P67 Roundup Part Twotacohunter52 - September 8, 2011
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Conclusion: Sapphire P67 Pure Black Hydra
Many AMD users find themselves extremely happy with a Sapphire video card, however these same users may be slightly skeptical about buying a Sapphire motherboard. This makes perfect sense and I don't mind admitting that I've been skeptical about Sapphire boards as well. After all, there is a pretty big difference between a video card and the motherboard that holds it. With that being said, I was extremely impressed with the Sapphire P67 Pure Black Hydra.
The board had a nice layout, although I would have liked to see the auxiliary cable a little closer to the edge of the board. The board also performed on par with the ASUS board, which should have been a given considering all the P67 boards perform more or less the same. Rather than its performance, the P67 Pure Black Hydra's main selling point is going to be its features. Its main feature just happens to be the Lucid Logix Hydra engine. The Hydra engine is something many users, as well as myself, have been interested in ever since it was announced all those years ago. The Hydra engine may not require its own separate motherboard or match any of the other speculation about it for that matter. It's still extremely cool. The Lucid Logix Hydra engine allows you to use multiple configurations of graphics cards, even combinations of AMD and NVIDIA cards together. However, the Hydra engine uses software to do this, so the games or benchmarks you want to be playing need to support it. The Hydra engine currently has a very small support list, which kind of hinders its usefulness. I do, however, think that it will eventually be a very useful technology and I'm always glad to see motherboards utilize it.
Other than the Lucid Logix Hydra engine, the P67 Pure Black Hydra's features were relatively basic. The board also didn't have a whole lot of bundled accessories. The board can be had for around $200, which is a pretty attractive price point for a P67 motherboard. The P67 Pure Black Hydra was even able to stay pretty close to the ASUS boards when it came to overclocking. While it didn't hit the 4.8GHz mark, the board was still able to give us a core clock of 4.72GHz. Not too shabby! Honestly, the only thing I would have really liked to see on this motherboard was an EFI BIOS. It's something we are seeing more and more of on these newer motherboards, so seeing an AMI BIOS is a bit of a let down.
- Lucid Logix Hydra
- AMI BIOS
Here at OCC we've looked at a multitude of high quality motherboards, many of which were from ASUS! Today was no different, as we looked at two more of ASUS' higher-end P67 boards, the ASUS SABERTOOTH and the ASUS P8P67 Deluxe. Both boards had an extremely great layout and both have the ability to accommodate a large cooler without anything getting in the way. Both boards had cooling solutions that kept the chipsets and other important components nice and chilly. Not surprisingly, the SABERTOOTH did a slightly better job at this. In some ways, I would have liked to see the Thermal Armor on the P8P67 Deluxe instead of the SABERTOOTH. Both boards were also equipped with ASUS'S DIGI+ VRM technology, which ensures that both boards have increased stability and higher efficiency, as well as giving you the ability to make finer adjustments to your voltages. The DIGI+ VRM's give you higher efficiency by spreading the load across the power phases, as well dynamically managing them to keep their temperatures down.
Both boards were equipped with some advanced features unique to ASUS. The SABERTOOTH was using ASUS' "TUF" features. This includes the board's TUF Thermal Armor and Thermal Radar. The board also utilized a TUF 8+2 Digital Phase Power Design, with E.S.P. (Efficient Switching Power Design), TUF Components, ESD Guards, and anti surge protection. The P8P67 Deluxe on the other hand used both the ASUS EPU and the ASUS TPU. These technologies will give you advanced overclocking capabilities, as well as some extremely great energy efficiency. When it came time to overclock the boards, the ASUS SABERTOOTH was able to hit a clock speed of 4.83GHz, while the Deluxe was able to come out slightly on top of that with a final clock speed of 4849MHz. Both boards overclocked to about the same clock speed, so from an overclocking standpoint it's hard to say which is better. The SABERTOOTH may appeal to people using more extreme cooling, just because the entire board is being cooled as opposed to just certain parts. I personally think that the Thermal Armor is an extremely cool idea and I hope we start to see ASUS include it on all of its higher-end boards. However, as cool as the SABERTOOTH's Thermal Armor is, part of me feels like the P8P67 Deluxe is the better motherboard.
Both boards came with a nice amount of bundled accessories - the P8P67 Deluxe had slightly more than the SABERTOOTH, while both had more than the Sapphire P67 Pure Black Hydra. I was also a little surprised to see that ASUS is selling the SABERTOOTH's extra fan separately. It definitely would have been nice to see this included with the board. As far as features go, both the P8P67 Deluxe and the SABERTOOTH had a ton of them. Once again I feel like the P8P67 Deluxe had slightly more features than the SABERTOOTH, which would also explain why it's slightly more expensive. The SABERTOOTH can be had on Newegg for $220, while the P8P67 Deluxe comes in at $240. I'm not entirely sure the P8P67 Deluxe's extra features and accessories are worth the extra $20, but like I said earlier, my gut feeling is that this is the better of the two boards.
In the end, both of the ASUS boards performed, overclocked, and looked extremely great. I can honestly say that if you were to pick up either of the two, you'd be happy. With that being said, it'd be great if ASUS would add the TUF components and the Thermal Armor to the P8P67 Deluxe!
- Feature set
- Bundled accessories
- DIGI+ VRM
- UEFI BIOS
- AI Suite II
- USB 3.0
- TUF Components (SABERTOOTH)
- Thermal Armor (SABERTOOTH)
- EPU and TPU (P8P67 Deluxe)