The first socket LGA1156 processors were released this week together with a new chipset from Intel, P55. Of course the main motherboard manufacturers are releasing products based on this new platform. Today we are going to take a look at a model from ECS, P55H-A Black Series, which is a mainstream model featuring all-solid capacitors.

ECS P55H-A Black Series motherboardFigure 1: ECS P55H-A Black Series motherboard.

The first thing that caught our eye on this motherboard was the use of only solid aluminum capacitors.

ECS P55H-A has two PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots. These slots are actually connected directly inside the CPU, and this in one of the main new features brought by socket LGA1156 processors. If only one video card is installed, the main slot will work at x16, but if two video cards are installed the speed drops to x8 on each slot. This is a limitation from the CPU, not from the chipset or the motherboard, since the CPU is the component controlling these slots, as explained. P55H-A supports CrossFire configuration, but not SLI. SLI support on P55-based motherboards will depend on whether the manufacturer licensed this technology from NVIDIA or not.

ECS P55H-A Black Series motherboardFigure 2: Slots.

This motherboard also has one x4 PCI Express slot, one x1 PCI Express slot and two standard PCI slots. These are controlled by the chipset.

In Figure 2 you can also see an extra power connector (using a standard peripheral power connector, a.k.a. “Molex”) that is available on the motherboard. ECS doesn’t say exactly when it should be used. Since it is used to provide extra current for the PCI Express x16 slots, we recommend you to always use it.

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.