Intel's next line of 32nm processors, Sandy Bridge is coming soon. Supporting them will be the P67 chipset, among other motherboard chipsets. The Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3R is a prime contender as a good enthusiast motherboard for these upcoming fast mainstream processors.
Sandy Bridge, Intel's next offering to the mainstream segment of PCs, is due in January 2011. We bring you a preview of one of the motherboards capable of supporting these processors.
Based on the Intel P67 chipset, with an LGA 1155 processor socket, the Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3R is a high-end motherboard. Note that it will not support nor activate the integrated graphics on Intel's new processor line, a task perhaps left to the Intel H65/H67 chipsets.
Being a superior model for PC enthusiasts (although mainstream in positioning), this Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3R motherboard for Intel's Sandy Bridge processors is geared towards providing a good experience with plenty of features. Pricing is not yet available and is not expected to be low. This is a preview of the board's design and features alone.
Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3R Design
We are accustomed by now to a blue-and-white colour scheme from Gigabyte, but this Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3R board bucks the trend. The Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3R is dominated by a dark black feel, with metal finishes interrupting in places. Some flourishes of blue are still present. It’s aesthetically pleasing and premium in feel.
Solid capacitors can be seen across the Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3R board. The three heatsinks are large and conspicuously visible across this full-size ATX board. Although notably bunched around the processor socket, there still is enough space for those who'd like to install after-market CPU coolers.
One complaint we could have about positioning is the way two SATA ports are placed in such a way as to get blocked if a large graphics card is used in the second large PCI-Express slot – one that is unfortunately limited to 4x speed).
On the positive side, the headers on the Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3R motherboard (such as front audio, USB, additional fan power) are positioned in a logical manner where they are expected to be, unlike many boards that scatter headers seemingly without thought.
Some markings on the circuit board are for non-existent headers, presumably because the same base is used for Gigabyte's P67A-UD7 product as well.
Rear panel of the Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3R is not quite choc-a-bloc, but does offer a lot, as is standard with upper-mainstream motherboards.
Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3R Features and specifications
Enthusiasts won't have much to complain about, with the Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3R featuring 24-phase CPU power. Gigabyte has put in some of its own technologies into this board for LGA1155 Sandy Bridge Intel processors, including Dual BIOS and Ultra Durable 3 design with 2-ounce copper for the PCB.
As expected, the Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3R board supports USB 3.0 (‘4.8Gb/s’) and SATA 3.0 (6Gb/s).
Since Gigabyte's website does not currently have this board listed, below is a quick listing of significant details.
Processor Socket:Intel LGA1155
Motherboard Chipset: Intel P67
Power Input Sockets: one 24-pin for motherboard, one 8-pin for processor
Memory Spec: DDR3, 1.5 Volt, up to 2133 MHz, 4 DIMM slots for upto 16GB
Expansion Slots: one PCIe x16, one PCIe x4, three PCIe x1, two PCI
Sound: Realtek 8-channel audio controller, coaxial and optical S/PDIF out, 6 audio jacks
Others: ATX form factor (30.5 cm x 24.4 cm), 3 year warranty
Internal I/O Connectors: two SATA 6Gb/s, four SATA 3Gb/s, three USB 2.0 headers, one front panel audio header
Rear I/O Connectors: one PS/2 keyboard/mouse connector, one Gigabit LAN port, two USB 3.0 ports, eight USB 2.0 ports
Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3R Package contents
Within the Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3R motherboard box, neatly tucked away were the standard accompaniments. These were four SATA cables, a well-marked and colour-coded backplate, an installation guidebook and user's manual and a disc.
To inform both accidental and well intentioned experimenters, an entire laminated yellow warning page was present.
In English and various other languages, the page cautions the user not to install an LGA1156 processor on this board, clarifying that it offers a different socket (LGA1155) which will work only with Intel Core i7/i5/i3 and Pentium processors that have a 4-digit model number (the 2xxx series).
The bundled disc for the Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3R was a simple one, labelled the "Intel 6 Series Utility DVD" version 1.01. On it were drivers for the chipset, audio, network interface, Serial-ATA and RAID for Windows 7/Vista/XP operating systems.
Also included is EasyTune (for overclocking), Adobe Acrobat Reader (to read the PDF manuals) and a trial version of Norton Internet Security.
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