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Let’s take a look at the ASUS P8P67 Deluxe, a socket LGA1155 motherboard based on the Intel P67 chipset for the second generation Core i3/i5/i7 CPUs (Sandy Bridge architecture). The highlights of this motherboard include three PCI Express x16 slots, four USB 3.0 ports, four SATA-600 ports, BlueTooth 2.1 + EDR interface, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, and a high-end voltage regulator circuit.
The ASUS P8P67 Deluxe uses the standard ATX form factor.
The ASUS P8P67 Deluxe comes with three PCI Express x16 slots. The first two (the blue one and the light gray one) are controlled by the CPU, not the chipset. The first slot (blue) works at x16 when only one video card is installed, but it drops to x8 when a second video card is installed. The second slot (light gray) works at x8. The third slot (black) is connected to the chipset and works at x4. These slots support both SLI and CrossFireX modes.
ASUS made a terrific job using different colors for each PCI Express x16 slot, this way you can easily identify the speed each one of them run at.
If you install a dual-slot video card in the first PCI Express x16 slot you will “kill” one of the PCI Express x1 slots, while if you install a dual-slot video card in the second PCI Express x16 slot you will “kill” one of the standard PCI slots. You can only install a dual-slot video card in the third PCI Express slot if you have a case with eight or more expansion slots (cases usually have seven expansion slots).
It is important to understand that the P8P67 Deluxe has two slots between the first two PCI Express x16 slots, meaning that you can install a video card that occupies three slots in the first PCI Express x16 slot and still install a second video card in the second PCI Express x16 slot.
The motherboard has two PCI Express x1 slots and two standard PCI slots.
It is important to understand that the P67 and H67 chipsets don’t support standard PCI slots anymore, and the PCI slot is provided by an ASMedia ASM1083 bridge chip.
The ASUS P8P67 Deluxe uses a PLX PEX8608 switch chip, which expands the number of PCI Express lanes available on the motherboard and allows all high-bandwidth devices (i.e., USB 3.0 and SATA-600 devices) to be used at the same time without impacting performance.
[nextpage title=”Memory Support”]
Intel socket LGA1155 CPUs have an embedded memory controller, meaning that it is the processor – and not the chipset – that defines what memory technologies and the maximum amount of memory you can have. The motherboard, however, may have a limitation as to how much memory can be installed.
The integrated memory controller from socket LGA1155 processors supports only DDR3 memories up to 1,333 MHz under dual-channel architecture, but ASUS says the P8P67 Deluxe supports memory up to 2,133 MHz through overclocking.
The ASUS P8P67 Deluxe has four memory sockets and, since currently DDR3 memory modules can be found in capacities up to 4 GB, you can have up to 16 GB with this motherboard, if you use four 4 GB modules.
The first and third sockets are light 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 light blue sockets, otherwise your computer won’t turn on.
Like other high-end motherboards from ASUS, the P8P67 Deluxe features a memory compatibility test, called MemOK!. By pressing this button, the motherboard runs a built-in compatibility test that shows, on the video monitor, whether the memory modules are compatible or not with the motherboard (or, more precisely, with the CPU).
[nextpage title=”On-Board Peripherals”]
The Intel P67 chipset is a single-chip solution, and is also known as PCH (Platform Controller Hub). This chip supports two SATA-600 ports and four SATA-300 ports, supporting RAID (0, 1, 5 and 10). ASUS added two additional SATA-600 ports, controlled by a Marvel 88SE9128 chip (RAID 0 and 1). All SATA ports are located on the motherboard edge, rotated 90°, so video cards won’t block them.
ASUS hit bull’s eye by using different colors for helping users identifying which SATA-600 ports are controlled by the chipset (light gray) and which are controlled by the add-on chip (dark blue).
Additionally, the manufacturer added two eSATA-300 ports, controlled by a JMicron JMB362 chip. One of them (the red one) is a regular eSATA port, but the other (the green one) is a “power eSATA” port, which has extra pins for power. It is interesting to note that on motherboards from other manufacturers, especially MSI, the power eSATA port is also a USB port, which doesn’t happen with the power eSATA port included with the P8P67 Deluxe.
This motherboard doesn’t come with ATA-133 or floppy disk ports.
This motherboard has 12 USB 2.0 ports, eight soldered on the rear panel and four available though two headers located on the motherboard. It also has four USB 3.0 ports controlled by two NEC μPD720200 chips, two soldered on the rear panel of the motherboard and two available thru a header on the motherboard. The portrayed motherboard comes with an adapter for you to install these ports on an external 3.5” bay from your case.
There are two FireWire (IEEE1394) ports, one soldered on the motherboard rear panel and one available through one header. Th
ey are controlled by a VIA VT6315N chip.
The P8P67 comes with eight-channel audio, generated by the chipset using a Realtek ALC889 codec, which provides profissional-level audio quality: 24-bit resolution, up to 192 KHz sampling rate for both the inputs and outputs, 104 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the inputs and 108 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the outputs. This means that you can use the motherboard integrated audio to professionally work transferring and editing analog audio to the digital format (e.g., converting LPs to CDs, VHS tapes to the digital format, etc) that you won’t hear background noise.
The portrayed motherboard comes with on-board optical and coaxial SPDIF connectors, and you can either route digital audio to your video card to have digital audio in the HDMI connector using the available “SPDIF_OUT” header.
The analog audio jacks are completely independent, so you won’t “kill” the mic in or the line in jack when installing a set of 7.1 analog speakers.
The portrayed motherboard has two Gigabit Ethernet ports, one controlled by a Realtek RTL8111E chip and the other controlled by an Intel 82579V chip.
The P8P67 Deluxe comes with an integrated BlueTooth 2.1 + EDR interface.
In Figure 8, you can see the motherboard rear panel, with shared PS/2 keyboard and mouse connector, eight USB 2.0 ports, coaxial and optical SPDIF outputs, BlueTooth antenna and controller, two eSATA-300 ports (the green one is a power eSATA port), one FireWire (IEEE1394) port, two USB 3.0 ports (blue ones), two Gigabit Ethernet ports, clear CMOS button, and independent analog 7.1 audio outputs.
[nextpage title=”Additional Features”]
The ASUS P8P67 Deluxe has a several additional features. It has a POST diagnostics display that allows you, through a two-digit code, identify what is wrong with your computer if it doesn’t turn on.
All USB ports have fuses to prevent you from burning your motherboard if somehow the ground and VCC pins from the USB ports are reversed, touch each other, or the USB ports get a really high static discharge.
The motherboard has on-board power and reset buttons, and two switches, labeled TPU (see Figure 5) and EPU (see Figure 11). Unfortunately the product manual doesn’t explain at all these two functions, it only says “enable/disable TPU/EPU function.” When manufacturers will start understanding that users don’t have a crystal ball at home? From what we understood, the EPU switch enables or disables the power-savings features available, while the TPU switch enables or disables automatic overclocking.
In Figure 12, you can see all accessories that come with this motherboard.
[nextpage title=”Voltage Regulator”]
One of the highlights of this motherboard is its high-end voltage regulator circuit, which uses a digital PWM system instead of the traditional analog design. This allows the switching frequency to be changed on the fly, in 10 kHz steps.
The CPU voltage regulator circuit of the P8P67 Deluxe has 18 phases, 16 for the CPU main voltage (Vcc a.k.a. Vcore), and two for the CPU VTT voltage (integrated memory controller and L3 memory cache). Therefore it uses a “16+2” configuration.
This motherboard uses only high-end components in its voltage regulator circuit: solid ferrite-core coils, which present less energy loss than iron-core coils (i.e., they improve efficiency), low RDS(on) MOSFET transistors, which present higher efficiency, and solid capacitors. If you want to learn more about the voltage regulator circuit, please read our tutorial on the subject.
Let’s not forget the other voltages used on the motherboard. The ASUS P8P67 Deluxe uses a four-phase voltage regulator for the memory voltage (instead of two, as found on competing products) and a two-phase regulator for the chipset voltage, also using low RDS(on) MOSFET transistors and ferrite coils. It is common for some manufacturers to use high-end components in the CPU voltage regulator circuit, but using regular components in the other voltage regulators available, which fortunately isn’t the case with this motherboard.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
The main specifications for the ASUS P8P67 Deluxe include:
- Socket: 1155
- Chipset: Intel P67
- Super I/O: Nuvoton NCT6776F
- Parallel ATA: None
- Serial ATA: Four SATA-300, two SATA-600 ports controlled by the chipset (RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10), and two SATA-600 ports controlled by a Marvell 88SE9128 chip (RAID 0 and 1)
- External SATA: Two eSATA-300 ports controlled by a JMicron JMB362
- USB 2.0: 12 USB 2.0 ports, eight soldered on the motherboard rear panel and four available through two headers on the motherboard
- USB 3.0: Four ports controlled by two NEC μPD720200 chips, two soldered on the motherboard rear panel and two available on a motherboard header (adapter included)
- FireWire (IEEE 1394): Two ports controlled by a VIA VT6315N chip, one soldered on the motherboard rear panel and one available on a motherboard head
- On-board video: No
- On-board audio: Produced by the chipset together with a Realtek ALC889 codec (eight channels, 24-bit resolution, up to 192 KHz sampling rate for both the inputs and outputs, 104 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the inputs and 108 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the outputs), on-board coaxial and optical SPDIF outputs
- On-board LAN: Two Gigabit Ethernet ports, one controlled by a Realtek RTL8111E chip and one controlled by an Intel 82579V chip
- Buzzer: No
- Infrared interface: No
- Power supply required: EPS12V
- Slots: Three PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots (the first one working at x16 when one video card is installed or at x8 when two or three video cards are installed, the second one working at x8 and the third one working at x4, supporting SLI and CrossFireX), two PCI Express x1 slots, and two standard PCI slots (PLX PEX8608 switch chip and ASMedia ASM1083 bridge chip)
- Memory: Four DDR3-DIMM sockets (up to 16 GB up to DDR3-2133)
- Fan connectors: One four-pin connector for the CPU cooler, one four-pin for an auxiliary fan, and three three-pin connectors for auxiliary fans
- Extra Features: BlueTooth 2.1 + EDR
- Number of CDs/DVDs provided: One
- Programs included: Motherboard utilities
- More Information: https://www.asus.com
* Average price in the US*: USD 240.00
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this First Look article.
The ASUS P8P67 Deluxe is an excellent option for users looking for a high-quality, high-end socket LGA1155 motherboard. The high-quality of this motherboard can be clearly seen on its high-end voltage regulator circuit and the addition of fuses on the USB ports.
The features the P8P67 Deluxe brings makes it clearly targeted to high-end users: three PCI Express x16 slots supporting SLI and CrossFireX, four USB 3.0 ports, four SATA-600 ports, FireWire ports, BlueTooth 2.1 + EDR interface, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, professional-grade integrated audio, a PLX switch chip to allow high-bandwidth devices to be used at the same time without a drop in performance, and more. Plus the digital voltage regulator promises a more refined voltage adjustment for your CPU, and should help serious overclockers.
The only negative point of this motherboard is its price tag (USD 240), which is high for the average user. Of course if you want a high-quality motherboard with everything plus some more you will need to pay the price, unfortunately.