Sandy Bridge, Part 2: Intel DH67BL & Asus P8H67-M EVO H67 Motherboards

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Sandy Bridge, Part 2: Intel DH67BL & Asus P8H67-M EVO H67 Motherboards

January 9, 2010 by Lawrence Lee

Product
Intel DH67BL
LGA1155 microATX Motherboard
Asus P8H67-M EVO LGA1155 microATX Motherboard
Manufacturer
Intel Asus
Street Price
US$100 US$130~$140

A few eyebrows were raised when ASRock recently announced their P67 Transformer motherboard, which uses the P67 chipset for Sandy Bridge but on the older LGA1156 platform. Putting the question aside of who would actually want such a thing, its mere existence and how quickly it took them to engineer this hybrid suggests that the two sockets and the supported chipsets aren't that fundamentally different. Similarly, the two consumer Sandy Bridge chipsets, H67 and P67, are technically similar in countless ways, yet offer two very different experiences. This is the first time in recent memory that two desktop chipsets for the same socket from the same company have been separated in such a distinct way.


H67 chipset block diagram.

The main differences between H67 and P67 can be boiled down into three parts:

  • Display outputs: While all the new Sandy Bridge CPUs have an integrated graphics chip, P67 boards don't have any video outputs. To use GMA HD 2000/3000 graphics and the associated features, H67 is the way to go.
  • Overclocking: Multiplier adjustment is off the table for H67. P67 boards are allowed to increase the multiplier by 4 for TurboBoost-enabled processors (not including the increase provided by TurboBoost itself). For "K" series processors, there is no limit. Increasing the base clock frequency (100 MHz) is not recommended as it is tied to other interfaces (such as it was in the olden days) including PCI Express and SATA. This effectively neuters H67 for overclocking.
  • PCI Express lanes: The 16 PCI Express lanes provided by the processor do not split up into 8/8 for use with dual video cards on H67. The chipset offers the same number of lanes as P67, but there simply aren't enough to go around, so CrossFireX capable H67 boards have a crippled second PCI-E 16x slot operating at only 4x.

Enthusiasts, power users, and gamers will gravitate twoward P67, paying a premium for its extra potential. Everyone else who wants to build a Sandy Bridge system are left with the more limited H67 chipset. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but we don't appreciate these purely artificial divisions, fabricated to segregate the market. There doesn't appear to be a technical reason why display outputs cannot be added to P67 or why multiplier overclocking capability cannot be added to H67. For the dregs relegated to H67, we have a pair of contenders to look at today. One is a budget board from Intel, the other is a more upscale model from Asus.

Intel DH67BL

The Intel DH67BL has a street price of about US$100, making it one of the more affordable H67 boards on the market. It is not however the prototypical minimalist Intel motherboard. Despite the budget price, it has a few optional features not native to the chipset. It has an add-on USB 3.0 controller, RAID support, and an eSATA port.


The DH67BL.

Our sample did not ship in a retail box, but given our past experience we would expect minimum accessories, just a few SATA cables, a driver disc and an I/O shield.

Intel DH67BL: Specifications
(from the product web page)
Form factor MicroATX
AA# (Altered Assembly) G10189-XXX
BIOS ID string BLH6710H.86A
Processor At product launch, this desktop board supports: * Intel® Core™ i7 processor series in an LGA1155 socket
* Intel® Core™ i5 processor series in an LGA1155 socket
Memory * Four 240-pin DDR3 SDRAM Dual Inline Memory Module (DIMM) sockets
* Support for DDR3 1333/1066 MHz DIMMs
* Support up to 32 GB? of system memory
Chipset * Intel® H67 Express ChipsetIntel® Rapid Storage Technology (Intel® RST) for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10
Graphics DVI-I and HDMI* connectors for processors with Intel® HD Graphics
Audio Intel® High Definition Audio subsystem in the following configuration: * 10-channel (7.1+ 2 independent multi-streaming) audio subsystem using the Realtek ALC892 audio codec
* Five analog audio ports and one optical S/PDIF out port
* Internal S/PDIF header and front panel audio header
LAN support Gigabit (10/100/1000 Mb/s) LAN subsystem using the Intel® 82579V Gigabit Ethernet Controller
Peripheral interfaces * Two Serial ATA 6.0 Gb/s ports
* Three Serial ATA 3.0 Gb/s ports, with one port compatible with eSATA extension
* One eSATA 3.0 Gb/s port
* Two USB 3.0 ports
* Fourteen USB 2.0 ports, six back panel ports and eight additional ports via four internal headers
Expansion capabilities * One PCI Express 2.0 x 16 discrete graphics card connector
* Two PCI Express 2.0 x 1 connectors
* One PCI Conventional bus connector

Asus P8H67-M EVO

Asus has seven boards in its P8H67 line, with the P8H67-M EVO being one of the more high-end variants. Compared to the Intel DH67BL, it has one more SATA port, FireWire, and CrossFireX support (though the second slot operates at 4x rather than 16x or 8x). It also has overclocking friendly features both in their new EFI BIOS (which has a GUI) and in their desktop AI Suite utility, but much of its capability is held back by the limitations of the H67 chipset.


The box.


Included accessories.

The package is fairly complete with front panel and USB Q-Connectors as well as snazzy-looking SATA cables for all six ports in the box. It even has a USB/eSATA combination breakout panel, a rarity for a sub-$150 Intel-based motherboard.

Asus P8H67-M EVO: Specifications
(from the product web page)
CPU Intel® Socket 1155 for Intel® 2nd Generation Core™ i7 Processor/Core™ i5 Processor/Core™ i3 Processor/
Support Intel® 32nm CPU
Supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
Chipset Intel® H67 Express Chipset
Memory 4 x DIMM, Max. 32 GB, DDR3 1333/1066 Non-ECC,Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel memory architecture
Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
Expansion Slots 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 [Blue] (at x16 mode)
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 [Black] (at x4 mode, compatible with PCIe x1, x2 and x4 devices)
1 x PCIe 2.0 x1
1 x PCI
VGA Multi-VGA output support: DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI-D, RGB port
Supports DisplayPort with max. resolution 2560x1600@60Hz
Supports HDMI with max. resolution 1920 x 1200@60Hz
Supports DVI with max. resolution 1920 x 1200@60Hz
Supports RGB with max. resolution 2048 x 1536@75Hz
Maximum shared memory of 1748 MB
Multi-GPU Support Supports ATI® Quad-GPU CrossFireX™ Technology
Storage Intel® H67 Express Chipset
2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports (gray)
4 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s ports (blue)
Intel Rapid Storage Technology Support RAID 0,1,5,10
Marvell 88SE6111
1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 for up to 2 PATA devices
1 x External SATA 3Gb/s port (Power eSATA on-the-go)
LAN Realtek® 8111E Gigabit LAN controller
Audio Realtek® ALC892 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
- BD Audio Layer Content Protection
- Supports Jack-Detection, Multi-streaming and Front Panel Jack-Retasking
- Optical S/PDIF out port at back I/O
IEEE 1394 VIA® 6315N controller supports 2 x 1394a port(s) (one at mid-board; one at back panel)
USB ASMedia USB 3.0 controller
- 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports at back panel (blue)
Intel® H67 Express Chipset
- 12 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (8 ports at mid-board, 4 ports at back panel)
ASUS Unique Features ASUS TurboV EVO
ASUS Power Design
ASUS EPU
ASUS Exclusive Features
ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution
ASUS EZ DIY
ASUS Q-Design
Overclocking Features Precision Tweaker 2
SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection)
Overclocking Protection
Back Panel I/O Ports 1 x PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse Combo port
1 x DVI
1 x D-Sub
1 x DisplayPort
1 x HDMI
1 x Power eSATA
1 x IEEE 1394a
1 x LAN(RJ45) port(s)
2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (blue)
4 x USB 2.0/1.1
1 x S/PDIF Out (Optical)
8 -Channel Audio I/O
Internal I/O Connectors 4 x USB connectors support additional 8 USB ports
1 x MemOK! Button
1 x GPU Boost switch
1 x IDE connector
1 x TPM connector
2 x SATA 6.0Gb/s connectors (gray)
4 x SATA 3.0Gb/s connectors (blue)
1 x IEEE 1394a connector
1 x CPU Fan connector(s)
1 x Chassis Fan connector(s)
1 x Power Fan connector(s)
1 x EPU switch
1 x S/PDIF Out connector
24-pin ATX Power connector
8-pin ATX 12V Power connector
1 x COM port connector
Front panel audio connector
System Panel (Q-Connector)
1 x Clear CMOS jumper
BIOS 32 Mb Flash ROM , EFI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.5, ACPI 2.0a, Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 2, ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
Manageability WfM 2.0,DMI 2.0,WOL by PME,WOR by PME,PXE
Accessories User's manual
1 x I/O Shield
1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
2 x SATA 3.0Gb/s cables
2 x SATA 6.0Gb/s cables
2 in 1 Q-connector
1 x 2-port USB and eSATA module
Support Disc Drivers
Anti-virus software (OEM version)
ASUS Update
ASUS Utilities
Ai Charger+
Form Factor uATX Form Factor
9.6 inch x 9.6 inch ( 24.4 cm x 24.4 cm )


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