LGA 1156 On P67? Meet The P67 Transformer
In an effort to produce the most cost-efficient, space-efficient, and energy-efficient design possible, Intel decided to do away with the clock generator normally found as a separate motherboard IC and instead integrate it into the chipset. This has created a conundrum for low-cost overclocking enthusiasts because the P67’s clock generator cannot “unlock” the ratios for other devices, such as its USB 2.0 and SATA 6Gb/s controllers. As a result, adjusting the BCLK overclocks a number of other subsystems that simply don't like to be overclocked. For more on overclocking Sandy Bridge, check out Intel’s Second-Gen Core CPUs: The Sandy Bridge Review.
Anyone interested in a Sandy Bridge-based CPU is now forced to pay a premium on unlocked Extreme Edition or K-series CPUs in order to achieve anything more than the slightest clock increase. But other than the piggybacked CPU clock signal, the P67’s DMI interface is unchanged from that of its P55 predecessor.
ASRock considered the fact that the same signal was being used and went to work adding a P67 PCH to a typical P55 motherboard component set. For fans of the ASRock brand, the end result looks strikingly familiar.
When it comes to combining different generations of hardware, ASRock is usually first to show up and last to leave. The same company that beat its competitors to the punch with USB 3.0 front-panel support has finally abandoned Windows XP users by omitting the floppy header (which eases the installation of AHCI drivers with the OS). And yet keeps its legacy Ultra ATA header. I’m sure we have an LS-120 drive for that somewhere…
Most painfully missing from the P67 Transformer is support for any secondary PCIe x16 graphics card in SLI or CrossFire mode. In place of that long slot is ASMedia’s ASM1083 PCIe to legacy PCI connector because--get this--Intel finally dropped PCI support from P67 Express. These features combine with a set of mounting holes for third-party LGA 775 coolers to make upgrades easy for owners of older systems, so long as they don’t expect their legacy OS to include AHCI or RAID drivers. For Windows XP die-hards, slipstreaming the P67’s controller drivers onto a copy of the installation CD is still an option.