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MSI P55M-GD45 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £90
inc VAT

This P55 Express board has plenty of features, despite its relatively low price, making it ideal for building a Core-i5 PC.


LGA1156, microATX, Intel P55 Express chipset, supports: Core i5, Core i7

If you’re building a budget PC, you’re still better off buying an AM2+ board and an inexpensive Phenom II processor. If you’re looking for something more powerful, though, you need Intel’s excellent Core i5-750 chip and a P55 Express board such as MSI’s P55M-GD45.

This is MSI’s cheapest P55 Express board. It has a microATX form factor, so you can squeeze it into a smaller case than Biostar’s ATX-format TP55. It looks smarter, too, thanks to its unified blue-and-black colour scheme.

Like most P55-based boards, it has two full-length PCI Express slots, so you can fit two graphics cards in a CrossFire configuration. The first is a standard x16 slot, while the second support speeds of up to x4. Despite this, you won’t see any significant performance bottleneck, even with twin Radeon HD 5870s fitted. The second large slot can also be used for other PCI Express devices such as TV tuners, plus there’s a PCI Express x1 slot and a PCI slot as well.

There are four dual-channel memory slots for DDR3 modules, supporting speeds up to 2,133MHz. Just 2GB of such memory will cost you a whopping £211 including VAT. Thankfully, 1,333MHz memory is a more reasonable £36. We tested the board with our usual 4GB of 1,333MHz DDR3 and its results were the same as every other P55 Express board we’ve seen.

With IDE and floppy connectors, six SATA ports and a RAID controller, there are ample internal storage options. There’s also a pair of eSATA ports, a six-pin FireWire port and 10 USB ports. Six audio jacks support 7.1 surround-sound speaker systems.

P55 boards still look expensive compared to their AM2+ counterparts. However, if you want to build a powerful Core-i5 based PC, this board is a great choice, with plenty of features at a relatively low price.

Basic Specifications

Rating *****
Processor socket LGA1156
Form factor microATX
Size 244x235mm
Processor support Core i5, Core i7
Processor external bus 133MHz (2.0GB/s Direct Media Interface)
Chipset north bridge Intel P55 Express
Chipset south bridge Intel P55 Express
Passively-cooled north bridge yes
Integrated graphics No
Supported memory type DDR3 800/1066/1333/1600(OC)/1866(OC)/2000(OC)/2133(OC)
Maximum memory speed PC3-17600
Memory slots 4
Maximum memory 16GB
Dual-channel support yes

Buying Information

Price £90

Internal Ports

Power connectors 1x 24-pin ATX, 1x 4-pin ATX
PCI-E x16 slots 2
Dual graphics architecture CrossFireX
PCI-E x4 slots 0
PCI-E x1 slots 1
PCI slots 1
Fan headers 3
Floppy ports 1
IDE ports 1
Serial ATA ports 6
RAID chipset (max disks) Intel Express P55 (6x SATAII, RAID 0, 1, 5, 10)


Wired network ports 10/100/1000
Sound (ports) Realtek ALC889 (6x analogue out)
USB2 ports / headers 10/2
Firewire ports / headers 1/1
Legacy ports 2x PS/2
Other ports 2x eSATA
Cables included 2x SATA, 1x IDE, 1x Molex to SATA power
Brackets included none
Software included N/A

Setup and Overclocking

Voltage adjustment CPU/RAM/Chipset
CPU clock max adjustment 600MHz

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