Gigabyteís flagship P55 motherboard is the GA-P55-UD6. This is the motherboard that started the arms race between ASUS and Gigabyte when it comes to CPU power phases.
Gigabyte was first out of the gate to go beyond the 12 or 16-phase power designs used by most motherboard manufacturers, integrating a 24-phase power subsystem for the CPU on the P55-UD6. This prompted ASUS to downplay the importance of phases, emphasizing other aspects such as the quality of the power being delivered to the processor. They then turned around and integrated 32-phases on their newer P7P55D Premium motherboard.
Gigabyte says their 24-phase design provides fast transient response, ensuring quick and seamless power delivery even when the CPU is under heavy load. The other benefit of integrating so many power phases on the board is that the work load can be spread across all 24 power phases. As a result, the VRM circuitry runs cooler; instead of running at 80 or 90% capacity under load Gigabyteís 24-phase design spreads the work around so the load is just 50 or 60%. This helps to keep temps down and enhances longevity.
The end result for you is that the P55-UD6 is more than capable of delivering enough power for your CPU, even when youíve OCíed it to the max and are pushing speeds well in excess of 4GHz. In these situations, the P55-UD6 has more than enough power on tap to supply your CPU with lots of stable power.
Besides the 24-phase power for CPU vCore, 2 additional phases are devoted for CPU VTT power and two more phases are used to provide memory power. This should be enough for these subcomponents as well.
As Gigabyteís flagship board, the P55-UD6 supports both SLI and CrossFire, and is outfitted with 6 DIMMs. Weíre not exactly sure why Gigabyte employs six DIMM sockets on the board, potentially this is more flexible than competing P55 boards, but the board is limited to the same 16GB max memory support as other P55 boards, as this functionality is provided by the CPU itself, not the motherboard.
If you do outfit the board with all six DIMMs, two of the modules must be single-sided. As memory modules have increased in capacity, very few DIMMS are single-sided nowadays.
Besides the six DIMMs, another area where the P55-UD6 stands out in comparison to many competing P55 boards is in SATA support. Here Gigabyte provides 10 internal SATA headers on the motherboard itself. Many of the P55-UD6ís competitors are limited to six or eight internal SATA ports.
An additional 2 SATA/USB combo connectors are located on the motherboardís backplate. As an added bonus, no additional power source is needed for the eSATA device when connected.
The P55-UD6ís audio is powered by a Realtek ALC889A audio CODEC. This is a pretty popular audio controller thatís used in a number of different motherboards, and is Realtekís most powerful high definition audio solution. Networking duties are also handled by Realtek, with a pair of RTL8111D PCIe-based GigE controllers being used. Teaming is supported, so if you donít need dual Ethernet connectivity, you can pair the two controllers together for improved performance.
The P55-UD6 also offers a feature called AutoGreen, which you can use to o pair your Bluetooth cell phone to your computer. Once installed, AutoGreen will automatically put your PC in standby or suspend mode once your Bluetooth cell phone is out of the PCís range. Just get up and walk away (but donít forget that cell phone!).