Since the arrival of Intel's P55 chipset and the LGA1156 platform almost a year ago, over a dozen different motherboards based on that product line have passed through our testing lab. Some of the best offerings we've come across include the well equipped MSI P55-GD65, Asrock's value priced P55 Extreme, and the Asus P7P55D Deluxe which received high honors for its amazing overclocking abilities and excellent board design.
But while each of the aforementioned products held their own in our 7-way motherboard round-up last year, today they're starting to show their age with missing features such as SATA 6Gbps and USB 3.0. As you'd imagine several models from most major motherboard manufacturers have since hit store shelves to accommodate for newer market requirements and deliver the very latest features to this affordable platform.
Asrock currently has numerous P55 based products on offer targeting a variety of price points, starting with a mATX board known as the P55M Pro which sells for just $95 and the P55DE3 at $105. Moving up the ladder there's the P55 Pro priced at $110, the P55 Extreme for $125 and the P55 Deluxe3 which will set you back $155. And that's just to name a few. Their latest offering, the P55 Extreme4, sits right below the latter with a relatively affordable price of just $150.
In terms of specifications the new P55 Extreme4 is very similar to the P55 Deluxe3 with support for all the latest connectivity options. There are a few noteworthy improvements, though. First of all Asrock has taken USB 3.0 support to the next level by incorporating a pair of NEC MPD720200 controllers instead of one, for up to four SuperSpeed ports. It also threw in a front mountable bracket to access this extra pair of USB 3.0 ports in an easier and convenient fashion.
Furthermore, Asrock has updated the audio support and improved the board's storage capabilities. When all's said and done the Asrock P55 Extreme4 looks to be the one of the best equipped LGA1156 motherboards that we have ever come across, which is saying something at this price point. But as you surely know, real world performance isn't always in step with spec sheets, so let's delve deeper into the P55 Extreme4 to find out what this motherboard is really all about.