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Intel Core i7-875k and i5-655k processor review

As well as the processors on review today, Intel also sent us the DP55WG Motherboard (Warrensburg) which is very competitively priced in the UK – retailing for around £115 inc vat. While Intel never have had a good reputation for overclocking based motherboards I have had great success with them in the past and instead of using a high end Asus or Gigabyte board I felt it was worth a look. We updated the bios to the most recent to ensure we had full support over both processors.

The motherboard is very similar to the DP55KG which is not entirely surprising as they both share the same PCB. Even though this is firmly marketed as a budget enthusiast board It has three wide PCIe slots which offers full support for both Crossfire and SLI with a PCIe x4 slot available, compatible with x16 cards.

There is a POST LED system which is normally found on higher end motherboard and Intel have cleverly introduced a back panel button to access the BIOS configuration if you are trying to recover from enthusiastic, but failed overclocking attempts.

The board has sacrified some components to hit the modest price point however and we have only 4 channel CPU power circuitry unlike the 6 channels on the DP55KG. When you compare this to 10 phase power being offered by ASUS on some of their boards it does seem woefully inadequate. The DP55WG is clearly not designed for ‘hardcore’ overclockers, which will make my findings later even more surprising.

The board offers full options for adjusting CPU and memory voltage, which is basically the same as the higher end DP55KG motherboard.

While the higher end KG supports eight internal Sata drives, the WG is limited to six. To be perfectly honest, I really don’t think many enthusiast users would have a need for more than two optical drives and four internal hard drives. If you do however, then you need to look elsewhere – this won’t suffice.

The board is based on the Intel P55 chipset and offers the following controllers:

  • Integrated audio based on 10-channel (7.1+2) Realtek ALC889 HDA codec. This top-end solution supports HD-DVD and Blu-Ray output, offers frontal I/O, optical S/PDIF-Out and S/PDIF-In interfaces on the back panel, an S/PDIF-Out for HDMI-enabled graphics cards.
  • Gigabit Ethernet based on the chipset MAC adapter and Intel 82578DC PHY.
  • FireWire controller based on Texas Instruments TSB43AB22A (PCI) supporting two ports, one of which is on the back panel.

The lack of jumbo frame support concerned me, however after testing across my own network with a Belkin 16 port gigabit switch I found performance to be very good, if not class leading. A lack of e-SATA support is missed however as I have a big storage drive with this interface. For the price point however it is understandable – these are extras often found further up the price scale.

The audio performance was also very good and I had no complaints when listening to a variety of music through the Razer Mako speakers.

Overall, the board has been relatively simplified when compared with the higher end model however it is around £50 cheaper than the DP55KG … money saved could actually get you a better processor. First however we need to look at overclocking on the next page to see if it is still a viable solution to get the most out of both processors on test today.

Finally, Intels Control Center software package is not supported on the WG board so all our overclocking was handled directly in the bios.

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