QuickSync is something I would like to have but more importantly, it seems that all the enthusiast based mobo will be based off Z68, especially given that I'm eyeing the m-atx format. For the likes of Asus, not sure if we would ever see P67 equivalent of the Rampage III Gene m-Atx X58 board...
For the likes of Asus, not sure if we would ever see P67 equivalent of the Rampage III Gene m-Atx X58 board...
Boy are you right about that. P67 -- and Z68 for that matter, which can be thought of as a derivative of P67 -- was never intended to be the replacement of X58. X58's replacement is still in prototyping stage -- we're talking about LGA 2011 with the Sandy Bridge-E architecture. If you're looking for as many PCIe lanes as X58 has, you need to wait for LGA2011 -- that's why 1366 is still considered the "enthusiast" board -- triple SLI and what-not.
For now, Sandy Bridge is your best choice, since LGA2011 is not due out for several months. The choice between Z68 and P67, in my opinion, is not a difficult one for buys today -- in general, Z68 boards are more expensive than P67 boards and quicksync is not worth that unless you're doing a lot of transcoding.
However, there are many that claim that Z68 will eventually push P67 out entirely, with P67 production ending soon. In Tom's's (is that the possessive form of "Tom's"??) latest review of z68, it claims that it heard from industry insiders in Taiwan -- the MB design capitol of the world -- that prominent P67 MB manufacturers are drawing down P67 stocks in favor of replacement with z68. Newegg's current equality in pricing ASrock pro3 p67 and teh Asrock pro3 z68 seems to support that rumor. But who knows?
Bottom line -- if you're buying _today_, go with P67 unless you're doing a ton of transcoding. If you're not buying now, just go with what is available.
Why would I need the HD graphics system within the processor if I already got a GPU, let's say, an XFX 6950 2gb?
Or could I pair them up and use them both as in some kind of SLI arrangement?
SLI and crossfire are typically used to harness the power of two gpus to accelerate 3D performance -- such as in games. There is no ability to pair a GPU with the SB HD graphics system to improve 3d performance.
The only reason that you would need the HD graphics system available is if you want to be able to use the Quicksync video transcoding functionality. If you're not transcoding between two video formats, there's no reason to get the Z68.
From the reviews I have read, the big advantage of the "Z" boards is the Inclusion of Intels ISR (Intelligent Smart Responce System). This allows you to use a small (must be UNDER 64gigs) SSD in conjunction with your mechanical HD. It "learns" the programs you use the most, and chashes them to the SSD so they load up faster, as well as speeding up your start up and shut down times. The Lucid video seems to not hurt anything, but doesn't really help anything either. For me, the "Z" board and ISR help a lot with Photoshop CS5, but may or may not be something you want. Hope this helps you with your choice of boards.