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On the software side, we have a flash-memory embedded instant-boot OS in the form of Asus’ Express Gate. It boots in less time than it takes to say “uncle”, and gives you a visually pleasing interface for the most common basic tasks you might want to use your computer for, such as browsing the web, viewing pictures, and making Skype calls.
As far as the BIOS is concerned, it remains essentially unchanged from previous iterations, meaning it is fairly logical and offers a veritable mountain of options and tweaks. For enthusiasts, the A.i. Tweaker and Tools menus are the places to be, as the former offers a boatload of automatic and manual overclocking settings while the latter lets you save these to eight different profiles.
Using a Core i5 750, we were hoping for the kind of overclocking performance we got from Asus’ Sabertooth 55i TUF Motherboard (which allowed a BLCK of 200MHz giving us over 4GHz) but were unfortunately disappointed. The P7P55D-E Premium suffered from the same limitation as the P7P55D Deluxe, which meant that we couldn’t reach that magical 4GHz and have all cores remain stable without changing the voltage. In this case the highest bus speed the motherboard could cope with was 190, which gave us 3.8GHz.
When it comes to value, the choice of whether to get the P7P55D-E Premium (£218) or P7P55D Premium (around £190) is clear cut as the latter has SATA6Gb/s but lacks USB 3.0. For the £28 difference, having USB 3.0 is definitely worth it, though it's arguably a shame that there isn't a board with US B3.0 and without SATA 6GB/s as the latter seems of little benefit (it should come into its own in the near future though).
Overall then, our advice would simply be to wait, as plenty of other motherboards will be coming out with the P7P55D-E Premium’s USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s combo over the next few weeks, and VIA should soon be releasing a more advanced USB 3.0 controller than the NEC one currently employed, giving you four USB 3.0 ports rather than two. If you do want to buy now, another option is to get a P7P55D Deluxe for around £160 and simply add a PCI-Express USB 3.0 card at a later date, though this might affect performance.
While we’re not too impressed with the performance of SATA 6Gb/s on available drives, USB 3.0 provides a huge performance leap compared to its predecessor. However, though Asus’ P7P55D-E Premium is a great all-rounder with some excellent features and obvious future-proofing, we can’t help but feel it’s not worth the £50 premium it currently demands over boards like the excellent P7P55D Deluxe. In fact we would advise holding off if you can; good things come to those who wait.
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