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GIGABYTE P67A-UD7 (Intel P67 Express) Motherboard - The Motherboard

With Sandy Bridge having lifted off of the launch pad, we are now taking a look at the platform that will put it into the upper layers of the market - the P67 in GIGABYTE style.

| Socket LGA 1155 in Motherboards | Posted: Jan 3, 2011 6:14 am
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

The Board

 

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We have talked about some of the new design features on the P67A-UD7 before in our preview of this same board. It is certainly a change from what we are used to seeing from GIGABYTE, but also has some of the same flavor. The first thing we noticed was the nice black PCB with a new style of board level cooling.

 

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We also noticed a few subtle changes around the CPU socket. These were more about the placement of components than anything major, but it was still noticeable. GIGABYTE also has kept their new metallic blue power button next to the RAM slots. These tie in with a small flat reset button and a CMOS switch.

 

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Looking more closely at the CPU socket and the cooling, we are again drawn to the fact that GB has changed things. In the past GB used heatsinks with smaller fins and also added in extra cooling (on the UD7 series) in the form of Silent Pipe II and the option for water cooling of the chipset. The P67A-UD7 does not have this, but has moved to a more blocky design that should offer a small cooling advantage as long as you have good airflow.

 

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The 12V aux power connector is still in an awkward place and has been given another obstacle. There is a 3-pin fan header here that you will need to navigate when you finally hook everything up. I would recommend using an 8-pin extension cable for this as it can become a pain to reach when mounted in a case.

 

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Slots, slots and more slots. Although not as chaotic as the UD9, the P67A-UD7 has plenty of slots to go around. As usual, not all of these are fully x16. Slots 1 and 3 are both x16 electrical (and stay that way thanks to an NF200 chip on the board), while slots 2 and 4 are x8. This allows you to setup three-way Crossfire and SLI for your gaming and benchmarking pleasure.

 

Also visible in this shot are two PCI-2.0 slots and a single PCIe x1 slot. If you take a closer look you can also see dual NEC USB 3.0 controllers, two Realtek LAN chips (for the dual GBe network ports), and also the Realtek audio CODEC.

 

One thing you might miss if you are not looking closely is the VLI 4 port USB 3.0 Hub which is used to replicate the USB 3.0 ports. VLI is actually VIA in disguise and the VLI VL810 is actually visible at the top of this image just above the PCIe x1 slot.

 

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Here we see another VLI 810 for some more USB 3.0 goodness. The problem here is that we have nothing to plug into these headers just yet.

 

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In this picture we see what once was the Southbridge, then it became the MCP (media control processor). Now...well, it is just the chipset. You can also see eight SATA ports. There are four SATA 3.0 - two are handled by the P67 and two by a Marvell controller. The white ports are for GIGABYTE's own RAID function and are only SATA II. This can get a little confusing as previously these ports could have been SATA 3.0.

 

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Speaking of ports, let's take a look at the back of the board. Here we find a nice array of ports including no less than six USB 3.0 ports. As we told you, these are here thanks to that VLI 810 hub we talked about. We also see the dual GBe NICs and a set of power USB ports (with eSATA also) and 1394a ports. The rest is rather normal with your typical audio outputs and a PS/2 port.

 

All in all, not a bad design; but as with everything, there is room for improvement.

 

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