P67 Motherboard Roundup: Nine $150-200 Boards

Overclocking Results

BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
 ASRock P67
P8P67 Pro
CPU Base Clock95-110 MHz (1 MHz)80-300 MHz (0.1MHz)100-300 MHz (0.1MHz)
CPU MultiplierUp to 57xUp to 57xUp to 100x*
DRAM Data Rates1066-2133 (266.6 MHz)800-2400* (266.6 MHz)1066-2133 (266.6 MHz)
CPU Vcore0.86-1.52V (5 mV)0.80-1.99V (5 mV)1.00-1.79V (10 mV)
Sys. Agent Voltage0.66-1.87 (12.5 mV)0.80-1.70V (6.25 mV)0.90-1.61V (12.5 mV)
PCH Voltage0.78-1.65V (9 mV)0.80-1.70V (10 mV)1.00-1.50V (12.5 mV)
DRAM Voltage1.20-1.80V (15 mV)1.20-2.20V (6.25 mV)1.30-2.20V (12.5 mV)
CAS Latency5-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles
tRCD4-15 Cycles4-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles
tRP4-15 Cycles4-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles
tRAS10-40 Cycles4-40 Cycles9-63 Cycles
BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
CPU Base Clock100-106 MHz (0.16 MHz)100-300 MHz (0.1 MHz)80-200 MHz (0.1 MHz)
CPU MultiplierUp to 50xUp to 50xUp to 57x
DRAM Data Rates1066-2133 (266.6 MHz)1066-2133 (266.6 MHz)1066-2133 (266.6 MHz)
CPU Vcore-0.8 to +0.63V (50 mV)+1.0V (20 mV)0.75-1.70V (50 mV)
Sys. Agent Voltage-0.8 to +0.63V (50 mV)Not Adjustable0.66-1.31V (10 mV)
PCH Voltage1.08-1.23V (50 mV)Not Adjustable0.84-1.94V (20 mV)
DRAM Voltage-0.8 to +0.63V (50 mV)1.50-2.00V (12.5 mV)0.90-2.60V (20 mV)
CAS Latency3-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles5-15 Cycles
tRCD3-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles1-15 Cycles
tRP3-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles1-15 Cycles
tRAS9-63 Cycles9-63 Cycles1-40 Cycles
BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
CPU Base Clock100-120 MHz (1 MHz)100-300 MHz (0.1 MHz)89-282 MHz (0.06 MHz)
CPU MultiplierUp to 57xUp to 50xUp to 60x*
DRAM Data Rates1066-2133 (266.6 MHz)1066-2133 (266.6 MHz)800-2133 (266.6 MHz)
CPU Vcore1.00-2.30V (6.25 mV)+0.255V (1 mV)0.80-1.80V (5 mV)
Sys. Agent Voltage0.85-1.75V (25 mV)1.14-1.25V (35 mV)0.93-1.59V (20 mV)
PCH Voltage1.00-1.50V (6.25 mV)1.08-1.18V (34 mV)Not Adjustable
DRAM Voltage1.20-2.00V (10 mV)1.54-2.20V (50 mV)1.11-2.46V (6.25 mV)
CAS Latency5-16 Cycles5-16 Cycles5-15 Cycles
tRCD5-16 Cycles5-16 Cycles4-15 Cycles
tRP5-16 Cycles5-16 Cycles4-15 Cycles
tRAS15-75 Cycles15-75 Cycles10-40 Cycles

*indicates a setting that exceeds available CPU ratios

We probably don’t need to remind anyone that Intel’s K-series processors are required to get anything greater than a nominal overclock from its LGA 1155 platform, since its base clock is almost stuck. Even then, overclocking is done by manipulating Turbo Boost multipliers. Asus still manages to edge out its competitors in CPU overclocking, while the HI08’s broken Turbo Boost forces it to rely on that narrow BCLK capability.

Intel breaks past BCLK expectations, but only because we tested this capability with the CPU at its stock multiplier. Higher stress that occurs at higher multipliers generally tends to make BCLK increases more difficult, so we’ll leave the combination of BCLK and high multipliers to the world of competitive overclocking.

Before we move on, we must also note that increased BCLK has a habit of corrupting drives, since higher clocks affect PCI Express and DMI. Our tests focused on CPU, GPU, and DRAM stability, since data corruption can take days to rear its ugly head.

The same BCLK limitations that affect CPU overclocking also limit RAM. Jetway’s HI08, for example, had boot issues when using its 21.33x memory multiplier, forcing us to push its BCLK limits to find a memory speed that’s likely short of the motherboard’s actual capability. Intel’s DP67BG was also capable of running beyond DDR3-2133, but we couldn’t force a cold boot at anything above the charted settings.

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  • Tamz_msc
    Nice review.That ASUS came up with the highest CPU overclock wasn't surprising.
  • reprotected
    I thought that the ECS looked pretty sick, and it did perform alright. But unfortunately, it wasn't the best.
  • rantsky
    You guys rock! Thanks for the review!

    I'm just missing benchmarks like SATA/USB speeds etc. Please Tom's get those numbers for us!
  • Tamz_msc
    When will we see an overclocking article on these CPUs?
  • rmse17
    Thanks for the prompt review of the boards! I would like to see any differences in quality of audio and networking components. For example, what chipsets are used for Audio in each board, how that affects sound quality. Same thing for network, which chipset is used for networking, and bandwidth benchmarks. If you guys make part 2 to the review, it would be nice to see those features, as I think that would be one more way these boards would differentiate themselves.
  • VVV850
    Would have been good to know the bios version for the tested motherboards. Sorry if I double posted.
  • flabbergasted
    I'm going for the ASrock because I can use my socket 775 aftermarket cooler with it.
  • VVV850
    I was wrong. The BIOS version is posted.
  • stasdm
    Do not see any board worth spending money on.

    1. SLI "support". Do not understand why end-user has to pay for mythical SLI "sertification" (all latest Intel chips support SLI by definition) and a SLI bridge coming with the board (at least 75% of end users would never need one). The bridge should come with NVIDIA cards (same as with AMD ones). Also, in x8/x8 PCIe configuration nearly all NVIDIA cards (exept for low-end ones) will loose at least 12% productivity - with top cards that is about $100 spent for nothing (AMD cards would not see that difference). So, If those cards are coming as SLI-"sertified" they have to be, in the worst case, equipped by NVIDIA NF200 chip (though, I would not recommend to by cards with this PCIe v.1.1 bridge). As even NVIDIA GF110 cards really need less than 1GB/s bandwidth (all other NVIDIA and AMD - less than 0.8GB/s)and secondary cards in SLI/CrossFire use no more than 1/4 of that, a normal PCIe v.2.0 switch (costing less than thrown away with x8/x8 SLI money) will nicely support three "Graphics only" x16 slots, fully-functional x8 slot and will provide bandwidth enough to support one PCIe v.2.0 x4 (or 4 x x1) slot(s)/device(s).

    2. Do not understand the author euphoria of mass use of Marvell "SATA 6G" chips. The PCIe x1 chip might not be "SATA 6G" by definision, as it woud newer be able to provide more than 470GB/s (which is far from the standard 600GB/s) - so, I'd recommend to denote tham as 3G+ or 6G-. As it is shown in the upper section, there is enough bandwidth for real 6G solution (PCIe x8 LSISAS 2008 or x4 LSISAS 2004). Yes, will be a bit more expensive, but do not see the reason to have a palliative solutions on $200+ mobos.
  • Anonymous
    I was hoping that the new Asus Sabertooth P67 would be included. Its new design really is leaving people wondering if the change is as good as they claim.
  • stasdm
    To rmse17
    Do not think they use anything better than native southbridge or Realtec controller. Adding better chip will add some cents to the board cost. And, anyway, these boards are not positioned as "Hard gaimer" ones - more like low-middle class (though, with proper design LGA1155 boards may be exellent gaming boards.
  • Lutfij
    oh, yeah, wheres the ROG boards?!?!?!
  • Vatharian
    @Lutfij - they're over the price limit for this article.
    @stasdm - SLI - it's a trick nVidia pulls to make money from every mobo sold (with SLi support). Mythical or not, intel's PCHs DO NOT support SLi by default - they do not support SLi at all. It's all by means of nV's driver and BIOS-included string. Everything is supported by the fact that PCI-Express has enough bandwidth to sustain two cards - that wasn't exactly always possible with PCIe 1.0 lower bandwidth on previous-gen chipsets. About SATA 6G - most of the crowd won't utilize even half of the SATA ports at all. If they will, then probably they'll treat them only as additional sata ports with no regard to their speed. Enthusiasts will attach their SSDs to PCIe in extreme cases or at least to intel's own controller, which in turn handles SATA internally in PCH without using PCIe. External controllers are out of scope for 99% of the crowd, mind you. For example - show me PCIe based 4x SATA (or SAS, for availablity sake) controller with RAID 5 support below 300$. Any? Don't think so, save one crappy LSI. It's budget side, man. If you want top-of-the-line, get server board for storage and second, gaming, or performance rig, but that's not what's this article about.

    @Author - Thank you for great comparison. Too bad it ended on counting what does not work on the boards. It seems that atm intel and ASUS have the most mature and reliable products. However, I'd still wait for second-gen P67 boards (in Q2?), before upgrading. Still wondering what to do with my 1366 rig.
  • stasdm
    1. As SLI is software only solution (BIOS string is just a trick), that is why it is by default supported by Intel (AMD too).
    2. Even PCIe 1.1 bandwidth is over the head to support four-way SLI/CroaaFire. They use a few administrative tools from 2.0 now - but that's all. The difference between AMD and NVIDIA is that for at least two generations already AMD uses standard PCIe protocol, but at 1/4 of the standard speed. NVIDIA used even slower speed at pre-GF110 chips (that's why they decided not to issue 512-cores NF100 cards - they would not be faster than "abridged" version), with non-stsndard "Graphics PCIe" protocol (Basically PCIe, but w/o parity control, using parity bits for data, w/o distributed clock support and some other "speed-up" tricks. On x8 bus their cards have to return to standard PCIe protocol and automatically loose the "no parity" part of the bandwidth.
  • stasdm
    As for "budget mobos - carrent dual-core Atoms are enough for most non-heavy graphics tasks. To position LGA1155 processors along with them - to insult Intel engineers, created these chips. That's the hi-end product, improperly used.
  • belardo
    Good article... But these are still 1st gen boards and at $150~200 for feature sets that's the same for an AMD Chipset board is not impressive. Obviously, the new CPUs are usually faster than AMD of course. Which helps to regulate AMD into the low-end ~ mid-range computer systems.

    Still not impressed with intel's locking down flexibility of their boards & CPUs. But that's intel for you. Sandy Bridge would be great for my video encoding... but it most likely not work for me... blah blah.
  • feeddagoat
    A quick look at overclock results and tbh intel SB has killed the excitement of motherboards. After looking for features you want (even then they're all similar to a degree) all that's left is to match up the colour of your curtains.
  • aaron88_7
    The Deluxe version of that Asus board comes with a USB 3.0 drive bay, but I was a little confused as to why one would want that if their Case already has front faced USB 3.0 ports like the one I got does.

    I'll have to look at the connections again, but can you use that same cable to plug into the board on the inside or do those case USB 3.0 ports have to be connected to the rear of the board? Personally I think the drive bay including just 2 USB ports looks kind of lame and I'd much, much rather use the ports on my case....even if that means running a cable out the back of the case, (nobody looks at the back anyway).
  • Crashman
    Front-panel USB 3.0 header:

    First introduced by ASRock in response to a request by Tom's Hardware, using an Intel design according to ASRock's engineers.
  • Vatharian
    @stasdm - Dual core Atoms are strangely rare. To be honest their performance is an insult considering the price you pay for them. For compact PC in ITX case, sure, but SFF is pricey, I'd say, comparable to far-faster normal microATX format. Also very simple, common situation: I want to use budget mobo, decent CPU (not the slowest one), and I'd like to have TV tuner card, some SB Audigy2 lying around, (or ASUS Xonar :P ), still better than the dreaded Realtek. Maybe some used PCIe graphics, so my daughter can play Sims 3 without a problem. So there is a problem, because I do not know any not-SFF Atom board. It's either PCIe or PCI, and only single slot. If you want a typing machine, go buy used PC for 40$ or even less.