Sandy Bridge, Part 5: Asus P8P67 and P8P67 Pro Motherboards

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Asus P8P67 & P8P67 Pro

January 31, 2011 by Lawrence Lee

Asus P8P67 LGA1155 ATX Motherboard Asus P8P67 Pro LGA1155 ATX Motherboard
Street Price
US$160 US$190

Sandy Bridge chips have quickly become the CPUs of choice thanks to their superb performance and energy efficiency. For enthusiasts, the best windfall from Intel's launch has been the new "K" series CPUs which feature unlocked multipliers for almost effortless overclocking. Best of all, these chips do not demand much of a price premium over the rest of the lineup, although they require a more expensive P67 chipset motherboard to unleash their full potential. So far we've looked at such boards from Intel and Gigabyte boards recently, and now it is Asus' turn on our test bench.

Asus currently has seven boards in their mainstream P67 lineup, all graced with a variant of the model number "P8P67". They support CrossFireX (to varying degrees), have an EFI BIOS, the Asus EPU energy saving chip, and the new version of the Asus AI Suite utility. The top four boards have advanced features including a digital power regulation scheme, USB 3.0, and something you won't find on the vast majority of boards: Bluetooth connectivity.

The DIGI+VRM feature is a new digital voltage regulation system that supposedly makes power delivery to the CPU faster, more accurate, with higher energy efficiency and less heat. An analog controller, in contrast, has to convert PWM signals from the processor, causing a delay and power transfer loss. In theory this reduces the differences between the voltage the motherboard is supposed to give the CPU and how much it actually ends up delivering, as well as minimizing fluctuations. This should make for a better overclocking experience in particular, one of the main benefits of the P67 chipset.

Asus has provided us with a pair of boards to look at, the P8P67, a midrange offering retailing for approximately US$160, and a more premium model, the US$190 P8P67 Pro. The P8P67 is an ATX board with DIGI+VRM, a whopping eight SATA ports (four of the 6Gbps variety), Bluetooth, internal/rear USB 3.0, FireWire and eSATA via an included adapter bracket. It also has two PCI-E 16x slots, but they run at 16x/4x which isn't ideal for CrossFire/SLI. The Pro version is better in this regard, running its slots at 8x/8x, and its other advantages are a dedicated JMicron eSATA controller, an Intel gigabit ethernet controller (rather than Realtek) and FireWire.

The P8P67 and P8P67 Pro boxes.

P8P67 Pro accessories.

The P8P67 Pro ships with four SATA cables, a USB/eSATA bracket, and CrossFire bridge along with the usual assortment of documentation, drivers, and software. The P8P67 comes with the same package but without the CrossFire connector.

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