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Asus P8P67 EVO

High-End P67 Express: Five $200-250 Motherboards
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Similarities between Asus’ samples cause a second case of déjà vu, or in the humorous words of Yogi Berra “déjà vu all over again.” As with its competitor, Asus translates large layout portions from one product onto another, while still using a completely different circuit board.

P8P67 EVO buyers get the same Bluetooth transceiver, the same add-in SATA and eSATA controllers, the same total number of USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, and even the same Intel WG82579V gigabit Ethernet PHY. The EVO has one more PS/2 port, two fewer rear-panel USB 2.0 ports, and one more internal two-port USB 2.0 header.

Quick eyes will notice the big differences between the P8P67 EVO and its Deluxe counterpart right away, since the EVO’s two PCI-based interface controllers are so large. Asus replaces the FireWire and secondary network controllers with PCI versions to reduce the board’s reliance on PCIe, placing both of these on a single ASM1085 PCIe-to-PCI bridge and removing the somewhat-pricey PLX PCIe bridge.

Moving those two controllers to a PCI bus still doesn’t prevent the P8P67 EVO from running out of PCIe pathways, though. Instead, the third PCIe x16-length slot drops from x4 to x1 mode in order to enable the top PCIe x1 slot, eSATA controller, and secondary SATA 6Gb/s controller. And even when that x16 slot is in x1 mode, it steals that lane from the second PCIe x1 slot.

Those are big sacrifices to enable a x4 slot for x8-x8-x4 triple graphics card configurations, but some gamers don’t need more than six internal drives or eSATA. Nevertheless, a less convoluted layout would have at least eliminated the second x1 slot, since it’s always tied to the third x16-slot’s first lane (unusable) and blocked by the graphics coolers of most performance-oriented graphics cards (inaccessible).

The P8P67 EVO includes four internal SATA cables, two of which are rated SATA 6Gb/s-compliant. We consider that the bare minimum for any upper-range motherboard, which means that some of Asus’ competitors don’t even meet our minimum standards in this respect. Builders whose cases lack an internal USB 3.0 front-panel interface will get little benefit from the EVO’s installation kit, since it includes only a slot-panel adapter.

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