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

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

January 16, 2011 by Lawrence Lee

Product
Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4 LGA1155 ATX Motherboard Intel DP67BG LGA1155 ATX Motherboard
Manufacturer
Gigabyte Intel
Street Price
US$190 US$180

For users looking to dip their toes in the Sandy Bridge waters, Intel's H67 chipset is the cost-effective choice, and the only option available currently if you want to use Intel's new integrated graphics chip. If on the other hand you want to run off the diving board and do a summersault or cannonball splash, the P67 chipset is what you need. It's more expensive, yes, but if performance and/or gaming prowess is the goal, there is no alternative for the moment.

So what's so great about P67? Well for one, it offers the only effective way to overclock these new CPUs, allowing enthusiasts to increase the multiplier by 4 above what Turbo Boost delivers (Turbo Boost is a requirement). Take for example, the Core i5-2500, which runs at 3.3 GHz but speeds up to 3.7 GHz (100 MHz x 37) with Turbo Boost when only a single core is in use. On a P67 board, the clock speed can be pushed up to 4.1 GHz (100 MHz x 37+4). Those truly interested in getting high clock speeds however will opt for the "K" series processors which are allowed to go well beyond 5 GHz. In addition, P67 allows manufacturers to divvy up the 16 PCI Express lanes provided by the processor evenly for dual graphics cards. An 8x/8x CrossFire/SLI configuration is far preferable to the 16x/4x array offered by H67 boards.


P67 chipset block diagram.

The only thing it loses compared to H67 is support for Intel's GMA HD 2000/3000 graphics which are included in each and every LGA1155 CPU. Compared to P55 for LGA1156, the P67 chipset's PCI Express lanes are fully compliant with the 2.0 standard, delivering twice as much bandwidth, giving a performance boost to connected peripherals like USB 3.0 and third party SATA controllers. In addition, both P67 and H67 support the SATA 6 Gbps standard, albeit only for two ports, and neither have native support for PCI, a standard that Intel is quietly shoving out the door.

We have a pair of P67 boards up for scrutiny, one from Gigabyte and one from Intel, retailing for just under US$200. This puts them in the upper middle class of P67 boards.

Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4

Priced at about US$190, the Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4 has premium features like a heatpipe VRM cooler, a sophisticated power phase design (supposedly 12+2), and an additional Marvell SATA controller that provides a pair of eSATA 6 Gbps ports. However, they did a cut a couple of corners by omitting FireWire and utilizing a Realtek gigabit ethernet controller rather than the more expensive but efficient Intel option.


The box.


Included accessories.

The P67A-UD4 ships with four SATA cables and CrossFire bridge along with the usual assortment of documentation, drivers, and software.

Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4: Specifications
(from the product web page)
CPU 1. Support for Intel® Core™ i7 processors/Intel® Core™ i5 processors/ Intel® Core™ i3 processors/Intel® Pentium® processors/Intel® Celeron® processors in the LGA1155 package (Go to GIGABYTE's website for the latest CPU support list.)
2. L3 cache varies with CPU
Chipset 1. Intel® P67 Express Chipset
Memory 1. 4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory
* Due to Windows 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than 4 GB.
2. Dual channel memory architecture
3. Support for DDR3 2133/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules
4. Support for non-ECC memory modules
5. Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules(Go to GIGABYTE's website for the latest supported memory speeds and memory modules.)
Audio 1. Realtek ALC892 codec
2. High Definition Audio
3. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
4. Support for Dolby® Home Theater
5. Support for S/PDIF Out
LAN 1. 1 x Realtek RTL8111E chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
Expansion Slots 1. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)
* For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16 slot.
2. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8) * The PCIEX8 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16 slot. When the PCIEX8 slot is populated, the PCIEX16 slot will operate at up to x8 mode.
3. 3 x PCI Express x1 slots
(All PCI Express slots conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
4. 2 x PCI slots
Multi-Graphics Technology 1. Support for ATI CrossFireX™/NVIDIA SLI technology
* The PCIEX16 slot operates at up to x8 mode when ATI CrossFireX™ is enabled.
Storage Interface Chipset: 1. 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3_0, SATA3_1) supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
2. 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (SATA2_2, SATA2_3, SATA2_4, SATA2_5) supporting up to 4 SATA 3Gb/s devices
3. Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
* When a RAID set is built across the SATA 6Gb/s and SATA 3Gb/s channels, the system performance of the RAID set may vary depending on the devices being connected.Marvell 88SE9128 chip: 1. 2 x eSATA 6Gb/s connectors on the back panel supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
2. Support for SATA RAID 0 and RAID 1
USB Chipset: 1. Up to 14 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (8 on the back panel, 6 via the USB brackets connected to the internal USB headers)2 x Renesas D720200 chips: 1. Up to 4 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (2 on the back panel, 2 via the USB brackets connected to the internal USB headers)
Internal I/O Connectors 1. 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
2. 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
3. 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
4. 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
5. 1 x CPU fan header
6. 2 x system fan headers
7. 1 x power fan header
8. 1 x front panel header
9. 1 x front panel audio header
10. 1 x S/PDIF Out header
11. 3 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
12. 1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header
13. 1 x serial port header
14. 1 x clearing CMOS jumper
Back Panel Connectors 1. 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
2. 1 x coaxial S/PDIF Out connector
3. 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
4. 8 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
5. 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
6. 2 x eSATA 6Gb/s ports
7. 1 x RJ-45 port
8. 6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out/Rear Speaker Out/ Side Speaker Out/Line In/Line Out/Microphone)
I/O Controller 1. iTE IT8728 chip
H/W Monitoring 1. System voltage detection
2. CPU/System temperature detection
3. CPU/System/Power fan speed detection
4. CPU overheating warning
5. CPU/System/Power fan fail warning
6. CPU/System fan speed control
*Whether the CPU/system fan speed control function is supported will depend on the CPU/system cooler you install.
BIOS 1. 2 x 32 Mbit flash
2. Use of licensed AWARD BIOS
3. Support for DualBIOS™
4. PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.4, ACPI 1.0b
Unique Features 1. Support for @BIOS
2. Support for Q-Flash
3. Support for Xpress BIOS Rescue
4. Support for Download Center
5. Support for Xpress Install
6. Support for Xpress Recovery2
7. Support for EasyTune
* Available functions in EasyTune may differ by motherboard model.
8. Support for Dynamic Energy Saver™ 2
9. Support for Smart 6™
10. Support for Auto Green
11. Support for eXtreme Hard Drive (X.H.D)
12. Support for ON/OFF Charge
13. Support for Cloud OC
14. Support for Q-Share
Bundle Software 1. Norton Internet Security (OEM version)
Operating System 1. Support for Microsoft® Windows® 7/Vista/XP
Form Factor 1. ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm
Remark 1. Due to different Linux support condition provided by chipset vendors, please download Linux driver from chipset vendors' website or 3rd party website.
2. Most hardware/software vendors no longer offer support for Win9X/ME/2000/XP SP1/SP2. If drivers are available from the vendors, we will update them on the GIGABYTE website.

Intel DP67BG

The Intel's DP67BG is from their Extreme series of motherboards which have broken the old stereotype of the stuffy locked down utilitarian Intel motherboard. Catering to enthusiasts, the DP67BG is equipped with several sets of LEDs, physical power and reset buttons, and even a backup UEFI switch on the back panel. Compared to the P67A-UD4, it has a less elaborate cooling system, only one eSATA 3 Gbps port, but includes an Intel gigabit LAN controller and FireWire. It's also a cheaper board by about US$10.


The DP67BG.

Our sample did not ship in a retail box, but product images at Newegg show six SATA cables, a CrossFire bridge and an unidentified USB accessory.

Intel DP67BG: Specifications
(from the product web page)
Form factor ATX
AA# (Altered Assembly) G10491-XXX
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 up to 32 GB? of system memory
* Support for DDR3 1600/1333/1066 MHz DIMMs
Chipset * Intel® P67 Express Chipset * Intel® Rapid Storage Technology for RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10
Audio Intel® High Definition Audio? subsystem in the following configuration: * 10-channel (7.1+ 2 independent multi-streaming) audio subsystem with six analog audio outputs w/optical S/PDIF out port
LAN support Gigabit (10/100/1000 Mb/s) LAN subsystem using the Intel® 82579V Gigabit Ethernet Controller
Peripheral interfaces * Two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports
* Fourteen USB 2.0 ports
* Two Serial ATA 6.0 Gb/s ports
* Four Serial ATA 3.0 Gb/s ports, one eSATA* ext. port
* One IEEE 1394a header
Expansion capabilities * One PCI Express* 2.0 x 16 bus add-in card connector or switchable to 2x8 PCIe 2.0 connectors
* Three PCI Express 2.0 x 1 connectors
* Two PCI Conventional bus connectors


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