Gigabyte 6 Series MotherboardsSandy Bridge is barely out of the door but hardware partners have had plenty of time to work on its line up, Gigabyte is a prime example.
We already know of half a dozen new Gigabyte 6 Series motherboards and you can bet that there will be even more to come. Gigabyte has moved away from their baby blue color scheme for something a little more sinister, at least with their high-end boards. The new matte black color PCB provide a stylish new look which will no doubt appeal to case modders.
The flagship model is the P67A-UD7 which features a 24 phase power design. The board also boasts 10 USB 3.0 ports for a total of 18 USB ports including USB 2.0 and 6 SATA 6Gb/s ports to deliver impeccable data transfer speeds.
With 4 PCI Express x16 slots, both CrossFireX and Nvidia 3-way SLI are supported. The patented Gigabyte DualBIOS technology is also featured on this board. Dual Gigabit LAN with Smart Dual LAN technology along with a unique 3x USB power design with On/Off Charge USB ports to offer faster battery charging for iPhone, iPad and iPod devices.
Those that find the P67A-UD7 too pricey can fall back on the equally impressive P67A-UD5. This board offers less USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s ports, and a 20 phase power design. Multi-GPU support is still present with CrossFireX and Nvidia 2-way SLI.
For testing the Sandy Bridge processors today we relied on the P67A-UD4 which is a more mainstream model that still possesses many of the features we just mentioned.
The P67A-UD4 uses a 12 phase power design and all Gigabyte motherboards are Intel VRD12 qualified due to their Intel VRD12 compliant Intersil PWM controller. The P67A-UD4 also features the Ultra Durable 3 design with 2x Copper PCB, which is said to reduce electrical waste by 50%, improve signal quality and reduce board temperatures around critical components.
Like the more expensive high-end 6 Series motherboards Gigabyte still provides onboard USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s connectivity. The Gigabyte 3x USB power design with On/Off Charge USB ports for Apple devices is also present as well as Gigabyte's DualBIOS.
The P67A-UD4 provides a pair of PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots which support CrossFireX and Nvidia SLI. The new matte black PCB color scheme is also used, giving the board a more aggressive look.
Also provided by Gigabyte is the H67MA-UD2H, which is a MicroATX motherboard sporting the H67 chipset. This motherboard is aimed at users that prefer to utilize the integrated CPU graphics in the Sandy Bridge chips.
Despite being a compact motherboard, the H67MA-UD2H is still heavy on features. The Gigabyte Ultra Durable 3 design with 2x Copper PCB is still present, the USB 3.0 ports and Gigabyte 3x USB with On/Off Charge USB ports.
Compared to the P67 boards we have looked at so far, the H67 chipset enables the VGA, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort connectors at the board's I/O panel. Therefore we will be using the H67MA-UD2H to measure the performance of the Intel HD Graphics 2000/3000 of the Intel Core i5 2500K and Core i7 2600K in an upcoming segment of this review.