The third part of our Sandy Bridge coverage examines a pair of mid-to-high range P67 motherboards, the Gigabyte P67A-UD4 and Intel DP67BG. P67 is the enthusiast chipset for socket 1155, trading in Intel’s GMA HD 2000/3000 graphics for extreme overclocking capability.
January 16, 2011 by Lawrence Lee
|Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4 LGA1155 ATX Motherboard||Intel DP67BG LGA1155 ATX Motherboard|
For users looking to dip their toes in the Sandy Bridge waters, Intel’s H67 chipset is the cost-effective choice, and the only option available currently if you want to use Intel’s new integrated graphics chip. If on the other hand you want to run off the diving board and do a summersault or cannonball splash, the P67 chipset is what you need. It’s more expensive, yes, but if performance and/or gaming prowess is the goal, there is no alternative for the moment.
So what’s so great about P67? Well for one, it offers the only effective way to overclock these new CPUs, allowing enthusiasts to increase the multiplier by 4 above what Turbo Boost delivers (Turbo Boost is a requirement). Take for example, the Core i5-2500, which runs at 3.3 GHz but speeds up to 3.7 GHz (100 MHz x 37) with Turbo Boost when only a single core is in use. On a P67 board, the clock speed can be pushed up to 4.1 GHz (100 MHz x 37+4). Those truly interested in getting high clock speeds however will opt for the "K" series processors which are allowed to go well beyond 5 GHz. In addition, P67 allows manufacturers to divvy up the 16 PCI Express lanes provided by the processor evenly for dual graphics cards. An 8x/8x CrossFire/SLI configuration is far preferable to the 16x/4x array offered by H67 boards.
The only thing it loses compared to H67 is support for Intel’s GMA HD 2000/3000 graphics which are included in each and every LGA1155 CPU. Compared to P55 for LGA1156, the P67 chipset’s PCI Express lanes are fully compliant with the 2.0 standard, delivering twice as much bandwidth, giving a performance boost to connected peripherals like USB 3.0 and third party SATA controllers. In addition, both P67 and H67 support the SATA 6 Gbps standard, albeit only for two ports, and neither have native support for PCI, a standard that Intel is quietly shoving out the door.
We have a pair of P67 boards up for scrutiny, one from Gigabyte and one from Intel, retailing for just under US$200. This puts them in the upper middle class of P67 boards.
Priced at about US$190, the Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4 has premium features like a heatpipe VRM cooler, a sophisticated power phase design (supposedly 12+2), and an additional Marvell SATA controller that provides a pair of eSATA 6 Gbps ports. However, they did a cut a couple of corners by omitting FireWire and utilizing a Realtek gigabit ethernet controller rather than the more expensive but efficient Intel option.
The P67A-UD4 ships with four SATA cables and CrossFire bridge along with the usual assortment of documentation, drivers, and software.
Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4: Specifications
(from the product
|CPU|| 1. Support for Intel® Core™ i7 processors/Intel® Core™ i5 processors/ Intel® Core™ i3 processors/Intel® Pentium® processors/Intel® Celeron® processors in the LGA1155 package (Go to GIGABYTE’s website for the latest CPU support list.)|
2. L3 cache varies with CPU
|Chipset||1. Intel® P67 Express Chipset|
|Memory|| 1. 4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory|
* Due to Windows 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than 4 GB.
2. Dual channel memory architecture
3. Support for DDR3 2133/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules
4. Support for non-ECC memory modules
5. Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules(Go to GIGABYTE’s website for the latest supported memory speeds and memory modules.)
|Audio|| 1. Realtek ALC892 codec|
2. High Definition Audio
4. Support for Dolby® Home Theater
5. Support for S/PDIF Out
|1. 1 x Realtek RTL8111E chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)|
|Expansion Slots|| 1. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)|
* For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16 slot.
2. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8) * The PCIEX8 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16 slot. When the PCIEX8 slot is populated, the PCIEX16 slot will operate at up to x8 mode.
3. 3 x PCI Express x1 slots
(All PCI Express slots conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
4. 2 x PCI slots
|Multi-Graphics Technology|| 1. Support for ATI CrossFireX™/NVIDIA SLI technology|
* The PCIEX16 slot operates at up to x8 mode when ATI CrossFireX™ is enabled.
|Storage Interface|| Chipset: 1. 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3_0, SATA3_1) supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices|
2. 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (SATA2_2, SATA2_3, SATA2_4, SATA2_5) supporting up to 4 SATA 3Gb/s devices
3. Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
* When a RAID set is built across the SATA 6Gb/s and SATA 3Gb/s channels, the system performance of the RAID set may vary depending on the devices being connected.Marvell 88SE9128 chip: 1. 2 x eSATA 6Gb/s connectors on the back panel supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
2. Support for SATA RAID 0 and RAID 1
|USB||Chipset: 1. Up to 14 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (8 on the back panel, 6 via the USB brackets connected to the internal USB headers)2 x Renesas D720200 chips: 1. Up to 4 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (2 on the back panel, 2 via the USB brackets connected to the internal USB headers)|
|Internal I/O Connectors|| 1. 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector|
2. 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
3. 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
4. 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
5. 1 x CPU fan header
6. 2 x system fan headers
7. 1 x power fan header
8. 1 x front panel header
9. 1 x front panel audio header
10. 1 x S/PDIF Out header
11. 3 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
12. 1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header
13. 1 x serial port header
14. 1 x clearing CMOS jumper
|Back Panel Connectors|| 1. 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port|
2. 1 x coaxial S/PDIF Out connector
3. 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
4. 8 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
5. 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
6. 2 x eSATA 6Gb/s ports
7. 1 x RJ-45 port
8. 6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out/Rear Speaker Out/ Side Speaker Out/Line In/Line Out/Microphone)
|I/O Controller||1. iTE IT8728 chip|
|H/W Monitoring|| 1. System voltage detection|
2. CPU/System temperature detection
3. CPU/System/Power fan speed detection
4. CPU overheating warning
5. CPU/System/Power fan fail warning
6. CPU/System fan speed control
*Whether the CPU/system fan speed control function is supported will depend on the CPU/system cooler you install.
|BIOS|| 1. 2 x 32 Mbit flash|
2. Use of licensed AWARD BIOS
3. Support for DualBIOS™
4. PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.4, ACPI 1.0b
|Unique Features|| 1. Support for @BIOS|
2. Support for Q-Flash
3. Support for Xpress BIOS Rescue
4. Support for Download Center
5. Support for Xpress Install
6. Support for Xpress Recovery2
7. Support for EasyTune
* Available functions in EasyTune may differ by motherboard model.
8. Support for Dynamic Energy Saver™ 2
9. Support for Smart 6™
10. Support for Auto Green
11. Support for eXtreme Hard Drive (X.H.D)
12. Support for ON/OFF Charge
13. Support for Cloud OC
14. Support for Q-Share
|Bundle Software||1. Norton Internet Security (OEM version)|
|Operating System||1. Support for Microsoft® Windows® 7/Vista/XP|
|Form Factor||1. ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm|
|Remark|| 1. Due to different Linux support condition provided by chipset vendors, please download Linux driver from chipset vendors’ website or 3rd party website.|
2. Most hardware/software vendors no longer offer support for Win9X/ME/2000/XP SP1/SP2. If drivers are available from the vendors, we will update them on the GIGABYTE website.
The Intel’s DP67BG is from their Extreme series of motherboards which have broken the old stereotype of the stuffy locked down utilitarian Intel motherboard. Catering to enthusiasts, the DP67BG is equipped with several sets of LEDs, physical power and reset buttons, and even a backup UEFI switch on the back panel. Compared to the P67A-UD4, it has a less elaborate cooling system, only one eSATA 3 Gbps port, but includes an Intel gigabit LAN controller and FireWire. It’s also a cheaper board by about US$10.
Our sample did not ship in a retail box, but product images at Newegg show six SATA cables, a CrossFire bridge and an unidentified USB accessory.
Intel DP67BG: Specifications
(from the product
|AA# (Altered Assembly)||G10491-XXX|
|Processor|| At product launch, this desktop board supports: * Intel® Core™ i7 processor series in an LGA1155 socket|
* Intel® Core™ i5 processor series in an LGA1155 socket
|Memory|| * Four 240-pin DDR3 SDRAM Dual Inline Memory Module (DIMM) sockets|
* Support for up to 32 GB? of system memory
* Support for DDR3 1600/1333/1066 MHz DIMMs
|Chipset||* Intel® P67 Express Chipset * Intel® Rapid Storage Technology for RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10|
|Audio||Intel® High Definition Audio? subsystem in the following configuration: * 10-channel (7.1+ 2 independent multi-streaming) audio subsystem with six analog audio outputs w/optical S/PDIF out port|
|LAN support||Gigabit (10/100/1000 Mb/s) LAN subsystem using the Intel® 82579V Gigabit Ethernet Controller|
|Peripheral interfaces|| * Two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports|
* Fourteen USB 2.0 ports
* Two Serial ATA 6.0 Gb/s ports
* Four Serial ATA 3.0 Gb/s ports, one eSATA* ext. port
* One IEEE 1394a header
|Expansion capabilities|| * One PCI Express* 2.0 x 16 bus add-in card connector or switchable to 2×8 PCIe 2.0 connectors|
* Three PCI Express 2.0 x 1 connectors
* Two PCI Conventional bus connectors
Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4: Physical Details
The Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4 is an ATX form factor motherboard with a fairly standard layout. The PCB is cooled with a pair of odd looking heatsinks and is littered with small blue/grey solid-state capacitors.
Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4: BIOS
While most P67 boards have switched from BIOS to UEFI, Gigabyte still uses an old school Award BIOS, though word is they plan on updating their current batch of P67 boards to UEFI in the near future.
The P67A-UD4’s BIOS has plenty of voltage options (we imagine that most P67 boards are similar in this regard), but you shouldn’t have to tweak much other than the CPU voltage to get your overclock on seeing as increasing the multiplier is really the only way to get a substantial increase in clock speed. The fan control offered is rather basic with three different settings for only one fan header. The manual options allow you to set the steepness of the fan speed/temperature curve.
BIOS Summary: Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4
|BCLK/DMI/PEG Frequency||80.0 to 200.0 MHz|
|CPU Clock Ratio||16 to 57 (for i5-2500K)|
|0.750V to 1.700V in 0.005V increments|
|0.800V to 1.700V in 0.020V increments (1.050V default)|
|System Agent Voltage||0.655V to 1.305V in 0.010V increments (0.920V default)|
|PCH Core Voltage||0.840V to 1.940V in 0.020V (1.050V default)|
|CPU PLL Voltage||1.520V to 2.520V in 0.020V increments (1.800V default)|
|Memory Multiplier||8.00, 10.66, 13.33, 16.00, 18.66, 21.33|
|Memory Timing Control||Intermediate|
|0.900V to 2.600V in 0.020V increments|
|Fan Control|| CPU Smart FAN Control: Normal, Silent, Manual, Disabled|
Manual setting: 0.75 to 2.50 PWM value / °C
Intel DP67BG: Physical Details
The Intel DP67BG is a very similar board with more or less the same layout as the P67A-UD4. It is quite a bit flashier though, with blue LEDs lighting up the physical power/reset buttons and illuminating the PCH heatsink and a skull outline acting as a power and hard drive activity monitor. There are also a series of diagnostic LEDs at the bottom edge of the board and a POST code LED display, both of which light up bright yellow. This is not a board for epileptics.
Intel DP67BG: UEFI
The Intel DP67BG has one of the best BIOS/UEFIs we’ve seen with an unprecedented level of control with regards to fan control and sensors.
The DP67BG offers a similar level of voltage control to the P67A-UD4, though it has a significantly higher maximum CPU voltage and a substantially lower maximum memory voltage. Furthermore, there are three settings for Vdroop which affects how high Vcore gets on load (high Vdroop can save power while low Vdroop can improve stability).
The most impressive thing is the deceptive-looking hardware monitoring section. It seems initially like a standard read-out of fan speeds, temperatures, and voltages, but each item can be selected, revealing an additional screen. Every single fan header has customized control settings and threshold/warning levels can be set for all the temperature and voltage sensors. Additionally, if a temperature becomes too high, it can be configured to override the automated fan control.
UEFI Summary: Intel DP67BG
Host Clock Frequency
|100 to 120 MHz|
|Processor Voltage Override Type||None (default), Static (one voltage at all times), Dynamic (set upper voltage limit)|
|Processor Voltage Override||1.0000V to 2.3000V in 0.0125V increments|
|Processor VR Droop Control||Low, Mid, High|
|1.0000V to 1.5000V in 0.0125V increments (1.050V default)|
Processor System Agent Voltage
|0.850V to 1.750V in 0.025V increments (0.925V default)|
|Processor I/O Voltage||1.000V to 1.800V in 0.025V increments (1.050V default)|
Processor PLL Voltage
|1.500V to 2.400V in 0.025V increments (1.850V default)|
|Memory Multiplier||DDR3-1067, 1333, 1600, 1867, 2133|
|Memory Timing Control||Basic|
|Memory Voltage||1.20V to 2.00V in 0.01V increments|
|Fan Control (individual settings for all four fan headers)||Control Mode (auto or manual), Under-Speed Threshold (RPM), Minimum Duty Cycle, Maximum Duty Cycle|
|Temperature Settings (individual settings for all temperature sensors)||Over-Temperature Threshold, |
Control Temperature, All-On Temperature, Responsiveness (high, normal, low), Damping (high, normal, low)
Measurement and Analysis Tools
Video Test Clip
H.264: Crash is a 1080p x264 clip encoded from the
Estimating DC Power
The following power efficiency figures were obtained for the
Seasonic SS-400ET used in our test system:
Seasonic SS-400ET Test Results
DC Output (W)
AC Input (W)
This data is enough to give us a very good estimate of DC demand in our test
system. We extrapolate the DC power output from the measured AC power input
based on this data. We won’t go through the math; it’s easy enough to figure
out for yourself if you really want to.
If available, the latest motherboard BIOS is installed prior to testing. Certain services/features
like Indexing, Superfetch, System Restore, and Windows Defender are disabled
to prevent them from causing spikes in CPU/HDD usage. We also make note if energy
saving features like Cool’n’Quiet/SpeedStep or S3 suspend-to-RAM do not function
Our main test procedure is designed to determine the overall system power consumption
at various states (measured using a Seasonic Power Angel). To stress CPUs we
use either Prime95 (large FFTs setting) or CPUBurn depending on which produces
higher system power consumption. To stress the IGP, we use FurMark, an OpenGL
benchmarking and stability testing utility. Power consumption during playback
of high definition video is also recorded.
Comparable motherboards, even from the same chipset, often apply different operating voltages to the CPU which can have a big effect on overall power consumption.
Average Core i5-2500K CPU Voltage
Asus P8H67-M EVO
Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4 (DES Level 1)
|Note: voltages for P67A-UD4 taken with EasyTune, others with CPU-Z.|
The DP67BG has a much higher reported idle voltage and a slightly lower load voltage than the P67A-UD4. We also tested the P67A-UD4 with its DES energy saving feature on which does make a slight adjustment to the core voltage. We only tested the first level though as the other two make adjustments to the clock speed as well, skewing the results unfairly.
As a caveat we will note that CPU-Z would not report an accurate CPU voltage with the P67A-UD4, so we used Gigabyte’s EasyTune utility instead. As a result these figures may not be directly comparable.
The Intel DP67BG and Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4 were pitted against each other with a Core i5-2500K processor at stock settings, with Gigabyte’s DES energy saving feature enabled, and overclocked. As P67 requires a discrete graphics card, we used an AMD Radeon HD 5450, which has a fairly low power draw.
We normally do not include power consumption figures for boards when they are turned off or in S3 sleep as these figures are usually not worth mentioning (typically 1W and 2W respectively measured from the wall). However, both boards were unusual power hungry in this regard. Our P67A-UD4 test system pulled 3W AC when off and 3~4W when asleep. The DP67BG used only 1W when off but 4W during sleep.
Like many other Intel boards, the DP67BG has excellent energy efficiency, using about 4W less on average compared to the P67A-UD4. Gigabyte’s DES feature made a minor adjustment to CPU voltage resulting in very little difference.
The P67 chipset seems to use more power than H67 as well. Compared to the DH67BL, the DP67BG used approximately 5W more when idle and playing video, though the tables turned on load with the P67 board posting a 3W advantage.
Unfortunately it is difficult to ascertain exactly how much of the energy draw is generated by the processor alone, as the amount of power pulled from the AUX12V connector depends on how power regulation has been implemented by the manufacturer. The DH67BL, which has the more simplistic power phase design seems to draw most if not all of its power from AUX12V (including inefficiencies generated by the VRMs), while the Intel/Gigabyte P67 boards seem to take some from ATX12V, probably for the integrated memory controller just as most Nehalem boards do.
Overclocked Core i5-2500K
When overclocked by 700 MHz and overvolted by 0.12V, the DP67BG retained its superior energy efficiency, but only by a hair at full load. From this data one could assume that as the load increases, the P67A-UD4’s power consumption will draw even or beat the DP67BG at some point.
When the speed and heat was cranked up, the DP67BG pulled more power from the AUX12V line than the P67A-UD4; the opposite was true at stock settings.
Gigabyte’s EasyTune utility has been in its sixth iteration for what seems like forever It offers the usual assortment of voltage/frequency tweaks, fan control settings and monitoring all in an outdated UI. It looks infinitely ugly compared to Asus’ new souped-up version of AI Suite.
Like most such utilities, changes to frequency and voltage require a reboot making it redundant unless you can’t navigate through a BIOS menu. The only halfway decent function was the Smart Fan feature that allows the fan speed curve to be adjusted on the fly.
Intel Extreme Tuning Utility & Desktop Utilities
As an enthusiast board, Intel’s Extreme Tuning Utility is included with the DP67BG. Like the UEFI, it offers a wide range of settings both basic and intricate.
Overall it’s an impressively capable utility with every setting you can imagine with a sleek blue/black color scheme.
It does give you a lot more data than you might be looking for, but we would rather have too much information than too little. It reminds us a lot of AMD’s Overdrive utility. The board also has access the Intel Desktop Utility which makes for an okay monitoring tool; it’s duller and more straightforward.
To test each board’s fan control, we used connected a variety of fans to all the fan headers, put the respective systems on load and monitored the fan speeds and CPU temperatures.
On the P67A-UD4, the two 3-pin headers ran their fans at full speed. One of the 4-pin headers (SYS_FAN2) kept its fan at a low steady speed, approximately equivalent to 6V for both DC and PWM fans. The 4-pin CPU_FAN header was the only one that active control, and behaved very closely to the curve defined by EasyTune.
Gigabyte boards are usually very good when it comes to compatibility with our favorite fan control software, SpeedFan, but in this case the P67A-UD4 turned out to be a dud as none of the speed controls worked. As for temperature sensors, SpeedFan had two which correlated to the CPU and System temperatures reported by EasyTune, though we couldn’t identify where the System sensor was located. We put the system on load and varied the position of a fan blowing over the board, but the value stayed almost unchanged throughout testing.
To our delight all four fan headers on the Intel board were controlled, whether they were 3-pin or 4-pin PWM models, and they all followed the minimum speed set in the UEFI. However, only the CPU fan header varied in speed, ramping up slowly when the CPU temperature hit 40°C (the desired temperature was set to 50°C) and topping out when it reached the prescribed maximum of 65°C. The maximum UEFI fan speed settings for the other three fans did absolutely nothing; they all stayed at low speed regardless of temperature.
SpeedFan allowed for full control of three of the fans, with the CPU fan header left to automated control. The three temperature sensors correlated to those found in the Intel Desktop Utility, however, what Intel refers to as "Memory DIMM" we determined actually to be related to the temperature of the VRMs near the rear panel. Similarly, the sensor giving the "Voltage Regulator" temperature seemed to be located near the PCH heatsink. In any event, unlike most motherboards, these extra sensors actually give us information about the thermal situation of two different locations on the board.
To test the boards’ heatsinks, we stressed the CPU for 15~20 minutes with Prime95. The only extra cooling was provided by a Scythe Kabuto heatsink with its stock fan spinning at approximately 800RPM. Temperatures of the boards’ chipset and VRM heatsinks (if applicable) were recording using a spot thermometer. The highest temperatures were taken for comparison.
At stock settings, both boards had comparable VRM cooling, but the Intel board’s PCH heatsink, which has much more surface area than its Gigabyte counterpart, was cooler by 7°C. Overclocked, Gigabyte’s heatpipe VRM cooler pulled slightly ahead, while PCH cooling remained stagnant. Multiplier overclocking places no additional stress on the chipset.
On paper, there isn’t much to differentiate the Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4 from the Intel DP67BG. The price is similar and while the features are slightly different, they are more or less comparable. The P67A-UD4 has but two advantages in this department: a pair of 6 Gbps eSATA ports (compared to Intel’s single 3 Gbps connector) and an internal USB 3.0 header. Meanwhile the DP67BG boasts FireWire and an Intel gigabit ethernet controller rather than Realtek.
In every criterion we tested for however, the DP67BG either beat the P67A-UD4 or at worst, tied it. The cooling on both boards was good as were the voltage ranges in the UEFI/BIOS. If you look beyond that, the Intel board pulls way ahead. The DP67BG is more energy efficient. Its fan control system is more extensive and versatile. It has a UEFI rather than a BIOS (though Gigabyte claims they will remedy this in the near future). Intel also provided a barrage of handy extras including physical power/reset buttons, a UEFI recovery switch on the back panel, and an LED POST code display. It even has more (and actually useful) temperature sensors.
The Gigabyte P67A-UD4’s BIOS and included software UI is indicative of our general impression of the board: It feels like yesterday’s model. It’s not a bad product by any stretch of the imagination, but it lacks the polish and extras we expect from an enthusiast motherboard that retails for close US$200. Its deficiencies are particularly noticeable when put head to head with a board like the Intel DP67BG which gets high marks all around.
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Articles of Related Interest
Sandy Bridge, Part 2: Intel DH67BL & Asus P8H67-M EVO H67 Motherboards
Sandy Bridge, Part 1: Intel GMA HD 3000/2000 Graphics [Updated: 05 January]
Gigabyte H55N-USB3: De Facto LGA1156 Mini-ITX Board?
Zotac H55-ITX-C-E: Stacked LGA1156 Mini-ITX Motherboard
AMD’s 890GX Chipset in Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H
Asus P7H55D-M EVO LGA1156 microATX Motherboard
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