A Closer Look
As I mentioned, the P55 Extreme looks to be a less expensive version of the P55 Deluxe. The only physical difference I can see is that this board has only one LAN port, the Deluxe has a pair. The other difference is in the bundle, the P55 Deluxe included an SATA 6 GB/s card, the Extreme doesn’t. This equals $40 in savings, which can be (and usually is) a significant amount better spent on a higher quality PSU, nicer video card, better memory, etc.
So basically the two are the same board. Layout is excellent, with all connectors along the perimeter of the board. Besides the CPU_fan port, there are four other fan connectors…one of the few complaints I’ve had of ASRock boards is that there weren’t enough fan connectors but no more.
Being an LGA 1156 board, the P55 Extreme sports Intel’s new CPU socket. Not a lot of difference, but it seems to give more positive pressure to the CPU, and the improved locking lever is a little easier to get to.
Besides the numerous Japanese built solid capacitors and ferrite chokes, the P55 Extreme has a serious power supply. There are eight phases of voltage regulation, ensuring nice clean power to the CPU and motherboard components. This makes for much more stable overclocking, longer component life, and better overall board stability.
The P55 Extreme has three PCI-E x 16 slots and supports both Hybrid SLI and CrossfireX. Running a single video card is at x16, a pair is at x8 + x8, and the third slot is at x4, as is standard with the P55 chipset. The board also has a single PCI-E x1 slot and three standard PCI slots.
The board has six onboard SATA slots all supported by the P55 chipset. As we can see, all connectors are neatly placed around the perimeter of the board.
I guess I am finally getting accustomed to seeing a motherboard without a Northbridge, but it is still a little weird. A nice kind of weird.
The P55 Extreme supports up to 16 gigs of DDR3 memory, up to DDR3-2600, of course the processor has to be overclocked to run memory that high. The board has onboard I/O and Reset buttons just like those built by the “big boys”.
The I/O panel is pretty full, though missing the second LAN port that was on the P55 Deluxe. Included are PS/2 mouse and keyboard, optical and coaxial S/PDIF, 7 x USB ports, powered eSATA, 1 x IEEE 1396, HD Audio, and a CCMOS button. You won’t be using that much if at all due to ASRock’s excellent Boot Failure Guard (B.F.G.), but you might occasionally if you play around with tightening the memory timings.
Besides the basic SATA and ribbon cables, SATA power adapters, and I/O shield, ASRock has thrown a 2S SLI bridge into the bundle.