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

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COOLING

To test the boards' heatsinks, we stressed the CPU for 15~20 minutes with Prime95. The only extra cooling was provided by a Scythe Kabuto heatsink with its stock fan spinning at approximately 800RPM. Temperatures of the boards' chipset and VRM heatsinks (if applicable) were recording using a spot thermometer. The highest temperatures were taken for comparison.

At stock settings, both boards had comparable VRM cooling, but the Intel board's PCH heatsink, which has much more surface area than its Gigabyte counterpart, was cooler by 7°C. Overclocked, Gigabyte's heatpipe VRM cooler pulled slightly ahead, while PCH cooling remained stagnant. Multiplier overclocking places no additional stress on the chipset.

FINAL THOUGHTS

On paper, there isn't much to differentiate the Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4 from the Intel DP67BG. The price is similar and while the features are slightly different, they are more or less comparable. The P67A-UD4 has but two advantages in this department: a pair of 6 Gbps eSATA ports (compared to Intel's single 3 Gbps connector) and an internal USB 3.0 header. Meanwhile the DP67BG boasts FireWire and an Intel gigabit ethernet controller rather than Realtek.

In every criterion we tested for however, the DP67BG either beat the P67A-UD4 or at worst, tied it. The cooling on both boards was good as were the voltage ranges in the UEFI/BIOS. If you look beyond that, the Intel board pulls way ahead. The DP67BG is more energy efficient. Its fan control system is more extensive and versatile. It has a UEFI rather than a BIOS (though Gigabyte claims they will remedy this in the near future). Intel also provided a barrage of handy extras including physical power/reset buttons, a UEFI recovery switch on the back panel, and an LED POST code display. It even has more (and actually useful) temperature sensors.

The Gigabyte P67A-UD4's BIOS and included software UI is indicative of our general impression of the board: It feels like yesterday's model. It's not a bad product by any stretch of the imagination, but it lacks the polish and extras we expect from an enthusiast motherboard that retails for close US$200. Its deficiencies are particularly noticeable when put head to head with a board like the Intel DP67BG which gets high marks all around.

Our thanks to Gigabyte and Intel for the GA-P67A-UD4 and DP67BG motherboard samples.

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Articles of Related Interest
Sandy Bridge, Part 2: Intel DH67BL & Asus P8H67-M EVO H67 Motherboards
Sandy Bridge, Part 1: Intel GMA HD 3000/2000 Graphics [Updated: 05 January]
Gigabyte H55N-USB3: De Facto LGA1156 Mini-ITX Board?
Zotac H55-ITX-C-E: Stacked LGA1156 Mini-ITX Motherboard
AMD's 890GX Chipset in Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H
Asus P7H55D-M EVO LGA1156 microATX Motherboard

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