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Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD7-B3 Intel P67 Motherboard Review
Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD7-B3 Intel P67 Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
This is a performance-oriented motherboard with a great set of gamer-friendly options, overclocking tools and extensive connectivity list in a hefty matt-black package that looks fantastic.
 80% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Gigabyte Jan 03 2012   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD7-B3

Intel P67 B3-Stepping Chipset & LGA1155 Heatsinks

Intel P67 Express Chipset

With graphics and memory now handled by the CPU, the Intel P67 chipset doesn't need a very fast link to the processor. Thus, Intel uses a 20Gb/s DMI link between the Intel P67 chipset and LGA1155 processors. The roles of the Northbridge and Southbridge chipsets have been merged into what Intel calls a PCH, or Platform Controller Hub.

Intel's P67 PCH supplies eight PCI Express lanes to the computer system for devices like the SATA ports, LAN, USB and PCIex1 slots. The 16 PCIe lanes for graphics cards are drawn directly from the 'SandyBridge' CPU, this has a nice side benefit of helping to cut down on system latency.

Enthusiasts familiar with the storage and media capabilities of Intel's ICH10R southbridge will find a lot in common with the Intel P67 chipset. It provides 14 USB 2.0 ports, four SATAII 3Gb/s and two SATAIII 6Gb/s ports with support for RAID 0/1/5/10 modes, audio and Gigabit Ethernet.

The Intel P67 Express Chipset block diagram

Intel P67 B2-stepping Chipset Recall

The Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD7-B3 motherboard is equipped with the new 'B3'-stepping Intel P67 chipset. The original 'B2' stepping Intel P67 & H67 chipsets were recalled due to the Intel 6-series chipset issue. The recall happened because a silicon-level flaw was discovered which may have resulted in 3Gb/s Serial-ATA II (SATA II) ports degrading over time; "potentially impacting the performance or functionality of SATA-linked devices such as hard disk drives and DVD-drives." According to Intel, the issue was specific only to the SATA II ports hosted by the Intel P67 & H67 chipsets. The SATA III 6Gb/s ports from the Intel P67 chipset are not affected.

Each motherboard manufacturer initiated steps to recall the original batch of motherboards with 'b2'-stepping P67 chipsets and swap them out for fully functional boards with 'b3' stepping Intel P67 chipsets. Incidently, 'b2'-stepping and 'b3'-stepping is just another way of saying revision 1 or revision 2 - it's the same chipset. The 'B3'-stepping Intel P67 has the silicon level bugs corrected.

Intel Chipset Feature Comparison
Intel Z68 Express Intel P67 Express Intel H67 Express Intel X58 Express
CPU LGA 1155
Core i5/i7 2nd Gen.
LGA 1155
Core i5/i7 2nd Gen.
LGA 1155
Core i5/i7 2nd Gen.
LGA 1366
Core i7
Chipset Code Name Couger Point (65nm) Couger Point (65nm) Couger Point (65nm) Tylersburg (65nm)
Bus Interface / Speed DMI 20Gb/s DMI 20Gb/s DMI 20Gb/s QPI 25.6Gb/s
Memory Support DDR3-1333, dual channel DDR3-1333, dual channel DDR3-1333, dual channel DDR3 1066, triple channel
Maximum Memory Capacity 32GB (64-bit) 32GB (64-bit) 32GB (64-bit) 24GB (64-bit)
Integrated Graphics Yes. via CPU - Yes. via CPU -
Integrated Graphics Ports HDMI, DVI, DP, VGA - HDMI, DVI, DP, VGA -
PCI Express 2.0 Lanes 8 8 8 36
PCI Express x1 Lanes 0 0 0 6
Intel Rapid Storage Technology Yes Yes Yes Yes
Intel Smart Response Technology Yes - - -
SATA 6Gb/s | SATA 3Gb/s | IDE Ports 2/4/0 2/4/0 2/4/0 0/6/0
RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 0, 1, 5, 10 0, 1, 5, 10 0, 1, 5, 10 (via ICH10R)
Intelgrated LAN 10/100/1000 MAC 10/100/1000 MAC 10/100/1000 MAC -
USB 3.0 Ports 0 0 0 0
USB 2.0 Ports 14 14 14 12
PCI Masters 0 0 0 6
Intel High Definition Audio Yes Yes Yes Yes

In the chart above you can see how all three of 6-series Intel chipsets compare to one another. The major difference between the Intel P67 Express and H67 chipsets is that the former lacks the H67's capabilities to output integrated graphics from the processor. Moving forward, the newer Intel Z68 Express chipset is essentially a combination of the feature sets of the Intel P67 and H67, with a couple extras like greater overclockability and Intel SRT.

While the Intel P67 Northbridge brings native 6Gb/s SATA III into the house of Intel, USB 3.0 is still handled by discreet controllers. It may be that Intel truly has decided to side-step native USB 3.0 support altogether and focus on its high-bandwidth Light Peak (fiber optic) peripheral interconnect instead. Only time will tell.

Intel P67 Northbridge chipset pictured

Intel Socket LGA1155 and Heatsinks

Intel has released several different heatsinks for its processors in recent years, causing a lot of confusing when it comes time to upgrade the stock cooler for a quieter or better performing heatsink. Thankfully, the socket LGA1155 'SandyBridge' CPU heatsink mounting holes are interchangeable with previous socket LGA1156 heatsink mounting standard. The stock 'SandyBridge' heatsink is decent, but better aftermarket CPU coolers can be found on Frostytech.com. There's no good reason not to upgrade.

Clearance around the GA-P67A-UD7-B3's CPU socket is average, some low overhanging thermal solutions may interfere with the VRM heatsinks or memory modules if fins extend much beyond the Intel heatsink retention holes.

LGA1155 CPU socket for 32nm SandyBridge Processors. Principles of installing an LGA processor are covered in this Beginners Guide.

The LGA1155 socket shown below is not compatible with existing LGA1156 processors, nor are LGA1155 processors backwards compatible with existing LGA1156 motherboards, despite the common processor names.

Socket LGA1155 is for Sandy Bridge processors only. The Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD7-B3 motherboard is built with Japanese solid state capacitors.

A strong warning is supplied with this Intel P67 motherboard to remind novice users. Make sure you install the correct processor, into the correct CPU socket. The two CPUs do look almost the same.

Intel Socket LGA1155 processors are only compatible with Intel P67/H67/Z68 motherboards. Conversely, Intel socket 1156 CPUs cannot be used on any Intel P67/H67/Z68 motherboard as they are not pin-compatible.

Next up, a look at the Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD7-B3 BIOS.

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Contents of Article: Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD7-B3
 Pg 1.  Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD7-B3 Intel P67 Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  360-Degree Motherboard Gallery: GA-P67A-UD7-B3
 Pg 3.  360-Degree Motherboard Gallery - Part 2
 Pg 4.  360-Degree Motherboard Gallery - Part 3
 Pg 5.  Gigabyte 3X USB Power Boost
 Pg 6.  — Intel P67 B3-Stepping Chipset & LGA1155 Heatsinks
 Pg 7.  Inside Gigabyte's BIOS
 Pg 8.  Overclocking and Test System Specs
 Pg 9.  Test System Hardware & Specs
 Pg 10.  Sysmark 2007 - Workstation Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 11.  SiSoft Sandra - CPU Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 12.  Sandra: Memory - Motherboard Benchmarks:
 Pg 13.  PCMark Vantage - System Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 14.  3DMark 11 - Gaming Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 15.  3DMark Vantage - Gaming Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 16.  3DMark06 - Gaming Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 17.  FEAR - Gaming Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 18.  Conclusions and Total System Power Draw

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