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

High-End P67 Express: Five $200-250 Motherboards
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With mainstream boards based on Intel's P67 Express chipset now priced well beyond $150, we reached into the $200-250 range to see what kinds of enhancements high-end buyers could expect just ahead of the anticipated Z68 Express launch.

The prices we expect to pay for PCs don't change much. An entry-level machine is around $500, and has hovered around there for a while. A potent gaming system is completely doable for $1000, and that's a largely static figure, too. But our expectations of what you should get out of PCs at either of those price points is higher than ever.

An ever-increasing number of next-gen interfaces and add-on controllers continue pushing so-called mainstream motherboards well into what most enthusiasts used to consider high-end territory, shoving the cost of a real high-end board beyond $200, even for models that employ what the industry collectively considers mainstream chipsets, like Intel's P67 Express.

Today’s $200 P67-based motherboards are anything but extreme, even lacking Nvidia's NF200 controller, which enhances SLI and CrossFire graphics support. For that, one must go farther into the $250+ market (check out GeForce And Radeon On Intel's P67: PCIe Scaling Explored for more on what NF200 can do for graphics performance).

Yet, these same boards do have a few so-called extreme features, such as improved voltage regulators for increased overclocking capability. All of them also support three graphics cards (though in the least-favorable x8/x8/x4 PCIe configuration we can think of), dual gigabit Ethernet ports, and additional USB 3.0 or SATA 6Gb/s ports compared to mainstream versions.

High-End P67 Motherboard Features
 ASRock Fatal1ty
P67 Professional
ASRock P67
Extreme6
Asus
P8P67 Deluxe
Asus
P8P67 EVO
MSI
P67A-GD80
PCB Revision1.021.041.031.032.1
ChipsetIntel P67 ExpressIntel P67 ExpressIntel P67 ExpressIntel P67 ExpressIntel P67 Express
Voltage RegulatorEighteen PhasesEighteen PhasesSixteen PhasesTwelve PhasesTwelve Phases
BIOSP1.70 (03/16/2011)P1.60 (03/16/2011)1502 (03/02/2011)1502 (03/02/2011)A0 (03/21/2011)
100.0 MHz BCLK99.8 (-0.2%)99.8 (-0.2%)100.0 (+0.0%)100.0 (+0.0%)100.0 (+0.0%)
Clock GeneratorP67 IntegratedP67 IntegratedP67 IntegratedP67 IntegratedP67 Integrated
Internal Interfaces
PCIe x163 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)
PCIe x1/x42/02/02/02/02/0
Legacy PCI22222
USB 2.04 (8-ports)4 (8-ports)2 (4-ports)3 (6-ports)3 (6-ports)
USB 3.01 (2-ports)1 (2-ports)1 (2-ports)1 (2-ports)2 (4-ports)
IEEE-139411111
Serial Port11NoneNoneNone
Parallel PortNoneNoneNoneNoneNone
FloppyYesYesNoNoNo
Ultra-ATA 1331 (2-drives)NoneNoneNoneNone
SATA 3Gb/s44444
SATA 6Gb/s66442
4-Pin Fan22221
3-Pin Fan44324
FP-AudioYesYesYesYesYes
CD-AudioYesNoNoNoNo
S/PDIF I/OOutput OnlyOutput OnlyOutput OnlyOutput OnlyOutput Only
Power ButtonYesYesYesYesYes
Reset ButtonYesYesYesYesYes
CLR_CMOS ButtonJumper-OnlyJumper-OnlyJumper-OnlyJumper-OnlyJumper-Only
Diagnostics PanelNumericNumericNumericPass/Fail LEDsPass/Fail LEDs
I/O Panel Connectors
P/S 222121
USB 2.044864
USB 3.044226
IEEE-139411111
NetworkDualDualDualDualDual
eSATA112 total, 1 powered2 total, 1 powered2
CLR_CMOS ButtonYesYesYesYesYes
Digital Audio OutOptical + CoaxialOptical + CoaxialOptical + CoaxialOptical + CoaxialOptical + Coaxial
Digital Audio InNoneNoneNoneNoneNone
Analog Audio66666
Other DevicesNoneNoneBluetooth TransceiverBluetooth TransceiverNone
Mass Storage Controllers
Chipset SATA2 x SATA 6Gb/s
4 x SATA 3Gb/s
2 x SATA 6Gb/s
4 x SATA 3Gb/s
2 x SATA 6Gb/s
4 x SATA 3Gb/s
2 x SATA 6Gb/s
4 x SATA 3Gb/s
2 x SATA 6Gb/s
4 x SATA 3Gb/s
Chipset RAID Modes0, 1, 5, 100, 1, 5, 100, 1, 5, 100, 1, 5, 100, 1, 5, 10
Add-In SATA2 x Marvell 9120 PCIe
4 x SATA 6Gb/s
1 x eSATA (shared)
2 x Marvell 9120 PCIe
4 x SATA 6Gb/s
1 x eSATA (shared)
Marvell 9128 PCIe
2 x SATA 6Gb/s
JMB 362 PCIe
2 x eSATA 3Gb/s
Marvell 9120 PCIe
2 x SATA 6Gb/s
JMB 362 PCIe
2 x eSATA 3Gb/s
Marvell 9128 PCIe
2 x eSATA 6Gb/s
Supports RAID 0, 1
Add-In Ultra ATAVIA VT6330 PCIeNoneNoneNoneNone
USB 3.03 x Etron EJ168A PCIe3 x Etron EJ168A PCIe2 x NEC D720200F12 x NEC D720200F12 x NEC D720200F1
2 x VLI VL810 Hub
IEEE-1394VIA VT6330 PCIe
2 x 400 Mb/s
VT6315N PCIe
2 x 400 Mb/s
VT6315N PCIe
2 x 400 Mb/s
VT6308P PCI
2 x 400 Mb/s
VT6308P PCI
2 x 400 Mb/s
Gigabit Ethernet
Primary LANRTL8111E PCIeRTL8111E PCIeWG82579V PHYWG82579V PHYRTL8111E PCIe
Secondary LANRTL8111E PCIeRTL8111E PCIeRTL8111E PCIeRTL8110SC PCIRTL8111E PCIe
Audio
HD Audio CodecALC892ALC892ALC889ALC892ALC892
DDL/DTS ConnectNoneNoneNoneNoneNone
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  • 4 Hide
    rolli59 , April 25, 2011 7:26 AM
    Nice article would have been nice to have a Gigabyte board in there as well.
  • 2 Hide
    joytech22 , April 25, 2011 7:35 AM
    So glad I grabbed my P8P67 Deluxe!

    It had all the features I was looking for at a low enough price to make it very appealing.
  • 1 Hide
    Crashman , April 25, 2011 7:39 AM
    rolli59Nice article would have been nice to have a Gigabyte board in there as well.
    Please tell Gigabyte to produce something for this market!

    Tom's Hardware included the UD4 in its $150-200 motherboard roundup, and the UD5 costs more than $250.
  • -4 Hide
    Manos , April 25, 2011 7:39 AM
    How te hell is it possible that a website like this keeps ignoring my question as in WHY its been for so many months if not year or whatever, that they dont fix this *** and I cant click to submit my comment from IE? How can THIS be the only website with issues with IE? I find it rather sad. Its why i quit commenting instead of being forced to open a different browser for this site which I used to love and respect. Till they started ignoring this issue Ive been pointing out ( and not just me ).

    Thank you for the charts tho id love to see one with Maximus IV included x.x ( I edited cause I asked something stupid as in why I dont see it in the chart. Sorry.. Been working all night and no time to read the article. Bits only.And no I obviously hadnt read the title x.x My bad. Happy Easter!
  • -2 Hide
    jerreddredd , April 25, 2011 7:46 AM
    It would have been nice to see if there is a performance gain in these "high end" boards over a value P67 board.

    For an even better article also throw in one of each value rated H67 and H61 boards. ($240 vs $130 vs $70 boards)
  • 1 Hide
    alidan , April 25, 2011 8:24 AM
    jerreddreddIt would have been nice to see if there is a performance gain in these "high end" boards over a value P67 board. For an even better article also throw in one of each value rated H67 and H61 boards. ($240 vs $130 vs $70 boards)

    this, i would love to see how the high end stacks up with the low end. the low may not have as much as the high end, but performance is really all that matters considering we can just get expansion cards for things we dont have.
  • 0 Hide
    sudeshc , April 25, 2011 8:34 AM
    Nice analysis glad to know ASUS is good to go.
  • 0 Hide
    Hupiscratch , April 25, 2011 8:54 AM
    Great article. Now it´s time for the high-end overclocking oriented boards, like the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme.
  • -1 Hide
    memadmax , April 25, 2011 9:19 AM
    I'm gonna go all out on this chipset when it matures a bit. A cool 5 grand i'm thinking for my next gen build.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 25, 2011 10:37 AM
    Quote:
    Please tell Gigabyte to produce something for this market!


    GA-P67A-UD7 doesn't count?
  • 0 Hide
    Onus , April 25, 2011 1:20 PM
    Thanks for the wake-up call on MSI; I had thought to maybe risk buying one of their boards again. Sounds like I should be happy to stick with ASRock.

    Edit: Oh, and those shots of the ASRock boards show three pairs of two SATA cables, not just three individual cables.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 25, 2011 1:38 PM
    Looks like the mid-range mobos do better in some of the gaming tests. That's surprising to me, since the test setups are identical.
  • 0 Hide
    rolli59 , April 25, 2011 1:38 PM
    Quote:
    Please tell Gigabyte to produce something for this market!

    GA-P67A-UD5-B3 http://www.gigabyte.us/products/product-page.aspx?pid=3762#ov
  • 0 Hide
    ammar711 , April 25, 2011 1:43 PM
    hope if u can make a review of Asus Saertooth P67
  • 1 Hide
    jfby , April 25, 2011 2:11 PM
    ManosHow te hell is it possible that a website like this keeps ignoring my question as in WHY its been for so many months if not year or whatever, that they dont fix this *** and I cant click to submit my comment from IE? How can THIS be the only website with issues with IE? I find it rather sad. Its why i quit commenting instead of being forced to open a different browser for this site which I used to love and respect. Till they started ignoring this issue Ive been pointing out ( and not just me ).Thank you for the charts tho id love to see one with Maximus IV included x.x ( I edited cause I asked something stupid as in why I dont see it in the chart. Sorry.. Been working all night and no time to read the article. Bits only.And no I obviously hadnt read the title x.x My bad. Happy Easter!


    I am using IE and Firefox at home and both allow me to comment on articles.

    I would like to see the 'thumbs up' and 'thumbs down' buttons function appropriately, though.
  • 4 Hide
    Onus , April 25, 2011 2:31 PM
    I too am waiting for the return of the thumbs. It's been months; come on guys, it USED to work just fine, so please roll it back. In the forums, it says I've already voted, and here it is possible to vote, but not see the results.
  • 2 Hide
    Max_DTH , April 25, 2011 3:06 PM
    Hi everyone :hello:  it's nice to be a part of Tom's Hardware forum community :)  I'm constant Tom's Hardware reader and I just love this site, especially for professional and reliable reviews.

    My Q6600 based PC just died and I'm building Sandy Bridge machine. I'm having a tough time understanding new architecture.
    I can't get the idea of second paragraph at "ASRock UEFI" page:
    Quote:
    ASRock is among the brands that can use programming tricks to make the installed CPU run at its maximum Turbo Boost frequency full-time, which is apparently against Intel's design recommendations, but preferable to anyone accustomed to overclocking previous Intel platforms. That basically means that disabling Turbo Boost and increasing the standard multiplier does just the opposite, forcing Turbo to stay at full throttle using whatever multiplier the overclocker desires.

    and it made me somewhat lost. I've read a lot about Sandy Bridge and thought that I know how things are, but now I'm not so sure, so please clarify some things for me.

    Below statements are to be confirmed:
    In general
    1) Stock 2500K run at 3300MHz (2600K at 3400MHz) when all 4 cores are active.
    1a) With SpeedStep is enabled when there is no load multiplier drops to x16.
    1b) With Turbo Boost enabled, when 4/3/2/1 cores are stressed, they run at +1/+2/+3/+4 bins respectively (so multiplier increases by given value).
    2) When we are overclocking Sandy Bridge we set maximal Turbo Boost multiplier.
    2a) With both Turbo Boost and SpeedStep disabled CPU run constantly at set multiplier.
    2b) With both Turbo Boost and SpeedStep enabled CPU run at x16 multiplier when idle and at set multiplier when at load (it doesn't matter how many cores are stressed, the multiplier is fixed at set value).

    Are above statements correct? Do they also apply to ASRock?
    I would also like to ask what quoted paragraph means, because I get an impression from it, that at stock with Turbo Boost enabled CPU run constantly at +4 bins and I don't get the point of "does just the opposite" part, because it's contrasting two things which are the same (maxiing multiplier all the time). This may be just a problem of my poor understanding, because I'm not native English speaker, so maybe just saying it in other words would help.

    Thank you very much for all help :) 


    P.S. At first page we got information that CLR_CMOS Button in ASRock's is Jumper-Only. Why back pannel CLR CMOS doesn't qualify?
  • 1 Hide
    Leaps-from-Shadows , April 25, 2011 4:33 PM
    1) If you ignore Turbo Boost, this is correct.
    1a) Correct.
    1b) Correct.
    2) Depending on the board. For ASRock, this is correct.
    2a) You also have to disable C1E and all of the CStates settings.
    2b) Depends on the board. For ASRock, this is correct.
  • -1 Hide
    prabal34 , April 25, 2011 6:00 PM
    After reading this review I will stay away from future MSI motherboards. What a sham.
  • 1 Hide
    rockitman , April 25, 2011 6:07 PM
    The nice thing about the Asus Deluxe is the spacing of the PCI slots for Crossfired Video cards. A nice 2" gap exists between my 2 6950's.
    And as my case is a Silverstone Fortress, the MB is rotated 90 degrees so all the outputs come out the top. This enhances the cooling ability for these 2 cards as they both receive direct airflow from the bottom mounted 180mm fans.
    The front mounted USB 3 device is a nice idea except that the short cable that is provided will not work with these 2 huge graphic cards in the way. I need to find an extender if they make one.
    Glad to know my MB was rated tops.
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