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P67 Motherboard Roundup: Nine $150-200 Boards

The Future Of Mid-Priced Performance

Before you buy a new Sandy Bridge-based platform, check out the recent news about Intel's recall of its Cougar Point chipsets.

Right now, anyone who just bought anything with an LGA 1156 interface is probably kicking themselves. Intel’s new Core i3/i5/i7-2000-series processors have the highest per clock, per-core performance we’ve ever seen. And better yet, the unlocked K-series models support the highest air-cooled overclocks we’ve ever seen. Within “normal” cooling limits, these processors even stand a chance of outgunning Intel’s ultra-expensive six-core chips, and the performance picture isn't even a contest in games that cannot use more than four cores.

The need for a new motherboard might be a slap in the face for anyone who sank significant cash into an LGA 1156-based platform thinking it might be upgradable for a while. But those who chose to wait, holding on to an older Core 2 Quad or a slower Phenom II, did so for good reason.

Nine products will make this a long review, so rather than discuss those things already covered by Chris and Patrick, let's jump straight to a features comparison.

Motherboard Features
ASRock P67 Extreme4Asus P8P67 ProBiostar TP67XE
PCB Revision1.071.015.0
ChipsetIntel P67 ExpressIntel P67 ExpressIntel P67 Express
Voltage RegulatorTen PhasesTwelve PhasesTen Phases
BIOSM1.20A (12/14/2010)0803 (11/23/2010)A2 (11/12/2010)
100.0 MHz BCLK100.4 MHz (+0.4%)100.0 MHz (+0.0%)100.1 (+0.1%)
Clock GeneratorP67 IntegratedP67 IntegratedP67 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/x42/02/0 (Shared with x4)2/0
Legacy PCI222
USB 2.03 (6-ports)3 (6-ports)3 (6-ports)
USB 3.01 (2-ports)1 (2-ports)None
IEEE-1394111
Serial Port1None1
Parallel PortNoneNoneNone
FloppyYesNoNo
Ultra-ATA 133NoneNoneNone
SATA 3.0 Gb/s443
SATA 6.0 Gb/s442
4-Pin Fan221
3-Pin Fan422
FP-AudioYesYesYes
CD-AudioNoNoNo
S/PDIF I/OOutput OnlyOutput OnlyOutput Only
Power ButtonYesNoYes
Reset ButtonYesNoYes
CLR_CMOS ButtonJumper OnlyJumper OnlyJumper Only
Diagnostics PanelNumericPass/Fail LEDsNumeric
I/O Panel Connectors
P/S 2221
USB 2.0666
USB 3.0222
IEEE-1394111
NetworkSingleSingleSingle
eSATA121
CLR_CMOS ButtonYesNoNo
Digital Audio OutOptical + CoaxialOptical + CoaxialOptical + Coaxial
Digital Audio InNoneNoneNone
Analog Audio666
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 3 x SATA 3Gb/s 1 x eSATA 3Gb/s
Chipset RAID Modes0, 1, 5, 100, 1, 5, 100, 1, 5, 10
Add-In SATAMarvell 9120 PCIe 1 x SATA 6Gb/s 1 x SATA/eSATA sharedMarvell 9120 PCIe 2 x SATA 6Gb/sJMicron JMB362 2 x eSATA 3Gb/sNone
Add-In Ultra ATANoneNoneNone
USB 3.02 x EtronTech EJ168A2 x NEC D720200F11 x NEC D720200F1
IEEE-1394VT6315N PCIe 2 x 400 Mb/sVT6308P PCI 2 x 400 Mb/sVT6315N PCIe 2 x 400 Mb/s
Gigabit Ethernet
Primary LANRTL8111E PCIeIntel WG82579V PHYRTL8111DL PCIe
Secondary LANNoneNoneNone
Audio
HD Audio CodecALC892ALC892ALC892
DDL/DTS ConnectNoneNoneNone
Motherboard Features
ECS P67H2-A2Foxconn P67A-SGigabyte P67A-UD4
PCB Revision1.01.01.0
ChipsetIntel P67 ExpressIntel P67 ExpressIntel P67 Express
Voltage RegulatorNine PhasesFour Phases14 Phases
BIOS101022BS (10/22/2010)AF46F1016 (11/22/2010)F2 (10/22/2010)
100.0 MHz BCLK99.8 (-0.2%)99.8 (-0.2%)99.8 (-0.2%)
Clock GeneratorP67 IntegratedP67 IntegratedP67 Integrated
Internal Interfaces
PCIe x162 (x16/x0 or x8/x8)2 (x16/x0 or x8/x8)2 (x16/x0 or x8/x8)
PCIe x1/x41/03/03/0
Legacy PCI222
USB 2.03 (6-ports)3 (6-ports)3 (6-ports)
USB 3.01 (2-ports)None1 (2-ports)
IEEE-1394NoneNoneNone
Serial Port111
Parallel PortNoneNoneNone
FloppyNoNoNo
Ultra-ATA 133None1 (2-drives)None
SATA 3.0 Gb/s444
SATA 6.0 Gb/s422
4-Pin Fan132
3-Pin Fan202
FP-AudioYesYesYes
CD-AudioNoNoNo
S/PDIF I/OOutput OnlyNoOutput Only
Power ButtonYesYesNo
Reset ButtonYesYesNo
CLR_CMOS ButtonJumper OnlyJumper OnlyJumper Only
Diagnostics PanelNumericNumericNone
I/O Panel Connectors
P/S 2111
USB 2.0868
USB 3.0222
IEEE-1394NoneNoneNone
NetworkDual (w/Teaming)SingleSingle
eSATA222
CLR_CMOS ButtonYesNoNo
Digital Audio OutOpticalOptical + CoaxialOptical + Coaxial
Digital Audio InNoneNoneNone
Analog Audio566
Other DevicesNoneNoneNone
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 SATA2 x Marvell 9128 PCIe 2 x SATA 6Gb/s 2 x eSATA 6Gb/s 2 x RAID 0, 1Marvell 6121 PCIe 2 x eSATA 3Gb/sMarvell 9128 PCIe 2 x eSATA 6Gb/s 2 x RAID 0, 1
Add-In Ultra ATANoneMarvell 6121 PCIeNone
USB 3.02 x EtronTech EJ168A1 x NEC D720200F12 x NEC D720200F1
IEEE-1394NoneNoneNone
Gigabit Ethernet
Primary LANRTL8111E PCIeRTL8111E PCIeRTL8111E PCIe
Secondary LANRTL8111E PCIeNoneNone
Audio
HD Audio CodecALC892ALC888SALC892
DDL/DTS ConnectNoneNoneDolby Digital Live
Motherboard Features
Intel DP67BGJetway HI08MSI P67A-GD65
PCB Revision010.12.0
NorthbridgeIntel P67 ExpressIntel P67 ExpressIntel P67 Express
Voltage RegulatorEight Phases14 PhasesEight Phases
BIOS1780 (11/29/2010)T07 (11/30/2010)1.5B2
100.0 MHz BCLK99.8 MHz (-0.20%)99.8 MHz (-0.20%)99.8 MHz (-0.20%)
Clock GeneratorP67 IntegratedP67 IntegratedP67 Integrated
Internal Interfaces
PCIe  x162 (x16/x0 or x8/x8)3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)2 (x16/x0 or x8/x8)
PCIe x1/x43/01/03/0
Legacy PCI222
USB 2.03 (6-ports)2 (4-ports)1 (2-ports)
USB 3.0NoneNone1 (2-ports)
IEEE-13941None1
Serial PortNone11
Parallel PortNone1None
FloppyNoNoNo
Ultra-ATA 133NoneNoneNone
SATA 3.0 Gb/s444
SATA 6.0 Gb/s224
4-Pin Fan411
3-Pin Fan014
FP-AudioYesYesYes
CD-AudioNoYesYes
S/PDIF I/OOutput OnlyOutput OnlyOutput Only
Power ButtonYesYesYes
Reset ButtonYesYesYes
CLR_CMOS ButtonConfig Mode JumperJumper OnlyJumper Only
Diagnostics PanelNumericNumericNone
I/O Panel Connectors
P/S 2None11
USB 2.0888
USB 3.0222
IEEE-13941None1
NetworkSingleSingleSingle
eSATA1None2
CLR_CMOS ButtonBack To BIOSYesYes
Digital Audio OutOpticalOptical + CoaxialOptical + Coaxial
Digital Audio InNoneNoneNone
Analog Audio566
Other DevicesNoneNoneNone
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 6111 PCIe 1 x eSATA 3Gb/sNoneMarvell 9128 PCIe 2 x SATA 6Gb/s (RAID)JMicron JMB362 PCIe 2 x eSATA 3Gb/s
Add-In Ultra ATANoneNoneNone
USB 3.0NEC D720200F1ASMedia ASM10422 x NEC D720200F1
IEEE-1394TSB43AB22A PCI 2 x 400 Mb/sNoneVIA VT6308P PCI 2 x 400 Mb/s
Gigabit Ethernet
Primary LANIntel WG82579V PHYIntel WG82579LM PHYRTL8111E PCIe
Secondary LANNoneNoneNone
Audio
HD Audio CodecRealtek ALC892ALC888Realtek ALC892
DDL/DTS ConnectUnspecifiedNoneNone
  • Tamz_msc
    Nice review.That ASUS came up with the highest CPU overclock wasn't surprising.
    Reply
  • reprotected
    I thought that the ECS looked pretty sick, and it did perform alright. But unfortunately, it wasn't the best.
    Reply
  • 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!
    Reply
  • Tamz_msc
    When will we see an overclocking article on these CPUs?
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • VVV850
    Would have been good to know the bios version for the tested motherboards. Sorry if I double posted.
    Reply
  • flabbergasted
    I'm going for the ASrock because I can use my socket 775 aftermarket cooler with it.
    Reply
  • VVV850
    I was wrong. The BIOS version is posted.
    Reply
  • 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.

    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply