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Interestingly this price premium does not exactly mean that the P7P55D Deluxe is loaded with a great deal more. A simple features comparison sees this board offer an additional LAN controller, two extra SATA ports and a slightly better audio solution. The power phase design of the P7P55D Deluxe does appear to be superior, though we wont really know what difference this makes until we test their respective overclocking capabilities.
To say Asus has a few P55 boards on offer would be kind of an understatement. In total there are already a dozen P55 motherboards available from the manufacturer ranging from $135 to $280 in price. The P7P55D Deluxe which we will be looking at today is certainly one of the more expensive models featured in this roundup.
Like most P55 motherboards the P7P55D Deluxe features 4 DIMM slots and 3 PCIe x16 slots. Improving on the standard storage capabilities of the P55 chipset, which supports up to 6 SATA ports, Asus has opted to include a pair of JMicron controllers. The JMB322 provides a pair of Drive Xpert SATA connectors while the JMB363 supports a single port. In total the board's SATA storage capabilities have been expanded from 6 to 9 ports.
Despite the price premium the P7P55D Deluxe features a slower, cheaper Firewire controller compared to the Asrock P55 Extreme. Whereas Asrock selected the VIA VT6330 controller which utilizes the PCI Express bus and offers a PATA channel, the VIA 6308P chip on Asus board is limited to the much slower PCI bus. This could seriously hurt the performance of Firewire devices on the P7P55D Deluxe, particularly if the PCI bus is already being used by other devices, which it likely will be.
Asus redeems itself by going with a quality VIA audio codec, the 10-channel VT2020. We would go as far as to proclaim this a better quality solution than the high-end Realtek ALC codec but this opinion is entirely subjective. Since VIA does not list this new codec on their website we have struggled to dig up much info on it.
The P7P55D Deluxe is also quite well equipped when it comes to network support as it features Realtek RTL8112L/ RTL8110SC Gigabit LAN controllers and AI NET2 support. Having dual Gigabit LAN is a nice bonus even though not everyone will require two ports. That said, when spending so much on a motherboard this does seem like a mandatory feature.
The choice of Gigabit LAN controllers seems a little odd to us, however, as the RTL8110SC is quite old and still uses the aging PCI bus. This means that throughput will likely be much lower when compared to the RTL8112L which is a PCI Express controller. We were a bit disappointed with how many old and outdated controllers Asus included on this new motherboard.
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