Editor's Note: There are obviously some concerns about reviews on the 2nd Gen Intel Core processor platform, in particular motherboards based on the Cougar Point chipset, aka P67/H67. On January 31st, Intel announced that it had found a bug in its chipset that could cause issues with SATA channels disconnecting and has issued a recall on all or most parts. As a result, the majority of the Sandy Bridge based processors and P67/H67 motherboards have been pulled from online and retail sales.
You might wonder then why we are posting a review of such a product. In short, though we are disappointed that the products are not currently on the market for sale, the fact is that we have never seen these failure issues and the performance and features of the products still properly represents the capabilities it will offer when they return to the channel in March or April. We have several platform reviews finished or in the pipeline and we plan on publishing all of them for informational purposes to our readers - that is always our goal anyway.
But, expect to see this note of warning on every one of them.
Gigabyte goes all black with new line of P67 motherboards
Courtesy of Gigabyte
Gigabyte joins the fray of vendors sporting the new LGA 1155 socket and defunct P67 chipset on their latest P67A-UD4 motherboard. The P67A-UD4 brings Gigabyte's redesigned heatsinks, black PCB, and a ton of features including a 12 phase power design, USB 3.0, SATA 6GB/s, and support for dual PCIe x16 graphics cards in either SLI or CrossfireX configurations.
Courtesy of Gigabyte
The P67A-UD4 is priced smartly between $185 and $200 (many have been pulled from the market because of chipset issues) and include a redesigned low-profile heatsink over the power components and chipset that add a lot of edginess to this motherboard. We also like the available features on the back I/O panel that showcases two eSATA ports, two USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit LAN, and eight-channel high-definition audio support.
Courtesy of Gigabyte
The rest of the P67A-UD4 features a hardware-based 12-phase power design, Ferrite core chokes, driver MOSFETs, and Gigabyte's dual BIOS, on/off USB port charging. This board also supports 32GBs of dual-channel DDR3 2133/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz memory. Let's check out the rest of the features associated with the P67A-UD4.
Gigabyte P67A-UD4 Motherboard Features
Maximum Power Delivery
Like the pistons and cylinders of a car engine, the design of the motherboard Voltage Regulator Module (VRM), component quality and number of power phases greatly affects motherboard performance. GIGABYTE engineers were first to realize not only the importance of using the best quality components for this critical area, but also that with more power phases, there can be more power available to your CPU. GIGABYTE 6 series motherboards with their new redesigned VRM, promise to deliver first class system performance and power stability. With only the best quality components and unique design, incorporating Dual CPU Power and Power Phase Boost with Multi-gear Switching, your CPU can enjoy better power than what was available from previous motherboards.
12 Phase Power Design
GIGABYTE's cutting edge 12 phase power VRM design utilizes the highest caliber components to provide unadulterated, smooth power to the CPU. The innovative 12 phase power VRM has been designed and engineered to deliver fast transient response times through quick and seamless power delivery during extensive CPU loading variations. In addition, heat from the VRM is effectively reduced by spreading the load between the 12 power phases, resulting in a cooler, more stable platform.
Dual CPU Power Technology
Imagine a workstation class redundant (duplicated) power design on a desktop motherboard. GIGABYTE's proprietary Dual CPU Power Technology allows CPU VRM power phases to split evenly into 2 sets of power engines that operate in tandem. This allows 1 set of power phases to rest while the other is active, as opposed to a traditional power design, where all the power phases are always active. As such GIGABYTE Dual CPU Power effectively halves the amount of work done by each set of power phases to significantly increase motherboard durability and reliability.
New 100% Hardware VRD 12 Compliant CPU Power Design
GIGABYTE 6 series motherboards incorporate an Intel® approved Intersil PWM controller that is VRD 12 (Voltage Regulator Down) compliant. This means that it offers new features that include SerialVID (SVID) which transfers power management information between the processor and voltage regulator controller, allowing more robust and efficient signaling control between the CPU and PWM controller – hence, delivering a more energy efficient platform.
Driver MOSFETs - Integration of VRM Components
A traditional Voltage Regulator Module (VRM) consists of a Choke, Capacitors, MOSFETs and a Driver IC. By incorporating the MOSFETs and driver IC in accordance with the Intel® Driver-MOSFET specification, we can achieve higher power transfer and increased efficiency at higher switching frequencies to satisfy the growing power requirements of today's processors. Driver-MOSFETs also help to reduce VRM real estate requirements in the CPU zone.
DualBIOS™ - Patented Dual Hardware BIOS Protection
GIGABYTE DualBIOS™ is a patented technology that automatically recovers BIOS data when the main BIOS has crashed or failed. Featuring 2 physical BIOS ROMs integrated onboard, GIGABYTE DualBIOS™ allows quick and seamless recovery from BIOS damage or failure due to viruses or improper BIOS updating. In addition, GIGABYTE DualBIOS™ now supports booting from 3TB+ (terabytes) hard drives without the need for partitioning, and enables more data storage on a single hard drive.
Ultra Durable 3
The GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ 3 design features twice the copper for both the power and ground layers of the PCB, dramatically lowering system temperature by efficiently spreading heat from critical areas of the motherboard (such as the CPU power zone) throughout the entire PCB. GIGABYTE's Ultra Durable™ 3 also lowers the PCB impedance by 50%, which helps to reduce electrical waste and further lowers component temperatures. A 2x Copper layer design also provides improved signal quality and lower EMI (Electromagnetic Interference), providing better system stability and allowing for greater margins for overclocking...more
On/Off Charge Technology
GIGABYTE On/Off Charge technology allows you to charge your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch regardless of whether your PC is on, in standby mode or even off. A derivative of GIGABYTE's highly acclaimed 3x USB Power feature, On/Off Charge enables devices to draw more current from GIGABYTE motherboard USB ports than standard USB ports allow, so that charging from your PC can be as fast as with a charger...more
Note: Due to certain mobile phone limitations, users may need to connect the mobile phone to their PC before the PC enters S4/S5 mode to enable a quick charge from non On/Off Charge USB ports. Charging results may vary by model.
SuperSpeed USB 3.0
GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ 3 motherboards boast SuperSpeed USB 3.0 technology made possible through an additional onboard host controller. With superfast transfer rates of up to 5 Gbps, users are able to experience a theoretical 10x improvement over USB 2.0. Additionally, backwards compatibility with USB 2.0 assures users of long term use of their legacy USB 2.0 devices.
Turbo USB 3.0 – Boosts Performance by Up To 10%
When GIGABYTE's Turbo USB 3.0 feature is enabled, it provides the fastest possible USB3.0 performance by allocating PCIe lanes to directly connect the CPU and USB 3.0 controller chip. This provides approximately 10% better performance than when it is disabled and USB 3.0 traffic is directed through the chipset. Note: Turbo USB 3.0 utilizes 8 PCIe VGA lanes, so it is only possible to enable it with a single graphics card running at PCIe x8 on P67 chipset motherboards, or while using Intel® HD Graphics from the CPU (i.e. no VGA card) on H67 chipset motherboards. It is an option for high bandwidth users.
SATA 6 Gbps
GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ 3 motherboards are High-Speed SATA Revision 3.0 compatible, delivering superfast 6Gbps link speeds for twice the data transfer rates of SATA Revision 2.0 (3 Gbps). When used in RAID 0 (Stripe) mode, they offer even faster data transfer rates of up to a theoretical 4x the speed of current SATA interfaces.
3x USB Power Boost
GIGABYTE motherboards feature a 3x USB power boost, delivering greater compatibility and extra power for USB devices. GIGABYTE’s unique USB power design is also able to efficiently regulate output over the full voltage range, which greatly enhances USB device compatibility. In addition, dedicated lower resistance fuses ensure lower voltage drops, and provide more stable and plentiful power delivery.
Turbo XHD- Full Automatic RAID 0
GIGABYTE Turbo XHD provides a quick and easy way to boost your hard drive performance by automatically detecting 2 new SATA3 HDDs and enabling users to effortlessly set up a RAID 0 configuration via an easy to use utility. RAID 0 boosts HDD performance by up to 4X.
Turbo XHD function only enabled for the SATA controllers integrated in the Intel P67/H67 Chipset.
Dynamic Energy Saver™ 2
GIGABYTE Dynamic Energy Saver™ 2 incorporates a host of intelligent features that, at the click of a button, utilize a proprietary hardware and software design to considerably enhance PC system energy efficiency, reduce power consumption and deliver optimized auto-phase-switching for the CPU, Memory, Chipset, VGA, HDD, and fans.
Multi-display support with 2 way SLI™ and 2 way CrossFireX
Flexible graphics capabilities - Up to 2 VGA cards are supported for either 2 way CrossFireX™ or 2 way SLI™ action, delivering the ultimate in graphics performance for gaming enthusiasts who demand the highest frame rates without compromising on resolution.