P67 motherboard roundup

Warning: Final products might be totally different

WE DIDN’T FORGET to take some snaps of the P67 boards that were on display at Computex, but rather than doing a post here and there on the various boards, we figured we’d stick them all in one story. Just a word of warning, most of these boards are not the final product and most are mock-ups made for the show and some of them don’t even have the actual chipset fitted.

As usual we’ll keep things in alphabetical order, so we’re starting with ASRock. Its board is called the P67 Extreme3 and it has no real stand-out features apart from a Bluetooth dongle which is permanently fitted to a USB port on the rear I/O. It does of course have SATA 6Gbps support, this time courtesy of the Intel P67 chipset.  Every other board in this roundup also offers the same. USB 3.0 is via a Renesas chip and the board also has an eSATA port and even an IDE port and floppy drive connector.

Next we have the Asus P8P67D Deluxe and the rep as the Asus booth told us that this was a mock-up and the final board might look very different. Again, no real stand-out features. Asus is using a Renesas USB 3.0 host controller and has, just like ASRock, figured that people still need an IDE port, despite the fact that the board has no less than nine SATA ports, not counting the eSATA port.

Biostar has gone for a red and white colour scheme on its new boards and its TP67XE continues the trend of rather unexciting boards. Biostar is using one of the chipsets SATA ports as an eSATA port and as such you’re “limited” to five SATA devices on this board. USB 3.0 appears to come from a Renesas controller again, although the actual chip was missing from this early board.

ECS had a pair of boards on display, namely the P67H2-A and the P67H2-A2. You wouldn’t think there’d be much difference between the two, but you’d be wrong, as the two models are vastly different. The P67H2-A features an nForce 200 chip and supports 3-way SLI. This board also two Renesas USB 3.0 host controllers, but ECS has come up with a clever trick here. There are four rear USB 3.0 ports, as one of the host controllers is connected to a VLI USB 3.0 hub. The other controller goes to a pin-header for front USB 3.0 ports.

The P67H2-A2 is a more basic model, although we’re not sure what prompted the scarcity of slots, as the board only has two x16 PCI Express slots, one x1 PCI Express slot and two PCI slots, that’s two less than what you normally get on an ATX board. As this is the more cost conscious option, ECS has gone for a pair of Etron USB 3.0 host controllers which should be more affordable than the ones from Renesas. The board also has an overclocking dial which goes from 0-9 and you just dial it up and press the OC button and the board should – fingers crossed and all that – overclock just fine within safe parameters. Both boards have four SATA 6Gbps ports and two eSATA 6Gbps ports.

Last but not least we have MSI’s P67A-GD65 which again is a fairly typical motherboard in terms of features. MSI has added its test terminal for overclockers to which a multi-meter can be easily used to read the Voltages of various parts of the board. It does, of course, sport a USB 3.0 host controller and MSI has also added a Marvell SATA 6Gbps controller that adds two more ports to the P67 chipsets’ two ports.

Overall the P67 chipset doesn’t look like it’ll be a huge progress from the P55 chipset, although it should supposedly have eight PCI Express lanes compared to six of the P55 chipset. Fingers crossed that we get real, full bandwidth gen 2.0 lanes this time, instead of the half speed on offer by the P55 chipset.S|A

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