Chipset delays aside, Sandy Bridge has been one of the most anticipated and impressive releases we've seen from Intel in recent years. The first wave of processors have demonstrated superior efficiency as they swept aside considerably more expensive processors of previous generations, while consuming even less power.
The Core i5 2500K and Core i7 2600K models have also delivered effortless overclocking potential without going for excessive price premiums.
When getting our first taste of the Sandy Bridge architecture we were also given the opportunity to check out some rather impressive looking Gigabyte motherboards in the P67A-UD4 and H67MA-UD2H. For those building a new high-end rig from the ground up, the LGA1155 platform looks like the way to go and there are already quite a few exciting new P67 motherboards to choose from.
Therefore we decided to put together a roundup featuring many of the very best P67 motherboards available. Back in November 2009 we published a similar article which focused on P55 motherboards ranging in price from $US120 to $US250. That particular review featured seven boards from the likes of Asrock, Asus, DFI, ECS, EVGA, Gigabyte and MSI.
This time around we have five rather high-end motherboards from Asrock, Asus, ECS, Gigabyte and MSI. EVGA has just one P67 board on offer and unfortunately our contact there didn't seem all that keen to have it compared to the competition. Meanwhile DFI seems to have dropped off the map as they have yet to design an LGA1155 motherboard.
That leaves us with the Asrock P67 Extreme6 ($US210), Asus P8P67 Deluxe ($US240), ECS P67H2-A2 ($US195), Gigabyte P67A-UD7 ($US330) and MSI P67A-GD55 ($US160). The motherboards will be put through the usual batch of tests, while we scrutinize its on-board features and compare their overclocking abilities side by side.
It's a huge article, so please bear with us, or alternatively jump to whichever brand/model you are most interested about for in-depth coverage.
As with the previous tests, we found little to no difference when running 3D games on our test boards. In StarCraft II, the Gigabyte P67A-UD7 came out on top, just a hair ahead of the ECS P67H2-A2, while the MSI P67A-GD55 was the slowest falling a frame behind the Gigabyte P67A-UD7.
The Gigabyte P67A-UD7 maintained its number one spot in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 while the MSI P67A-GD55 came in last, again by about one frame.
Interestingly, the Civilization V late game benchmark favoured the Asrock P67 Extreme6, but the results were extremely close on all five P67 motherboards.
As we found when first testing Intel's Sandy Bridge processors, those wanting to overclock their LGA1155 processor will have to spring a little extra for the K series. This platform does not respond at all to base clock overclocking and is entirely dependent on the clock multiplier. Since the K series are the only processors to feature an unlocked multiplier, they are the way to go for overclocking.
With an unlocked K-series processor, breaking the 4GHz barrier is no sweat for these P67 motherboards. In fact, all but the MSI P67A-GD55 were able to surpass 4.6GHz with the Asus P8P67 Deluxe maxing out at 4692MHz followed by the Gigabyte P67A-UD7 at 4646MHz. We were impressed to find that even the ECS P67H2-A2 reached 4600MHz. The results were astounding to say the least.
Power Consumption & Temperatures
When measuring entire system power consumption, we found the MSI P67A-GD55 to be the most fuel-efficient, consuming 85 watts at idle. The Asrock, ECS and Asus boards all consumed around 90 watts at idle while the Gigabyte P67A-UD7 was the most power hungry consuming 101 watts.
Using Prime95 to stress all cores, the Asrock P67 Extreme6 provided the best results with the entire system consuming 185 watts. The ECS P67H2-A2 provided similar results with 186 watts as did the Asus P8P67 Deluxe at 188 watts.
Although the MSI P67A-GD55 consumed the least at idle, it was the second most power hungry board in our test with the total system consumption rising to 195 watts. The Gigabyte P67A-UD7 chugged even more power at 199 watts.
We monitored the CPU temperature with AIDA64 Extreme Edition and the Asus P8P67 Deluxe reported the lowest idle temperature at 22 degrees. Under load, it tied with the ECS P67H2-A2 at 45 degrees. The MSI P67A-GD55 and Gigabyte P67A-UD7 both reached a stress temperature of 49 degrees while the idle temperature was higher at 28 degrees as well.
The motherboard temperature was similar across all boards, but AIDA64 Extreme Edition reported once again that the MSI and Gigabyte boards were operating warmer. The Asus P8P67 Deluxe was found to have the lowest operating temperature when idle and under load.
Check out the index below for the full article, all of the analysis, and the conclusion.
* Asrock P67 Extreme6 – Features * Asrock P67 Extreme6 – Design * Asrock P67 Extreme6 – UEFI * Asus P8P67 Deluxe – Features * Asus P8P67 Deluxe – Design * Asus P8P67 Deluxe – UEFI * ECS P67H2-A2 – Features * ECS P67H2-A2 – Design * ECS P67H2-A2 – UEFI * Gigabyte P67A-UD7 – Features * Gigabyte P67A-UD7 – Design * Gigabyte P67A-UD7 – BIOS * MSI P67A-GD55 – Features * MSI P67A-GD55 – Design * MSI P67A-GD55 – UEFI * Test System Specs & Memory Performance * Synthetic Performance * Application Performance * Encoding Performance * USB 3.0 Performance * Wrapping Things Up
Republished with permission from TechSpot.com.
Steven Walton is the chief hardware editor at TechSpot; he also runs his own review site Legion Hardware.
TechSpot is a computer technology publication serving PC enthusiasts, gamers and IT pros since 1998.