Motherboards based on the Intel H67 chipset are the best option if you are building a basic PC with integrated video using an Intel processor, or need an affordable motherboard using the microATX form factor for building a small form factor (SFF) PC. Currently, ASUS has six motherboards based on this chipset. Let’s take a look at the P8H67-M EVO, which is a microATX solution featuring two PCI Express x16 slots.
Of course, if you want more performance, you will probably pick a motherboard based on the Intel Z68 chipset, so you can enjoy the Intel Smart Response Technology (SRT), which allows you to speed up disk performance by using an SSD unit as a cache unit for your conventional (i.e., mechanical) hard disk drive. This technology works by storing in the SSD the programs and data you access the most. Also, the Intel Z68 chipset allows you to use the Virtu technology, which allows the computer to dynamically switch video cards, depending on what you are doing with your computer. In a typical scenario, this software will make the system use the CPU’s integrated video engine when you are not playing games instead of using your add-on video card. This allows you to save energy, since the CPU integrated video consumes less power than add-on video cards.
With so many options from ASUS, we decided to create the table below, listing the main differences between all of its H67-based motherboards.
|P8H67-M PRO/CSM||P8H67-M EVO||P8H67-M LE||P8H67-M LX||P8H67-V||P8H67-I DELUXE|
|PCI Express x16||2||2||1||1||2||1|
|PCI Express x4||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|PCI Express x1||0||1||1||0||2||0|
As you can see, the P8H67-M EVO is an upgraded version of the P8H67-M PRO/CSM that we’ve analyzed recently, coming with one DisplayPort output, two FireWire ports, one PCI Express x1 slot, and one eSATA-300 port. The EVO model also has a better voltage regulator circuit. Another two features not listed in the above table are the “EPU” and “GPU Boost” switches. The first one reduces the CPU voltage in order to save energy, while the second automatically overclocks the graphics processor (GPU) available inside the CPU, thereby increasing the system performance for games. Two features that the EVO model lost were the legacy parallel port header and one standard PCI slot.
In Figure 1, you see the ASUS P8H67-M EVO motherboard.
Figure 1: ASUS P8H67-M EVO motherboard
The ASUS P8H67-M EVO comes with two PCI Express x16 slots, one PCI Express x1 slot, and one standard PCI slot. The first PCI Express x16 slot (blue) always works at x16 speed, while the second one (black), always works at x4 speed, supporting CrossFireX. The presence of two PCI Express x16 slots is a very unique feature for a microATX motherboard, because motherboards based on this form factor usually have only one. This allows you to build a high-end gaming system with two video cards in a very small case. The first PCI Express x16 slot supports a dual-slot video card, but if you want to install a dual-slot video card in the second slot, you will have to make sure that your case has at least five expansion slots. (Some small cases have only four.) Also, you will block the USB headers located on the motherboard edge.
The Intel H67 chipset doesn’t support standard PCI slots anymore, so the support for these slots is provided by an ASMedia ASM1083 bridge chip.
Figure 2: Slots
Intel socket LGA1155 CPUs have an embedded memory controller, meaning that it is the processor, not the chipset, which defines what memory technologies you can have and the maximum amount of memory that is possible. The motherboard, however, may have a limitation as to how much memory can be installed.
The integrated memory controller from socket LGA1155 processors supports DDR3 memories up to 1,333 MHz under dual-channel architecture.
The ASUS P8H67-M EVO has four memory sockets and, since DDR3 memory modules can now be found in capacities up to 8 GB, you can have up to 32 GB with this motherboard if you use four 8 GB modules.
The first and third sockets are blue, while the second and fourth are black. In order to achieve the maximum performance, you should install two or four memory modules in order to enable dual-channel architecture. When only two modules are used, install them in the blue sockets; otherwise, your computer won’t turn on.
Figure 3: Memory sockets; install two or four modules for the best performance
As with other motherboards from ASUS, the P8H67-M EVO comes with the “MemOK!” button, which allows you to test the compatibility of the memory modu
les that are installed.
Figure 4: The “MemOK!” button
The Intel H67 chipset is a single-chip solution which is also known as a PCH (Platform Controller Hub). This chip supports two SATA-600 ports and four SATA-300 ports, supporting RAID (0, 1, 10, and 5). The SATA-300 ports are located at one of the corners of the motherboard, and the installation of a long add-on video card in the second PCI Express x16 slot (black) will block them. The SATA-600 ports, however, are rotated 90°, so the installation of long video cards in any of the slots won’t block them.
Figure 5: SATA-300 (blue) and SATA-600 (gray) ports
The product has one eSATA-300 port soldered on the rear panel and one ATA-133 port, both controlled by a Marvell 88SE6111 chip.
This motherboard has 12 USB 2.0 ports, four soldered on the rear panel and eight available through four headers located on the motherboard. It also supports two USB 3.0 ports, controlled by an ASMedia ASM1042 chip. The motherboard comes with an I/O bracket with two USB 2.0 ports and one eSATA port.
The P8H67-M EVO comes with two FireWire (IEEE1394) ports, one soldered on the rear panel and the other available through a header on the board. These ports are controlled by a VIA VT6315N chip.
This motherboard supports 7.1+2 audio format, i.e., eight channels plus two independent channels for audio streaming. On this motherboard, the audio is generated by the chipset using a Realtek ALC892 codec. The specifications for this chip include 97 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog outputs, 90 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog inputs, up to 192 kHz sampling rate for both inputs and outputs, and 24-bit resolution. These specifications are good for the mainstream user, but if you are looking into working professionally with audio editing, you should look for a motherboard that provides an SNR of at least 97 dB for the analog input.
This motherboard has independent 7.1 analog audio outputs, meaning that you won’t need to use the “line in” or “mic in” jacks when installing a set of analog 7.1 speakers. The motherboard has an on-board optical SPDIF output, and you can add a coaxial SPDIF output by installing an adapter on the available “SPDIF_OUT” header.
The portrayed motherboard has one Gigabit Ethernet port, controlled by the chipset using a Realtek RTL8111E chip.
In Figure 6, you can see the motherboard rear panel, with PS/2 keyboard and mouse shared connector, four USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire port, one eSATA-300 port, optical SPDIF output, HDMI output, DisplayPort output, VGA output, DVI-D output, two USB 3.0 ports (blue connectors), Gigabit Ethernet port, and independent 7.1 analog audio jacks.
Figure 6: Motherboard rear panel
The ASUS P8H67-M EVO has a legacy serial port, available on a header labeled “COM1.” If you want to have this port available, you will have to buy the necessary adapter, since the product doesn’t come with it. It also allows you to install a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), which increases security by encrypting data handled by the computer.
As mentioned before, this motherboard comes with two switches, the “EPU” and “GPU Boost.” The first one reduces the CPU voltage in order to save energy, while the second automatically overclocks the graphics processor (GPU) available inside the CPU, therefore increasing the system performance for games.
Figure 7: The EPU switch
Figure 8: The GPU Boost switch
Figure 9 shows all the accessories that come with this motherboard.
Figure 9: Accessories
The CPU voltage regulator circuit of the ASUS P8H67-M EVO has eight phases for the CPU main voltage (Vcc a.k.a. Vcore), two for the CPU VCCSA voltage (integrated PCI Express controller and memory controller), and two for the CPU VAXG voltage (integrated video controller). Therefore, it uses an “8+2+2” configuration.
Figure 10: Voltage regulator circuit
Figure 11: Voltage regulator circuit
This motherboard uses solid capacitors and ferrite-core coils, which provide less energy loss, improving efficiency up to 20 percent. It also uses low RDS(on) transistors, which improve efficiency.
If you want to learn more about the voltage regulator circuit, please read our tutorial on the subject.[nextpage title=”Overclocking Options”]
The ASUS P8H67-M EVO has a few overclocking options. We list them below (1850 BIOS):
- CPU base clock: From 80 MHz to 300 MHz in 0.1 MHz increments
- GPU clock: From 1,100 MHz to 3,000 MHz in 266 MHz increments
- CPU core voltage: From -0.635 V to +0.635 V in 0.005 V increments
- CPU VCCIO voltage: From 0.80 V to 1.70 V in 0.01 V increments
- CPU PLL voltage: From 1.20 V to 2.20 V in 0.01 V increments
- Memory voltage: From 1.20 V to 2.20 V in 0.01 V increments
- Chipset voltage (“PCH”): From 0.80 V to 1.45 V in 0.01 V increments
Figure 12: Overclocking options
Figure 13: Overclocking options
The main specifications for the ASUS P8H67-M EVO include:
- Socket: 1155
- Chipset: Intel H67 Express
- Super I/O: Nuvoton NCT6776F
- Parallel ATA: One ATA-133 port controlled by a Marvell 88SE6111 chip
- Serial ATA: Two SATA-300 and two SATA-600 ports controlled by the chipset (RAID 0, 1, 10, and 5)
- External SATA: One eSATA-300 port controlled by the same Marvell 88SE6111 chip
- USB 2.0: 12 USB 2.0 ports, four soldered on the motherboard rear panel and eight available through four headers on the motherboard
- USB 3.0: Two USB 3.0 ports on the rear panel, controlled by an ASMedia ASM1042 chip
- FireWire (IEEE 1394): Two ports, one soldered on the motherboard rear panel and one available through one header on the motherboard, controlled by a VIA VT6315N chip
- On-board video: Yes, controlled by the CPU, VGA, DVI-D, HDMI, and DisplayPort outputs
- On-board audio: Produced by the chipset together with a Realtek ALC892 codec (eight channels, 24-bit resolution, up to 192 KHz sampling rate for both the inputs and outputs, 90 dB signal-to-noise ratio, on-board optical SPDIF output
- On-board LAN: One Gigabit Ethernet port controlled by a Realtek RTL8111E chip
- Buzzer: No
- Infrared interface: No
- Power supply required: EPS12V
- Slots: Two PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots (16x/4x, supporting CrossFireX), one PCI Express x1 slot, and one standard PCI slot, ASMedia ASM1083 bridge chip
- Memory: Four DDR3-DIMM sockets (up to DDR3-1333, 32 GB maximum)
- Fan connectors: One four-pin connector for the CPU cooler, one four-pin connector for an auxiliary fan, and one three-pin connector for another auxiliary fan
- Extra features: Legacy serial port, support for TPM, EPU switch, GPU Boost switch
- Number of CDs/DVDs provided: One
- Programs included: Motherboard utilities
- More Information: https://usa.asus.com
- Average price in the US*: USD 125.00
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
The ASUS P8H67-M EVO is only USD 10 more expensive than the P8H67-M PRO/CSM, but brings far more features: one DisplayPort output, two FireWire ports, one PCI Express x1 slot, one eSATA-300 port, a far better voltage regulator circuit, more refined overclocking options, and the handy “GPU Boost” switch. Therefore, it provides, in our opinion, a better cost/benefit ratio than the P8H67-M PRO/CSM, as both motherboards are clearly targeted to the user who wants to build a small yet powerful PC or a small HTPC, and in both cases we believe users will want as many features as they can get.