCMark is its inability (at least for us) to produce an overall score when being run under Windows 7. Even when run in compatibility mode (which is required by 3DMark), the application will crash during the Memories test, despite that particular test executing fine when run as its own suite. So, no overall score is produced, but the seven individual scores are.

While SYSmark uses modest numbers for their scoring, ranging in the hundreds, Futuremark opts for much higher scores with their entire suite, with the lowest being the TV and Movies, ranging around the 6,000 mark. On the high-end, our Intel SSD is capable of pushing the test’s HDD scenario well beyond 20,000.

As we’d expect, the boards here flip/flop their strengths and weaknesses here, although neither could be considered bad in any scenario. A difference of less than 5% in a given scenario isn’t going to be easy to recognize in a real-world test. Interestingly, the HDD test proved far better on the ASUS, and at this point, we’re not sure why.

Using our Acronis Windows 7 image, which was originally created on the ASUS board, we consistently saw slightly lower scores on the Gigabyte board. Thinking that it might be a storage controller issue, I reformatted everything using the Gigabyte board (including a fresh HDD Erase run) and the scores were a bit higher, but still didn’t touch the score of the ASUS board.

I don’t consider this to be a real issue, as we haven’t been able to rule that Gigabyte’s board is at fault. I’m hoping to explore this issue a bit more in the coming week.