Overclocking isn’t something you think about much when it comes to a business computer, or a general purpose home PC. This is the province of hard-core gamers, who want to squeeze every ounce of performance out of every single bit of hardware they own.
It’s generally easy to spot a device intended for overclocking. The box is normally dark, with some kind of explosion, cyber-knight, or scantily clad sci-fi girl as part of the artwork. This, really, is to appeal to the target market that are after these devices. Based on that, and the fact that this kind of packaging is so commonly used, it would be little surprise if gamers skip over MSI’s P55-CD53 motherboard. Its packaging is fairly nondescript and down-toned, and those hunting for an overclocking board would probably not even notice it as they went for the box with the most impressive pair of latex-covered breasts emblazoned on it.
But that would be quite a mistake to make. Because, hidden beneath the green and white exterior of the box, is a board that is more than capable of delivering exactly what a gamer needs. It might not be the top of the line overclocking board, but it does offer decent overclocking capabilities, and a rock-steady performance that trumps many others. Appearances can be deceiving, and this is certainly one book that shouldn’t be judged by its cover.
The P55-CD53 supports both Intel i5 and Intel i7 processors in a 1156 socket. That means that the board is versatile, in terms of processor, giving the user support for the best Intel chip on offer. Four RAM slots can take up to 16GB of DDR3 RAM, arrayed in two dual channel banks.
This board does not offer on-board video capabilities, which is another nod towards its gaming focus. That said, it only has one video PCI Express slot available.
The implication, then, is that it is aimed at mid to high level gamers, who don’t necessarily want to use SLI or Crossfire configurations. It does offer three PCI express slots for other cards, though.
Naturally, it supports on-board audio, with a standard 7.1 audio jack configuration as part of the rear port array.
Additionally, the board sports 8 USB 3.0 ports, which is a great bonus, with support for a further 12 USB 2.0 ports (10 external, 4 internal.)
The board uses MSI’s DRMOS technology, delivering MOSFET speeds that are up to 400% faster than the norm. Active Phase Switching technology means that the board will also chew up less power than other boards, making it economical as well as quick. And for the overclockers? OC Genie technology means that the CPU and memory of the board can be intelligently overclocked with just the push of a single button, built onto the board itself. While this may not give hard-core overclockers the versatility they desire, it does ensure system stability, and is more than enough of an option for mid-range tweakers.
With a number of bundled software utilities and applications, as well as the versatility to perform as a power-saving system board and a good gaming board, the P55-CD53 is a good option for those who want their PCs to be powerful, but not necessarily driven to the max.
At A Glance
It may not be the top overclocking board around, but it’s a great all-rounder.
• 1 x Video PCIe slot
• 8-Channel audio
• 8 x USB 3.0 slots
• Socket 1156
• 10/100/1000 LAN
• OC Genie
• Solid performance
• USB 3.0
• Easy overclocking
• Excellent price
• No on-board VGA
• One video card slot