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High-End P67 Express: Five $200-250 Motherboards

Product comparisons are all about separating the men from the boys. But is there a rule that says only one contender can win? In a close competition with this many parameters, the answer is often no. And we sometimes see virtual ties. Yet, one motherboard did stand out by finishing on top of both our performance and core overclocking comparisons, Asus' P8P67 Deluxe.

This is where we must consider price. Substantially similar in both performance and CPU overclocking, ASRock’s Fatal1ty is also priced at $240. ASRock shoots for improved value with two more USB 3.0 ports, while Asus seeks an edge in network latency by incorporating Intel’s gigabit Ethernet PHY. ASRock also had a slight lead in efficiency. Windows XP holdouts might be pleased by the presence of floppy and Ultra ATA interfaces, but the value of those additions is insignificant to most enthusiasts. 

In other words, both motherboards present us with enough reasons to like them that we're able to bestow upon them our Tom's Hardware Approved award. This one's below our Best Of and Recommended Buy ratings, and is dusted off when more than one product distinguishes itself in a comparison. Because the ASRock Fatl1tyP67 Professional and Asus' P8P67 Deluxe both shine here, they both receive Approved status.

For $30 less, ASRock’s P67 Extreme6 carries over everything, except for the Ultra ATA controller from its Fatal1ty-branded sibling. That would make it the better value in our minds, except that the board came up 88 MHz short of the P8P67 Deluxe in CPU overclocking. While you decide whether 88 MHz is worth $30, also consider that the cheaper P67 Extreme6 has the best four-DIMM memory overclocking capability.

That leaves the Asus P8P67 EVO and MSI P67-GD80. Because the simple act of installing a graphics card in either board's bottom x16 slot requires disabling several onboard controllers, these can’t seriously be considered high-end models. We also find it disappointing that the second PCIe x1 slot of both boards is used more for its good looks than actual functionality. Asus is already nudging its board down to the upper-midrange market with a $200 price, and MSI should follow suit. Had either of these been available at the right price when we were conducting our $150-200 motherboard roundup, one of them might have even won.

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