P67 Motherboard Roundupccokeman -
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The ASUS P8P67 Pro motherboard is in the low end of the mid-range offerings in the enthusiast sector of the P67 based boards. It includes some of the features of its higher-end brothers like digital VRM, SLI and Quad CrossfireX capabilities, EPU and TPU functions and has a Bluetooth receiver built-in. The new EFI BIOS allows users to manipulate the BIOS settings with a mouse now, instead of only a keyboard as in the past. This is really a nice advance and long overdue, not to mention a lot quicker in both access and the BIOS speed itself. The manipulation of the BIOS settings still remains very intuitive and user friendly for both the seasoned user and the beginner as well. The higher memory bandwidth of the SB platform really brings back the snappy feel of the overclocked memory of old, even at stock memory speeds. The overclocking capability of the SB K-series chips is nothing short of remarkable and ASUS has done a great job at exploiting this potential with their new line of P67 motherboards.
The packaging of the motherboard is just a standard cardboard offering with the name on the front and a brief description of features on the back. Two manuals come with the motherboard, a complete user guide and a manual specifically for the Digi+ VRM and Bluetooth. The disc included contains all of your drivers and utilities. You also receive four SATA cables in the package along with ASUS exclusive Q-Connectors (I wish more manufacturers would use something like this) to easily attach the front panel connections. You also receive a rear I/O shield.
Here we have the included SLI bridge and a rear panel USB 3.0 header adapter, because you just can't have too many USB ports.
The motherboard layout is diagrammed here to give you a quick overview of the landscape. The motherboard has a decent amount of open or low protruding real estate so things like graphic cards and CPU coolers can be generously sized. The socket/hold-down used for the Pro are both made by Foxconn. But since the 1156 debackle, you really don't have to worry because the hold-down has been redesigned with much larger feet to contact the processor better and the pins in the socket seem to be much stouter. This is just an observation and has not been confirmed by ASUS or Foxconn and was determined just by mounting the processor and the subsequent pressures involved.
The memory slots have a maximum capacity of 32GBs with a maximum overclocked rating of DDR3-2400. The USB 3.0 auxiliary header port is right below the memory and in a slightly perplexing location that makes routing the cable a little difficult if you utilize a very long graphics card or have a short width case. The only slot with a direct shot would be the very top slot that would require the cord of the adapter to lay directly on top of your graphics card, so if you could sneak it by the graphics card and access a lower slot I'm sure things would work better for you.
The eight SATA ports employed by the Pro are two Marvell SATA 6.0 Gb/s, two Intel SATA 6.0Gb/s and four SATA 3.0 Gb/s ports. This section of the board also includes the P67 chipset with a low profile heat sink, a power LED, a clear RTC jumper, a chassis fan connection and a front panel header.
The board includes three PCI-E 16x slots with the option of running one at 16x or CF/SLI at 8x 8x configuration and the third being just a one-4x slot. There are also two 1x PCI-E slots and two PCI slots available. The bottom of the board includes an analog front panel header, digital audio connector, IEEE 1394a connector, TPU switch with LED and USB 2.0 connectors.
The rear I/O includes headers for PS/2 mouse and keyboard, digital audio outputs, Bluetooth module, six USB 2.0 connectors, two USB 3.0, two eSATA (one of which is powered), IEEEE 1394a connector, LAN connector and 2-8 channel audio connector.
The socket area is encompassed with passively designed heat sinks for better heat dissipation with minimal to no air flow required. The capacitors are all Japaneese solid capacitors and are part of the 12.2 phase DIGI+ VRM power circuit. The CPU hold-down and socket are produced by Foxconn. You can clearly see here that the hold-down feet, which contact the processor, are much wider than in previous versions of Foxconn brackets used in the last generation of Intel processors.