Gigabyte has created a new P55 motherboard that is to satisfy even the most demanding users. The board, branded P55A-UD7, features an additional nForce 200 PCI-Express switchchip. Apart from that, the motherboard is also compatible with USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gbps, features that have not yet been integrated on the current Intel, AMD and nVidia chipsets.
The new P55 board has the familiar blue-white colour scheme and features a large power design around the processor socket. The heatpipes running over this power design are prepared for watercooling, allowing the NF200 chip that lies beneath to be cooled sufficiently as well. The sixteen PCI-Express lanes coming from the processor are doubled with the NF200 chip to two times 16 lanes, allowing for better performance in a high-end CrossFire or SLI configuration. The lanes from the P55 southbridge are also processed by a switchchip, this one is made by PLX. Through this chip, additional lanes are added required to fully utilize the bandwidth of the USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gbps ports.
With these extras, Gigabyte tries to close the gap between the Intel P55 and X58 platform, though it's uncertain whether these additional switchchips will add sufficient value. The I/O panel of the P55A-UD7 sports 8x USB (two of which are USB 3.0), 2x eSATA, two Gigabit LAN, analog and digital audio and a PS/2 connector. It's still unclear what Gigabyte's new P55 motherboard is to cost.
Gigabyte P55A-UD7 motherboard, image source: Tweaktown