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Z68 Motherboard Roundup Part 2


Closer Look:

The Sapphire Pure Platinum Z68 arrived in a box similar to other motherboards in the Platinum series. As with the rest of these boards, the Sapphire Pure Platinum Z68's box used a silver and black color scheme. Directly in the the center of the box is a silver and black shield which holds the Pure Platinum Logo. Flipping the box over reveals a detailed list of the motherboards specifications and features.















Removing the outer box and then opening the inner box reveals the Sapphire Pure Platinum Z68's included accessories. You can then lift up the cardboard holding these accessories to get your first glimpse of the motherboards itself, which is sitting nice and snug in an anti static bag.



As far as accessories go, the Sapphire Pure Platinum Z68 came with everything you'll need. This includes five SATA cables, an I/O shield, a Driver CD, and a users guide.



Looking at the Sapphire Pure Platinum Z68 motherboard as a whole, it appears to have an average layout. All of the board's SATA connectors are right angled and the power connectors appear to be nice and close to the edge of the board. Populating the first two PCIe X 16 slots will cause you to lose two PCI slots, and populating the third PCIe X 16 slot will interfere with the boards internal power and reset switches. Flipping the board over reveals a fairly empty PCB, but we can see that the boards heat spreaders are attached via screws, rather than push pins.



Speaking of the boards internal switches, let's take a closer look at what Sapphire has made available for you. They have given the user a Clear CMOS switch, a power switch, a reset switch, and a BIOS select switch. Unfortunately, this Sapphire motherboard is still using AMI BIOS, as opposed to EFI BIOS like many of the newer motherboards we've looked at. Located directly under the BIOS switch is an internal molex connector to help spread power across the PCIe slots.



If your computer case has a lot of USB connectors, nothing is worse than owning a motherboard that doesn't have enough internal USB headers. The Sapphire Pure Platinum Z68, with a total of four USB headers, probably won't be one of these boards! Along with the four USB headers you'll also be able to utilize a total of eight SATA connectors, four of which are SATA III connectors. Also scattered around the motherboard is a decent amount of case fan headers.



As far as powering the board goes the Sapphire Pure Platinum Z68 uses the standard 24pin main power connector and a single 8pin auxiliary power connector. Located directly behind the main 24Pin connector, and a fair distance away from the socket, are the board's DIMM slots. As you should have guessed, the Sapphire Pure Platinum Z68 utilizes four DDR3 DIMM slots, which support up to 1600+Mhz modules.




Before we take a look at the Sapphire Pure Platinum Z68's socket notice the massive heat spreader covering the board's power phase. Sapphire made sure to only use high quality components when designing this motherboard, which includes their Sapphire Diamond Black Chokes. Moving on to the board's Z68 chipset, we can see that it is cooled by the same heatspreader found on other Platinum motherboards. Last but not least, the motherboard utilizes a LOTES 1155 socket.




Now that we have taken a look at the Sapphire Pure Platinum Z68, let's move on to some of the other boards in our roundup.

  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look: Sapphire Pure Platinum Z68
  3. Closer Look: Gigabyte Z68XP-UD4
  4. Closer Look: Gigabyte G1 Sniper 2
  5. Closer Look: BIOS Sapphire Pure Platinum
  6. Closer Look: BIOS Gigabyte
  7. Closer Look: Programs & Utilities
  8. Specifications
  9. Testing: Setup and Overclocking
  10. Testing: Apophysis, WinRar, Geekbench, Bibble 5
  11. Testing: Office 2007, POV Ray
  12. Testing: SiSoft Sandra 2011
  13. Testing: Sciencemark, Cinebench, HDTune
  14. Testing: PCMark7
  15. Testing: Aliens vs. Predator
  16. Testing: Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  17. Testing: Sid Meier's Civilization V
  18. Testing: 3DMark 11
  19. Conclusion
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