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Overclocking the Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3R...excellent!

Discussion in 'Motherboards & Memory' started by miahallen, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. miahallen

    miahallen New Member

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    AMD had a beautiful parade a couple years ago, we called it K8. In virtually every conceivable comparison, it would beat the Intel P4 chips into the ground. Those days were sweet for AMD, but out of nowhere Intel began a surprise attack on AMD dropping the Conroe bomb, then the Penryn bomb, then the Nehalem bomb, and now the Lynnfield bomb...or is it more of a "miss"?

    For years AMD had been the enthusiast CPU of choice. AMD was not as openly opposed to overclocking as Intel had been, and for good reason, their chips OC'ed relatively well and didn't create as much heat as Intel's. Since Intel released Conroe into the wild a little over three years ago...the enthusiast landscape has shifted dramatically. Intel's newest architecture was an enthusiast's delight. And since then, Intel has been more openly embracing the overclocking community.

    So, I'm trying to figure out where Lynnfield fits in. Nehalem already holds the performance crown, AMD doesn't have anything that can compete for performance. So, AMD has had to compete with pricing, dropping the prices of it highest performing CPUs to be even slightly competitive from a price/performance standpoint. This leaves Intel in a bit of a predicament at the low end, because they have been forced to compete against AMDs top CPUs with older hardware. Enter Lynnfield, a CPU designed to compete at a lower price point, yet still have the performance to beat AMD's best.

    So, I'm here today to talk about Lynnfield, right? And I'm an extreme overclocker, so I'll be using an i7 870 to test the platform right? And I'll be using one of the most expensive motherboards on the market, because it will give me the most potential for overclocking, right? Oh, and let's not forget the LN2....right? No, no, no, and....no!

    Gigabyte Japan asked me to look at their entry level board, the GA-P55-UD3R. At first I was hesitant...what am I gonna do with an entry level board like the UD3R? I'd probably kill it within the first 5 minutes right? So, I decided to do one for the people...the gamers...you! So, the first part of this review will be for the GA-P55-UD3R with an i5 750, and WITH AIR COOLING ONLY! In this case I'm using a Prolimatech Megahalems cooler with the new LGA1156 compatible bracket.

    First off, the board:

    Model
    Brand - GIGABYTE
    Model - GA-P55-UD3R

    [​IMG]

    Features
    • Features Ultra Durable 3 technology with 2oz copper PCB design
    • Innovative Smart 6 technology for Smarter PC management
    • New Dynamic Energy Saver 2 technology enables best energy efficiency
    • Support ATI CrossFireX for ultimate graphics performance
    • Features high speed Gigabit Ethernet connection
    • XHD technology accelerating hard drive performance with ease
    • AutoGreen technology Greening your PC via Bluetooth cellphone
    • Patented GIGABYTE DualBIOS technology delivering highest level failure protection
    • Home theater quality 8-channel High Definition Audio
    • Compatible with Windows 7 to deliver the best operation experience

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Physical Spec
    Form Factor - ATX
    Dimensions - 12.0" x 9.6"
    24 Pin Power connection

    [​IMG]

    Rear Panel Ports
    PS/2 1
    10 x USB 2.0
    2 x eSATA 3Gb/s
    S/PDIF Out - 1 x Optical, 1 x Coaxial
    6 x Audio Ports

    [​IMG]

    Onboard Audio
    Audio Chipset - Realtek ALC888
    Audio Channels - 8 Channels

    Onboard LAN
    LAN Chipset - Realtek 8111D
    Max LAN Speed - 10/100/1000Mbps

    [​IMG]

    Supported CPU
    CPU Socket Type - LGA 1156
    CPU Type - Core i7/i5

    [​IMG]

    Chipsets
    North Bridge - Intel P55

    Storage Devices
    PATA - 1 x ATA133 2 Dev. Max
    SATA 3Gb/s - 8
    SATA RAID 0/1/5/10

    Onboard USB
    Onboard USB - 4 x USB 2.0

    [​IMG]

    Memory
    Number of Memory Slots - 4×240pin
    Memory Standard - DDR3 2200/1333/1066/800
    Maximum Memory Supported - 16GB
    Dual Channel Supported

    [​IMG]

    Expansion Slots
    PCI Express 2.0 x16 - 1
    PCI Express x16 - 1 (@x4 bandwidth)
    PCI Express x1 - 1
    PCI Slots - 4

    [​IMG]
    SonDa5 says thanks.
  2. miahallen

    miahallen New Member

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    So, my first step was to run it through a basic battery of CPU benchmarks at "stock speed" to get some baseline measurements.

    Super PI 1M
    This program calculates the digits of the number PI out to 1 million digits, it is single threaded.

    [​IMG]

    Super PI 32M
    This program calculates the digits of the number PI out to 32 million digits, it is single threaded.

    [​IMG]

    PiFast
    This program that crunches through the digits of the number PI, it is single threaded.

    [​IMG]

    wPrime
    This program calculates prime numbers. It allows for two tests, to calculate the first 32 million, or the first 1.024 billion prime numbers. This program is great for multi-core and/or multi-processor systems, and scales very well with each additional core.

    [​IMG]

    With the new Lynnfiels CPUs, "stock speed" has different meanings in different tests. The "stock" multiplier of this i5 750 CPU is 20x, but in multithreaded benchmarks it runs at 21x, and when I ran Super PI or PiFast, it ran at an impressive 24x!!! That took the "stock" speed of 2660MHz to either 2793MHz or 3192MHz depending on the test...wow! 20x is only used when the CPU determines that the load is too heavy and thermal throttling kicks in to prevent the use of the higher multipliers.

    You've probably noticed that this CPU is very similar to the i7 920, they both have the same "stock speed" of 2660MHz, they both have the same amount of L1, L2, and L3 cache, and they both have 4 physical cores. But there are some important differences as well. The 920 has a triple channel memory controller, the 750 only dual channel. The 920 uses Hyper Threading (HT) to enable the operatining system to treat the CPU is if it has 8 cores. On the other hand, the 920's turbo mode has a maximum multiplier of 21x and is therefore more limited in it's overall clock speed for single threaded applications, this would help the 750 make up for some of the performance lost with the lack of triple channel memory.

    The final and most important difference between the two CPUs is the price. At only about $200, the i5 750 is significantly less expensive than it's i7 bretheren (about $280). Not only the CPU but the entire platform is designed to fill a lower price bracket. So, while an entry level 1366 board, like the GA-EX58-UD3R runs about $200, the P55 varient shown here sells for only $140. Also, you must factor in a set of DDR3 memory, since the Lynnfield arcitecture only supports 2 channels of memory, you could get a 2x2GB kit for as little as about $70, whereas those who chose to get a platform based around Nehalem would need a 6GB kit to be competative, which would drive the price up to about $110 or more. Altogether, a new setup based on Lynnfield (using the price estimates shown above) would only cost about $410 whereas the i7 rig would set you back about $590, or an increase of about 44%. So the question is, does the i7 platform perform 44% higher?

    Since my main goal these days is to push HW to the brink with extreme cooling methods with high scores being the only end in sight, I wasn't sure how to proceed with this more entry level HW. So I decided to review this motherboard to bennefit the target audience...the budget friendy crowd looking to maximize performance/cost...hopefully that means YOU! As I stated before, I will only be using air cooling for this portion of my review, and I won't be using any LGA1156 i7 CPUs either.

    For this portion of the testing, I wanted to find the very best performance I could with air cooling, that means using a powerful fan, in this case a 252CFM Delta strapped to the side of the Megahalems. I tweaked the OS a bit for each bench, and adjusted the voltages to whatever was needed for the highest clocks for each test. Using the same tests used with the stock speed testing, here are the results...

    Super PI 1M
    9th fastest i5 750 on HWBot (1st with air cooling)

    [​IMG]

    Super PI 32M
    3rd fastest i5 750 on HWBot (1st with air cooling)

    [​IMG]

    PiFast
    3rd fastest i5 750 on HWBot (1st with air cooling)

    [​IMG]

    wPrime 32M
    4th fastest i5 750 on HWBot (1st with air cooling)

    [​IMG]

    wPrime 1024M
    3rd fastest i5 750 on HWBot (1st with air cooling)

    [​IMG]


    Next up, I've got some 24/7 settings for you everyday overclockers...later, I'll be putting this thing under some LN2 :D
  3. miahallen

    miahallen New Member

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    Right off the bat, I was impressed with the ability of this board and this CPU to attain stable overclocks with low voltage. With a stock voltage of 1.1V, it doesn't seem like there is a whole lot to work with. I've pushed 45nm CPUs to 2.0V and beyond with liquid nitrogen, so limiting myself to only 1.1V seemed really silly. But I wanted to see the potential for this chip with absolutely zero voltage increases. Here is a shot of the BIOS voltage page for the following run:

    [​IMG]

    The result? 3.45GHz 14 hours Prime95 stable sounds pretty good to me with only 1.1V.

    [​IMG]

    * temps only reached 60C due to a high ambient temp of 32-34C during this run.

    So the next step was to see what I could get with a bit extra voltage. I wanted to give you an idea of what this setup is capable of with decent air cooling for a 24/7 based setup. With that in mind, made the following changes in the BIOS:

    [​IMG]

    The result? I was able to reach 4.2GHz 30 minutes Prime95 stable. I know some of you believe in 24 hours or some such nonsense for true "stability testing, but I apologize, I don't have the patience for it these days. But, I think it's quite obvious that it wouldn't be hard to do with this board and CPU.

    [​IMG]

    By the way, I did not use the Delta fan for these tests either, I swapped for a much quieter 1600RPM fan ;)
  4. miahallen

    miahallen New Member

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    OK, time for the fun stuff :D

    This board turned out to be a real blast when pushed to the extreme with liquid nitrogen.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, I have the Kingpin Cooling F1EE liquid nitrogen pot mounted on the board. With the same CPU/memory used at the beginning of the testing, I tweaked and tuned this chip to find is maximum potential.

    [​IMG]

    Current i5 750 SuperPI 1M world record!

    [​IMG]

    This is currently i5 750 SuperPI 32M 2nd fastest time in the world. The first place title is still held by Massman, despite my higher clock speeds. He obviously has skills in tweaking SuperPI 32M that I lack.

    [​IMG]

    Current i5 750 PiFast world record!

    [​IMG]

    Current i5 750 wPrime 32M world record!

    [​IMG]

    Current i5 750 wPrime 1024M world record!

    WOW! Obviously this board has what it takes to compete with the best is the overclocking department!!!

    So, let's wrap this up. I set out to answer a couple different questions during this testing. Does this chip compete with the AMD Phenom II series from a price/performance standpoint? And, is the i7 920 worth the 40-50% price hike? Unfortunately, I have neither the time or the means to do that completely. But, I think we can safely draw a few conclusions with this testing. Yes, the platform definitely has what it takes to compete with the best from AMD, and being that cost is about even between the two, and the fact that the Intel stuff overclocks a bit better, this is hands down the budget minded enthusiasts platform of choice right now.

    Which brings us to my second question. There is no doubt that Nehalem is more powerful than Lynnfield, but is it worth a 44% price increase? In this case I'm comparing the i5 CPU, which lacks Hyper Threading capabilities. If multitasking or heavily threaded applications care common in your typical usage, you would probably benefit from Hyper Threading. The good news is, this does not mean you need to go all the way to Nehalem, thanks to the i7 860. The price advantage is not as great as with the i5 series, but the multitasking/multithreaded performance should be just about on par with Nehalem, and it'll still be less expensive. For the rest of you, the i5 is exactly what you've been waiting for, a quad core CPU with zero compromises for single threaded applications, thanks to aggressive turbo modes.

    Finally, lets discuss the main subject of this review, the Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3R. I'm very impressed with the performance capabilities of this entry level board. Carrying on the UD3R series tradition of top shelf overclocking capabilities for a fraction of the price, this board carries the UD3R legacy into the current generation. Sure, it does have a few limitations; it only has 4 fan headers on board, and it lacks SLI support. But if you are looking for more features, your shopping in the wrong price bracket. This board is designed for the budget enthusiast...max overclocking potential and only essential features...with that goal in mind this board is an excellent choice. Gigabyte also offers a full range of models to address some of the features lacking here. For instance, if SLI support is essential to you, the GA-P55M-UD4 can be had for only $10 more.

    Lastly, when pushed to the extreme, this board did not disappoint. It obviously was built to be a beast of an overclocker. Gigabyte has spared no expense for the enthusiast community, giving this board the best of Gigabyte technology to allow for some incredible overclocking potential! Highly recommended for those who do not need SLI.


    Please feel free to post comments, suggestions for future review, and any questions about the board.

    A big thanks to Gigabyte Japan for the chance to show off this awesome product, cheers!
    MetalRacer, oli_ramsay and revin say thanks.
  5. Hayder_Master

    Hayder_Master

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    very nice review my friend , excellent work
    before two days i was thinking to get gigabyte p55-UD6 with new core i7 860
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009
    miahallen says thanks.
  6. miahallen

    miahallen New Member

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    While I was working on the earlier benchmarking, I could not get CPU-Z to validate any of my speeds. I tried again tonight with the leftover 3 liters of LN2 that I had, just enough to get me a bronze cup for my suicide shot. Really wish I could have done it in XP the other night though, as I was able to reach 5290MHz at that time :(

    [​IMG]
  7. Wrigleyvillain

    Wrigleyvillain PTFO or GTFO

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    Nice and thanks.
    miahallen says thanks.
  8. SonDa5

    SonDa5

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    Thanks for the fantastic performance review. :respect:


    You have given me more confidence in the P55 chipset.
    miahallen says thanks.
  9. revin

    revin

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    Thank you for the review quickie :rockout:
    Thing is, I'm so confused NOW, because of this. Since my beloved conroe865pe died last month, I've been back to using the awesome ole AI-7/P4EE, and I mis that Q6700!! Sure the 3850 is nicer than my badass Bliss, but dam, now this thing seems slow. :banghead:
    I have gone over soooo many i7[x58] boards, and TBH there is a LOT of failures out there, and quiet a few that have the same problems.
    I'm used to the reliability of my Abit's, and had just really decided after looking real hard found some IP35 Pro XE's and a Abit Guru Clock GC-03 Display Panel,[$208 total]<dont forget i'm OLD skool> Thinking Great drop in the Q6700 snag some Muskin Extreme DDR2-1066 2x2GB, and a 5850 I'd be set to go.

    BUT No I had to read this....:banghead::nutkick::twitch::confused::eek:

    Thanks for the review :toast: Really!!!
  10. Lazzer408

    Lazzer408

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    It's unfortunate these boards have so many PCI slots. I have a PCIe HD tuner, PCIe Raid card, and a PCIe... well I'll think of something else sooner or later but damn. PCI is old.
  11. miahallen

    miahallen New Member

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    I found that a bit strange too :p
    On the I/O panel on then back there is a lone PS2 port to fulfill the users legacy needs along side 10 USB 2.0 connections...but for onboard expansion, it's just the opposite. :rolleyes:
  12. Lazzer408

    Lazzer408

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    I'm loving the amount of USB ports though. :D
  13. revin

    revin

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    So how high are the chances that we can get pretty much the same performance/stabialty from getting these on the market?
    Say egg,TD or ZZF, not just mabey a "hand picked" board that kicks ass to make the consumer's drool?

    Where did the i5 chip come from?
  14. miahallen

    miahallen New Member

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    Both board and chip were from the Japan retail marketplace...neither was cherry-picked. I bought the i5 750 myself in Akiba as mentioned earlier...Gigabyte provided the motherboard, but it was not pre-tested.

    So, you're chances of getting similar 24/7 results are very good!

    Stay tuned everyone, I just got off the horn with Gigabyte Japan, looks like I'll be testing an i7 870 on this board very soon ;)
  15. miahallen

    miahallen New Member

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    In case anyone wanted more info on the cooler I user, here is a shameless spot for my favorite air cooler to date.

    I used the Prolimatech Megahalems unit...it's one of the best air coolers on the market...it performs somewhere in between the Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme (aka "TRUE") and the TRUE Copper. And it's reasonably priced. It also has the best mounting system of ANY air cooler to date.

    Prolimatech - Megahalems CPU Cooler - 775 / 1366 / 1156 - Rev B
    Shown with older 775/1366 bracket
    [​IMG]

    New black version:
    Prolimatech Mega Shadow - Deluxe Edition 775 / 1366 / 1156
    Shown with new 775/1156/1366 compatible bracket
    [​IMG]

    They also have the 775/1156/1366 hold-down bracket available for those who already have the original version:
    Prolimatech Megahalems Socket LGA 1156 mounting kit
  16. miahallen

    miahallen New Member

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    OK...wanted to provide a brief update with more stability testing on the i5 750, as well as my first thoughts on the i7 870 that arrived today.

    First I'd like to point out something interesting I found when I swapped CPUs today. Apparently, "socket burn" may have effected me as well. Time will tell, but I believe I do show some indication of an issue here...hopefully it does not get any worse :shakes: I'd really like to know if this is a mobo/CPU/design problem:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The board is still fully operational at this time, and does not seem to be suffering any negative performance effects. (See i7 870 results below)

    So, a quick update to my stability testing on the i5 750. After hooking up my basic custom water cooling system...I was able to achieve slightly better results. I was stable for about 15 minutes at 4.45GHz, but impatient as I am, wanted to try to hit 4.5GHz...so I pushed up the slider a knotch and crashed it immediately. Luckly, I got a quick screen here:

    [​IMG]

    Since I knew I was at the edge of Prime95 stability, and I wanted to let it run a bit longer for you diehard stability testing guys...I backed it off a hair and did about 100 minutes at 4.4GHz...not to shabby for a $200 quad :D

    [​IMG]

    When I got home from work tonight, I found a nice new retail i7 870 waiting for me...thank you Gigabyte Japan :cool: While I was hoping for some sweet cherry picked ES or something...what I got was a retail CPU off the shelf...a quick glance at the box showed this thing is a very close relative of the golden i5 I've been playing with :D

    [​IMG]

    So, out came the 750, and in went the 870....right off that bat, I'm impressed. Stable at 3840MHz WITH ALL STOCK VOLTAGES forced in the BIOS :up: (auto overvolting is normal when Turbo mode is enabled)

    [​IMG]

    A quick run at 4.2GHz shows that this one should also be a pretty decent clocker :cool: I'll be putting it under my F1EE in a few days.

    [​IMG]

    To be continued....
    revin says thanks.
  17. revin

    revin

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    Thank you for being upfront!
    Well this is the first I've heard about this issue. Is it platform related, or happen to any platform ie my 865pe etc?

    You're doing an awesome job! :rockout:
  18. miahallen

    miahallen New Member

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  19. revin

    revin

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  20. miahallen

    miahallen New Member

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    Yeah, I saw that...I have a feeling this 1156 socket is not up to the same quality as the 1366 sockets.
  21. revin

    revin

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    I cant get over how fast this is even under stock voltages.
    I'm looking really hard at this setup for my upgrade. [Still looking at that IP35 Pro XE & uGuru Clock II though]

    I would like to ask if you seen your 2 pins that do seem to have slight discoloration, and to watch if they change any more after under normal volting.

    Since you have good relations with Gigabyte, you may be able to get heads up if there is a revision in the works or something.

    Again, awesome job on all the details you give TPU fans! :toast: :toast:

    1 thing I'm not clear on is the changing multi, the first chip can go to 24x[?] and no Hyperthreading, but this second chip has Hyperthreading[?] but a lower max multi?
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2009
  22. miahallen

    miahallen New Member

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    I don't plan to run the system much at stock voltages...but I'll keep an eye on the two discolored pins.

    For a very good explaination of Intel's Turbo mode, please read a couple pages from the anandtech article...start here:
    http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=3634&p=4

    Glad you liked my review...I'll be posting more updates soon :)
  23. miahallen

    miahallen New Member

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    Sorry to report, but it looks like the i7 870 I recieved doesn't fair so well with extra cooling. I could not even get it stable enough over 5GHz to run SPI1M. It appears that this CPU is only strong in more typical setups like 99% of you out there, and in that respect it truly shines.

    I'm dissappointed I was unable to do better with extreme cooling, but the best Lynnfield based CPUs seem to be very elusive. In my humble opinion, extreme users are best off sticking to LGA1366.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    For the rest of you, this platform is what you've been waiting for. If you're not a heavy multitasker or power user, than the 750 should work wonders for you. If your regular usage includes more intensive applications or if you multitask a lot...than the i7 860 is a perfect choice for you. It would be difficult for me to reccomend the i7 870 to anyone but Bill Gates. If you have money to burn, by all means. But for the rest of us, the i7 860 will be fine.

    A few people have asked me about fitment for the Promitech Megahalems. Here is a quick guide:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I think the moral of the story here is that if you plan to use the Megahalems on this board, then do not get memory with tall heat-spreaders.

    If you do have tall memory heatspeaders and you're inside a case, then you're probably best off using the fan in a "pull" orientation.

    If you plan to use the top PCIe slot, you're better off mounting the HSF in a horizontal orientaion, or mount vertically with the fan on top in a "pull" orientation.
  24. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    Hey, why am I not surprised that your board is fantastic? ;)

    Yup, I got me a Gigabyte too (see specs) and it's awesome. :rockout:

    Good choice there buddy and welcome to TPU. :)

    Nice review.
    miahallen says thanks.

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