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Asus places its P8P67 Pro above lower-cost rivals with a Bluetooth transceiver—a desktop rarity at any price—plus a separate controller for twin eSATA ports. Intel’s 82579 gigabit Ethernet PHY accesses the chipset’s port directly for improved performance, also freeing up one PCIe port.
One feature that many builders won’t notice until they try to remove the board from a system is that its eight-pin CPU power connector faces latch-side down, easing its disengagement in tight cases and preventing it from being blocked by cables that loop over the top of a motherboard tray. Though the feature is not unique to this board, it still puts it on a list of top candidates for use in our ATX case evaluations.
Asus uses the USB 3.0 front panel first implemented by ASRock and later attributed to Intel, placing it near the center of the P8P67 Pro’s front edge to ease cable management. Other layout features are equally pleasing, with the exception of the front-panel audio connector, which is difficult to reach in the board’s bottom-rear corner.
The term “pleasing” is subjective, since we wouldn’t normally use the four-lane x16-length PCIe slot for a third graphics card. Those that do will find that the card’s cooler pushes tightly against the ends of several front-panel cables, with full card insertion typically requiring enough force to smash the cable ends flat. We’d likely use this slot for a different task.
The other two PCIe x16 slots are spaced three slots apart to allow better airflow to the top card, with a set of automatic switches between them selecting from one x16 to two x8 pathway sets whenever a card is inserted in the middle slot. At the other end of the bandwidth spectrum, two PCI slots are supported by ASMedia’s ASM1083 PCIe to PCI bridge.
One mild curiosity in the P8P67 Pro’s installation kit is its lack of a drive bay panel for the front-panel USB 3.0 ports. Asus is evidently hoping that case manufacturers will catch on soon, as are we. Users who would like to access these ports from a slot plate still get the appropriate adapter.