As a “For the Win” motherboard, EVGA’s P55 FTW is targeted exclusively towards the hardcore crowd who likes to OC: this isn’t your run of the mill average P55 motherboard.
Now if that’s what you’re looking for, EVGA does make a complete lineup of P55 motherboards which don’t have the bells and whistles found on the FTW, but sell for significantly less money.
We say this upfront because honestly in a lot of ways the FTW board is overbuilt for the guy who may just want to rely on Turbo Mode for his Core i5-750 when it comes to OC’ing, or maybe you’re just shooting for a relatively tame (for these processors anyway) 500MHz OC. This is easily achievable with one of EVGA’s lower-end P55 boards, and you’ll save yourself some money in the process.
If you want to have it all though, and want to push your motherboard and processor to their fullest capabilities, you’d be hard-pressed to beat EVGA’s P55 FTW. EVGA’s loaded this board up with all kinds of goodies for enthusiasts.
For starters, EVGA uses low inductance ceramic capacitors (LICC) in the CPU socket. Why use LICCs here? For maximum efficiency. High inductance leads to power loss, so EVGA uses LICCs to reduce inductance as much as possible.
Another interesting feature supported by the P55 FTW is its PCI Express disable jumpers. This move was made to ease troubleshooting. In a water-cooled SLI system experiencing graphical glitches for instance, you’d have to take everything apart to determine which card is causing the problem. Thanks to EVGA’s PCIe disable jumpers, you can easily disable the PCI Express slot(s) without having to touch your graphics card.
These are the same features EVGA integrated on their X58 SLI Classified by the way.
Like the X58 SLI Classified, EVGA also ships the P55 FTW with a debug board, in this case it’s their newer ECP V2 module. ECP stands for EVGA Control Panel. It’s a handy external device which features built-in buttons for turning the system on, reset, and clearing CMOS, as well as PCIe slot disable jumpers, and buttons for increasing or decreasing the CPU core voltage and VTT. Simply tap the button on the ECP V2 module to increase or decrease CPU voltage by 0.1V, as well as a button for increasing CPU VTT voltage 0.1V. Finally, a debug LED is placed on the bottom right of the ECP module.
This can be used like a traditional diagnostic LED to read hex codes during POST, and it can also be used to monitor CPU temps once the motherboard has booted into the OS.
A ribbon cable is used to connect the ECP V2 module to the motherboard.
It doesn’t stop there though. If you look closely, you’ll see that EVGA also includes a 4-pin Molex connector on the board. This is used to provide additional power to the PCI Express slots. Apparently Shamino found this extra bit of juice can be helpful at improving stability when running multiple graphics cards while the CPU and GPU are also heavily overclocked.
Along the same lines, the P55 FTW also features a second ATX12V power connector. As a result, you could theoretically send up to 600W of power to your Lynnfield CPU.
Like the Molex power connector, this second connector is completely optional and would likely only be needed by someone who needs to send gobs of extra power to the CPU for extreme OC’ing.
EVGA also places dedicated read points on the top of the board, allowing you to get accurate voltages for the VCORE, DIMM, PCH, CPU_PLL, VTT, and Ground with a voltmeter or multimeter.