The Board - Layout
The ASUS P7P55D-E PRO has the same slot colors as found on the box, with various shades of blue and white plastic parts all over, and a silver and blue coloring to the heatsinks. Capable of supporting both CrossFire and SLI, it's well laid out to support two videocards, as well as a couple of other expansion cards at the same time too. The back of the board seems pretty sparse, with no mention of ASUS's "STACK COOL" technology, and a few places where components could have been placed, but are absent.
The socket of the ASUS P7P55D-E PRO is all straight lines, with relatively small PWM heatsinks, and plenty of room around the socket proper for maximum compatibility with aftermarket cooling solutions. Featuring a 12-phase CPU power section, mated with a two-phase VTT supply, the seemingly simple design hints that there might be more to this board than the first glance indicates. The back of the socket is nice and clean, and we had no issues from protruding bits interfering with mounting the NH-C14 and its backplate when the time came.
With a x1 PCIe slot on top, there's plenty of room above and below each x16 slot for multi-GPU users. Two full-speed x1 connectors are here as well, as well as one half-speed one for those with many x1 PCIe expansion cards, although it's hard to imagine such a scenario. There's also two PCI slots, situated in such a way that seems to hint that maybe a PCI POST card is meant to be put into this board, and a bit of clocking fun might be had. The DIMM slots are clear from the top PCIe slot, almost intentionally suited for fitting a fan on top of them, and feature ASUS's seemingly new standard of single-clip retention mechanisms.
The large snowflake-like heatsink over the P55 chipset seems kind of odd, as melting ice and PCs seldom mix well. Given its large size, it might be an indicator that it's more than enough for the job, encompassing such a large area, providing more than enough surface area to keep the tiny square of silicon cool. Looking at the back connector end of the board we find all the normal various connectors, including a couple of USB 3.0 ports not found on some older P55 boards on the market, a smattering of "normal" USB 2.0 ports, and both a mouse and keyboard PS/2 connector, something now commonly left out. Audio ports and eSATA are here as well. A hint of upgrade possibilities, or something else?
With a total of nine onboard internal SATA connections, drive ports are spread out around the board, with the primary two placed just next to the DIMM slots. A group of six more right-angled connectors is found just below, with the pair of white ones at the bottom supporting SATA 6 Gbps drives, driven by a Marvell chipset.
Located in an unusual place, we find the CLR_CMOS header at the lower back edge of the board, along with a power light, a Firewire connector, and the added audio headers for front panel connectivity, and SPDIF. Just to the right of those we find three internal USB 2.0 headers, the ninth SATA port, driven by a third controller, and the front panel pin header, all in a nice line for easy cable management.