Intel P67 Motherboard 5-Way Shootout

By on April 15, 2011, 6:23 AM
Chipset delays aside, Sandy Bridge has been one of the most anticipated and impressive releases we've seen from Intel in recent years. The first wave of processors have demonstrated superior efficiency as they swept aside considerably more expensive processors of previous generations, while consuming even less power. The Core i5 2500K and Core i7 2600K models have also delivered effortless overclocking potential without going for excessive price premiums.

For those building a new high-end rig from the ground up, the LGA1155 platform looks like the way to go and there are already quite a few exciting new P67 motherboards to choose from. Read on as we check out the Asrock P67 Extreme6 ($210), Asus P8P67 Deluxe ($240), ECS P67H2-A2 ($195), Gigabyte P67A-UD7 ($330) and MSI P67A-GD55 ($160).

Read the complete review.



User Comments: 27

Got something to say? Post a comment
red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Great review Steve.

. The P67A-UD7 supports up to ten USB 3.0 ports and provides more than 16 PCIe lanes for graphics cards with its four full-length PCIe x16 slots.

While true, I think this was supposed to be:

....and provides an additional 16 PCIe lanes for graphic cards with its four full-length PCIe x16 slots.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

IMO, you're both wrong.

While true, I think this was supposed to be:

....and provides an additional 16 PCIe lanes for graphic cards with its four full-length PCIe x16 slots.

Although I can't for the life of me figure out why. It seems I'm used to the term PCIe only being used to socketed (ostensibly VGA) headers, and not internal controllers dedicated to other uses.

RaiDeR55 said:

So long story short on the ud7 PCI-e slots all run at Full 16x and not 1st 16x ,2nd 8x. 3rd 4x..For all 3 slots.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

IMO, you're both wrong.

Although I can't for the life of me figure out why. It seems I'm used to the term PCIe only being used to socketed (ostensibly VGA) headers, and not internal controllers dedicated to other uses.

you may be right<<<Billy Joel.....around 1981 I think. It's usually listed as something like "42 PCIE lanes 36 available (36) PCIE (6) USB etc...etc. In case, and on this board, the 4 PCIE headers run at 16x/16x/8x/8x, when occupied whereas most high end boards run 8x/8x/8x/8x, when all 4 are filled. so that would be an additional 16 lanes dedicated to the PCIE headers.

Raswan Raswan said:

Thanks for the review. Good stuff.

Guest said:

Why Asrock Fatality isn't?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

you may be right<<<Billy Joel.....around 1981 I think. It's usually listed as something like "42 PCIE lanes 36 available (36) PCIE (6) USB etc...etc. In case, and on this board, the 4 PCIE headers run at 16x/16x/8x/8x, when occupied whereas most high end boards run 8x/8x/8x/8x, when all 4 are filled. so that would be an additional 16 lanes dedicated to the PCIE headers.
Ah, a golden opportunity to show how little I know about video cards and processing.

Unless all four lanes are running at the same speed, information is being processed asymmetrically To the untrained mind, it seems like the X 16 lanes would just run out of information, and have to wait for the X 8 lanes to catch up. Is this another threading issue that would have to be addressed in programming, in order to take of the extra buss speed? So, how much is gained by a configuration such as you're describing? As you've pointed out, with multiple graphics cards arrays, the fact that they're running at less than full speed, doesn't really impact performance all that much. (??)

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Nice review.

Coupla' points.

DFI is now DOA (no longer making ATX boards) and EVGA are probably reserving any press coverage for the FTW3 which was added to the lineup today, which might have some bearing on why these two board manufacturers failed to show.

Any chance of adding stability testing to the review regime?

Since most boards are going to offer (very) similar chipset performance -features that will no doubt become near-identical as more functions move from traditional control hubs to the CPU itself- would it not be more of a differentiator to assess each boards overall stability? -the ease of recovery from a failed overclock, whether the board handles a 24hr torture test etc.

Unless all four lanes are running at the same speed, information is being processed asymmetrically To the untrained mind, it seems like the X 16 lanes would just run out of information, and have to wait for the X 8 lanes to catch up.

The analogy would be more in line with traffic on the interstate. Light traffic on eight lanes moves just as well as light traffic on sixteen lanes. Present devices (graphics cards) in 99% of cases do not come close to utilising the bandwidth available to a PCIe x16 slot (whether it be x16, x8 or x4 mechanical)-mainly because the information flow across the PCI bus is generally limited to CPU intensive graphics tasks (physics and some compute functions being the prime ones). The majority of the graphics tasks rely on on the interconnect between GPU and VRAM, and thus never have to rely on the PCI bus.

In the case of P67 (and P55/X48/P45) the lane assignments are x16 (@ 16 or 8), x16 (@ 0 or 8), x16 or x4 (@ x4). The third slot shares PCI lanes with the SATA/USB since the lanes are generated via the controller hub (southbridge). Disregarding the third slot, when the primary runs at x16 the secondary is not populated. Once the secondary is populated both slots run at x8. Adding a bridge chip (PLX or NF200) splits the available 16 lanes (at 2.0 spec) into 32 lanes (at 1.0 spec) and the lane assignments become (max of 4 PCIex16 slots):

x16, x16, NC, NC or x16, x8, x8, NC or x8, x8, x8, x8 (NC= No connect)

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Ah, a golden opportunity to show how little I know about video cards and processing.

Unless all four lanes are running at the same speed, information is being processed asymmetrically To the untrained mind, it seems like the X 16 lanes would just run out of information, and have to wait for the X 8 lanes to catch up. Is this another threading issue that would have to be programmed to, in order to take of the extra buss speed? So, how much is gained by a configuration such as you're describing? As you've pointed out, with multiple graphics cards arrays, the fact that they're running at less than full speed, doesn't really impact performence all that much. (??)

The bandwidth afforded by a x16 interface far exceeds the information that any card out will saturate. However when that point is theoretically reached, the card that saturates the bandwidth it has will slow down the card with more bandwidth as the cards are 'load leveled' Thats the function of the ribbon 'bridges. This is a great article on PCIE scaling. basically like the memory speed defaulting to the card with the slowest memory or memory setting.

[link]

From the conclusion of the article:

leaving only a 1/16th of the optimum bandwidth, it is still impressive that it can deliver 75% of its performance.

Running a 5870 with only 1 single lane of the X16 interface available, It gives 75% of the performance of it being used in a full 16 lane header.

Thats why I object when people (and some writers SEE S/A 's Lars-Göran Nilsson )

say that a x4 slot is useless to add a second or third card. A x4 lane interface will only give back 4-9% of a full x16 header (often less). An x8 gives back nothing.

There have been some published articles showing a bigger hit using x8 and x4, however I have run this test countless times and have results that are commensurate with the above article. I am convinced that when performance drops , there is something else happening.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Thats why I object when people (and some writers SEE S/A 's Lars-Göran Nilsson )...

L-G N is more error prone than Harold Lloyd's cinematic persona, and as such, one should view S|A for it's unintentional comedic content.

I am convinced that when performance drops , there is something else happening.

Probably depends on the benchmark being used and the GPU('s). For the majority of gaming a x4 connection is more than sufficient. Once the CPU utilisation for rendering increases (CPU physics and compute functions) increases then the impact is likely greater over the reduced bandwidth.

I would say that Civilization 5 (or Total War) would be a good benchmark to prove the point. Once the map fills up, I would think that CPU utilisation becomes more critical - although this could also likely be dependant on the game engine being used and the resources the coding can call upon (and possibly some differences in GPU architecture - nvidia's (Fermi) compute ability for instance).

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Probably depends on the benchmark being used and the GPU('s). For the majority of gaming a x4 connection is more than sufficient. Once the CPU utilisation for rendering increases (CPU physics and compute functions) increases then the impact is likely greater over the reduced bandwidth.

I would say that Civilization 5 (or Total War) would be a good benchmark to prove the point. Once the map fills up, I would think that CPU utilisation becomes more critical - although this could also likely be dependant on the game engine being used and the resources the coding can call upon (and possibly some differences in GPU architecture - nvidia's (Fermi) compute ability for instance).

That would make perfect sense. It's been my experience while running these scaling tests on my own that the 'anomalies' happen the likes of CIV5, Flight sim. GTAIV. when I tried this with a extremely shader heavy game like Metro 2033, there was a grand total of 1.7% between the x16/x8/x4 interface's. Within the margin of error, but the x8 came out on top.

Leeky Leeky said:

Nice review as always - has certainly helped me decide which to go for.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Nice review as always - has certainly helped me decide which to go for.

which one did you land on Leek?

EXCellR8 EXCellR8, The Conservative, said:

looks like ASUS/ASRock takes this one with the best value/performance ratio. the GB board sure is nice though

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

I'm glad manufacturers are moving in the right direction when considering oem builders. Pretty much pick your favorite color and that's the board to chose. Maybe the number of and placement of pci e lanes, but other than that unless your benching to the extreme brand doesn't matter on this list.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

looks like ASUS/ASRock takes this one with the best value/performance ratio. the GB board sure is nice though

I think I'd be more inclined to look at the Sabertooth P67. The dodgy colour scheme aside, it seems to be a consistant performer, very stable, priced well, OC's as well as any, and the five year warranty might add some value in the resale market when the inevitable upgrade takes place.

Guest said:

I'm sorry but the best bang for the buck in this group clearly goes to the MSI board. Take the $100+ bucks you save over all of the others and bump your graphics card up a level.

Nobody maximum overclocks 24/7 so as long as they are all close, and they are, then what is the big deal. I'd feel comfortable running any of these boards 24/7 at 4.4 GHz.

However, if you actually NEED some of the extra features (like a second GigE port pfft) then one of the others would be necessary

Leeky Leeky said:

which one did you land on Leek?

I think its real hard to ignore the Asrock's price and features. So that will become my next motherboard once I start putting together plans to replace everything that blew up.

Guest said:

stopped reading after false info in just the second paragraph. evga doesnt even have a board ready yet for p67 but results and benching from the prototypes are online. any basic google search would reveal that.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

stopped reading after false info in just the second paragraph. evga doesnt even have a board ready yet for p67 but results and benching from the prototypes are online. any basic google search would reveal that.

stopped reading your post after I found these...

[link]

[link]

http://www.directdial.com/130-SB-E675-KR.html

[link]

[link]

Guest said:

No SLI testing? Would be interesting to see non-nf200 vs. nf200. Also you should probably elaborate on your overclocking section. Did you use the same voltages for each board? The same LLC? For it to be a fair comparison you would have to have the exact same load voltage measured with a DMM. Those 60 extra Mhz could easily be from differences in load voltage based on LLC.

Guest said:

How about somewhere its actually available? FYI evga has not sold a single p67 board yet because they don't exist! Just go to the evga forums for confirmation from evga themselves instead of making up lies. Why would you make up information about contacting evga? Makes me lose a lot of respect for techspot. Lazy reporting, and even worse, not willing to admit mistakes. Good luck...

Staff
Steve Steve said:

How about somewhere its actually available? FYI evga has not sold a single p67 board yet because they don't exist! Just go to the evga forums for confirmation from evga themselves instead of making up lies. Why would you make up information about contacting evga? Makes me lose a lot of respect for techspot. Lazy reporting, and even worse, not willing to admit mistakes. Good luck...

I am not sure why you seem to think you know what you are talking about or why you know my business. I am sorry but we did contact EVGA soon after the Sandy Bridge launch and discussed the future P67 roundup with them. Regardless of their current status that was not known at the time and nor is it important, they backed out from the article shortly after we gave them the competition lineup. The fact that they may or may not be selling boards is completely irrelevant and has no bearing on our comments.

Arris Arris said:

EVGA might still not have "relaunched" after the P67 chipset recall. That is the most likely explanation for a lack of the product in online stores. Makes me lose a lot of respect for random guests arguing and accusing people of lying for no real reason.

Guest said:

I have the MSI board and it has been phenomenally stable. I got my one touch oc genie overclock and my 2600K is running 4.2 stable and no problems. Sure it ups my voltage a little bit more but I'm not an overclocker at all and trying to learn. It gives me a good reference point to start.

Also the higher grade components don't hurt. That $100 bucks saved went into my graphics card and being economical is the way to go these days.

Guest said:

Realtek does in fact have information on the ALC892 codec on their website (http://www.realtek.com.tw/products/productsView.aspx?Langid
1&PNid=24&PFid=28&Level=5&Conn=4&ProdI
=284). I'm not sure how long it has been up for though.

champmanfan said:

Good to see all boards putting up a good fight there

I have been running the Asus P8P67 Deluxe since it was launched and I'm now running the latest B3 revision board. The overclocking of this board is very easy (2600K) - got my watercooled setup to 4.6GHz 30c idle/57 load. I have pushed it to 4.7GHz but for gaming and general 24/7 I don't see the benefit unless I need to benchmark. Gaming is silky smooth when gaming on a i7-based rig. For cost/performance your going to want to buy the 2nd-gen.

The four Sata3 ports are very generous and although I just have one 6GB/s HDD, I plugged my 3GB/s SSD in for good measure (may get the new OCZ 6GB/s though). The other four Sata2 ports were used for green storage. I love the RAM slots as only the top side has the clips rather than both ends. It makes removing RAM modules easy with a large 5970 installed.

For improvements we could do with more board featuring 2 or 3 full 16-lanes (16x) rather than the usual combo of 16x, 8x, and 4x. If your buying these boards its because your going to stick a couple GPUs in there. No complaints with the layout of the board at all.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.