Sandy Bridge, Part 3: Gigabyte P67A-UD4 & Intel DP67BG P67 Motherboards

CPUs|Motherboards
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SOFTWARE

Gigabyte EasyTune6

Gigabyte's EasyTune utility has been in its sixth iteration for what seems like forever It offers the usual assortment of voltage/frequency tweaks, fan control settings and monitoring all in an outdated UI. It looks infinitely ugly compared to Asus' new souped-up version of AI Suite.


Gigabyte EasyTune6: fan and temperature monitoring.


Gigabyte EasyTune6: Smart Fan "Advanced" settings.

Like most such utilities, changes to frequency and voltage require a reboot making it redundant unless you can't navigate through a BIOS menu. The only halfway decent function was the Smart Fan feature that allows the fan speed curve to be adjusted on the fly.

Intel Extreme Tuning Utility & Desktop Utilities

As an enthusiast board, Intel's Extreme Tuning Utility is included with the DP67BG. Like the UEFI, it offers a wide range of settings both basic and intricate.


Intel's Extreme Tuning Utility.


Intel Desktop Utilities: Hardware Monitor screen.

Overall it's an impressively capable utility with every setting you can imagine with a sleek blue/black color scheme. It does give you a lot more data than you might be looking for, but we would rather have too much information than too little. It reminds us a lot of AMD's Overdrive utility. The board also has access the Intel Desktop Utility which makes for an okay monitoring tool; it's duller and more straightforward.

FAN CONTROL

To test each board's fan control, we used connected a variety of fans to all the fan headers, put the respective systems on load and monitored the fan speeds and CPU temperatures.

Gigabyte P67A-UD4

On the P67A-UD4, the two 3-pin headers ran their fans at full speed. One of the 4-pin headers (SYS_FAN2) kept its fan at a low steady speed, approximately equivalent to 6V for both DC and PWM fans. The 4-pin CPU_FAN header was the only one that active control, and behaved very closely to the curve defined by EasyTune.


Gigabyte P67A-UD4: SpeedFan screen with correlations entered.

Gigabyte boards are usually very good when it comes to compatibility with our favorite fan control software, SpeedFan, but in this case the P67A-UD4 turned out to be a dud as none of the speed controls worked. As for temperature sensors, SpeedFan had two which correlated to the CPU and System temperatures reported by EasyTune, though we couldn't identify where the System sensor was located. We put the system on load and varied the position of a fan blowing over the board, but the value stayed almost unchanged throughout testing.

Intel DP67BG

To our delight all four fan headers on the Intel board were controlled, whether they were 3-pin or 4-pin PWM models, and they all followed the minimum speed set in the UEFI. However, only the CPU fan header varied in speed, ramping up slowly when the CPU temperature hit 40°C (the desired temperature was set to 50°C) and topping out when it reached the prescribed maximum of 65°C. The maximum UEFI fan speed settings for the other three fans did absolutely nothing; they all stayed at low speed regardless of temperature.


Intel DP67BG: SpeedFan screen with correlations inputted.

SpeedFan allowed for full control of three of the fans, with the CPU fan header left to automated control. The three temperature sensors correlated to those found in the Intel Desktop Utility, however, what Intel refers to as "Memory DIMM" we determined actually to be related to the temperature of the VRMs near the rear panel. Similarly, the sensor giving the "Voltage Regulator" temperature seemed to be located near the PCH heatsink. In any event, unlike most motherboards, these extra sensors actually give us information about the thermal situation of two different locations on the board.



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