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Z68 Express Roundup: Three Motherboards Do Battle Around $200

Overclocking, Quick Sync, And SSD Caching

We were initially stoked by how much better Intel’s current-generation processors are than their predecessors, combining quantifiable per-clock performance gains with lower power consumption, higher clock speeds, and vastly superior overclocking capability.

And yet, perhaps the most significant addition to the company's second-gen Core processors, Quick Sync-accelerated video transcoding, was limited to very inflexible H67 Express-based platforms. The P67 chipset allowed us to taste the new processor’s awesome overclocking, while its inability to access the architecture's integrated graphics core left a bad taste in our mouth.

Intel changes all of that with the release of Z68 Express, the uninhibited chipset that now sits atop Intel's mainstream-performance lineup. Now we even have the motherboards to prove it.

If you aren't yet familiar with the new platform, check out our coverage of the chipset itself in The Intel Z68 Express Review: A Real Enthusiast Chipset.

P67 Motherboard Features
ASRock Z68 Extreme4Asus P8Z68-V ProGigabyte Z68X-UD3H-B3
PCB Revision1.011.010.2
ChipsetIntel Z68 ExpressIntel Z68 ExpressIntel Z68 Express
Voltage Regulator12 Phases16 PhasesSeven Phases
BIOSP1.10 (04/22/2011)8801 Beta (04/28/2011)F2e (04/28/2011)
100.0 MHz BCLK99.8 (-0.2%)100.3 (+0.03%)100.3 (+0.03%)
Clock GeneratorZ68 IntegratedZ68 IntegratedZ68 Integrated
Internal Interfaces
PCIe x163 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)2 (x16/x0 or x8/x8)
PCIe x1/x42/02/02/0
Legacy PCI222
USB 2.03 (6-ports)3 (6-ports)4 (8-ports)
USB 3.01 (2-ports)1 (2-ports)1 (2-ports)
IEEE-1394121
Serial Port1None1
Parallel PortNoneNoneNone
FloppyYesNoNo
Ultra-ATA 133NoneNoneNone
SATA 3.0Gb/s443
SATA 6.0Gb/s444
4-Pin Fan232
3-Pin Fan432
FP-AudioYesYesYes
CD-AudioNoNoNo
S/PDIF I/OOutput OnlyOutput OnlyOutput Only
Power ButtonYesYesNo
Reset ButtonYesYesNo
CLR_CMOS ButtonJumper OnlyJumper OnlyJumper Only
Diagnostics PanelNumericPass/Fail LEDsPass/Fail LEDs
I/O Panel Connectors
P/S 22None1
USB 2.0464
USB 3.0222
IEEE-13941None1
NetworkSingleSingleSingle
eSATA111
CLR_CMOS ButtonYesNoNo
Digital Audio OutOptical OnlyOptical OnlyOptical Only
Digital Audio InNoneNoneNone
Analog Audio566
Video Out1 Each: DVI, HDMI, VGA, DisplayPort1 Each: DVI, HDMI VGA1 Each: DVI, HDMI, VGA, DisplayPort
Other DevicesNoneBluetooth TransceiverNone
Mass Storage Controllers
Chipset SATA2 x SATA 6Gb/s 4 x SATA 3Gb/s2 x SATA 6Gb/s 4 x SATA 3Gb/s2 x SATA 6Gb/s 4 x SATA 3Gb/s
Chipset RAID Modes0, 1, 5, 100, 1, 5, 100, 1, 5, 10
Add-In SATAMarvell 9120 PCIe2 x SATA 6Gb/s 1 x eSATA (shared)Marvell 9172 PCIe2 x SATA 6Gb/s 2 x eSATA 3Gb/sMarvell 9172 PCIe
Add-In Ultra ATANoneNoneNone
USB 3.02 x Etron EJ168A PCIe2 x ASM1042 PCIe2x Etron EJ168A PCIe
IEEE-1394VT6315N PCIe 2 x 400 Mb/sVT6308P PCI 2 x 400 Mb/sVT6308P PCI 2 x 400 Mb/s
Gigabit Ethernet
Primary LANBroadcom BCM57781 PCIeWG82579V PHYRTL8111E PCIe
Secondary LANNoneNoneNone
HD Audio
HD Audio CodecALC892ALC892ALC889
DDL/DTS ConnectNoneNoneNone
  • user 18
    ASrock comes with 4 eSATA cables?
    Reply
  • Kisakuku
    The first UEFI screenshots for ASRock and Asus are switched.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    user 18ASrock comes with 4 eSATA cables?KisakukuThe first UEFI screenshots for ASRock and Asus are switched.Fixed, thanks!
    Reply
  • pirateboy
    mayankleoboy1a little something from MSI would have made this more interesting.
    +1
    Reply
  • evga_fan
    ->Thomas

    "Gigabyte’s Quick Boost application sets our processor at 200, 400, or 700 MHz beyond its rated frequency."

    Just so you know. Anyways, keep up the good work!

    Cheers
    Reply
  • crisan_tiberiu
    so, basicaly there is no difference in performance between theese boards as i can see.
    Reply
  • hmm .. was thinking of getting an Asus P8Z68-V Pro .. not so sure now knowing that the other boards offer the same performance and are both cheaper.
    Reply
  • Olle P
    One additional feature of the ASRock card that isn't mentioned is its set of holes matching a socket 775 cooler. That feature was the main reason I ordered one of these cards three days ago, since I won't have to spend money on a new CPU cooler.
    Reply
  • tommysch
    So a P67 is superior... interesting.
    Reply
  • crisan_tiberiu
    Olle POne additional feature of the ASRock card that isn't mentioned is its set of holes matching a socket 775 cooler. That feature was the main reason I ordered one of these cards three days ago, since I won't have to spend money on a new CPU cooler.
    ermm thats pro, since i have a socket 775 core 2 duo atm. Any other motherboards out there that suport this?? i would love to know

    Reply