- Category: Motherboards
- Created: Monday, 03 January 2011 20:23
- Published: Monday, 03 January 2011 20:22
- Written by Lersar
Gigabyte surprised a lot of people recently when a few previews of their upcoming P67 motherboards showed a change in PCB color from the blue they have been known for to a flat black. Some of their models including the H67 that we tested earlier will still sport the Blue PCB but the P67A-UD4 that we also received sports the stealth look along with redesigned heatsink’s to match. We expect to see the performance Gigabyte is known for but we are curious to see what else they have up their sleeve with the first P67 motherboard we have seen from them.
Product Name: Gigabyte P67A-UD4
Review Sample Provided by: Gigabyte
Review by: Wes
Pictures by: Wes
Intel Core i7/Core i5/Core i3 processors
in socket LGA1155
Intel P67 Chipset
Renesas USB 3.0 controller
Marvell 9128 SATA 3 controller
RTL8111E LAN controller
8 Channels ALC892 Audio controller
Supports 2 Channel DDR3 with 4 DIMM slots
1 x PCI Express x16 slots (@x16)
1 x PCI Express x16 slots (@x8)
3 x PCI Express x1 slots
2 x PCI slots
Internal I/O Connectors
2 x Serial ATA 6Gb/s connectors
4 x Serial ATA 3Gb/s connectors
1 x USB 3.0/2.0 connectors (supports 2 ports)
3 x USB 2.0/1.1 connectors (supports 6 ports)
1 x S/PDIF Out header
Rear I/O Connectors
2 x eSATA connector
2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
8 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
1x LAN ports
1 x coaxial S/PDIF Out connector
1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
6 x audio jacks
1. Industry’s leading 12 phase power design for maximum power delivery.
2. Onboard SuperSpeed USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps to deliver impeccable data transfer speeds.
3. GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ 3 design with 2x Copper PCB to provide the stability, reliability and longevity essential to meet the power needs of high-end processors and other components running today’s most demanding applications and games.
4. Unique GIGABYTE 3x USB Power design with On/Off Charge USB ports to offer faster battery charging for iPhone, iPad and iPod devices.
5. New Matte Black color PCB offering a stylish new outlook that blends itself to decoration and case mods.
6. CrossFireX™ and Nvidia® SLI™ support for ultimate graphics performance
7. GIGABYTE patented DualBIOS™ technology delivering the highest level of failure protection.
To match the flat black PCB on the P67A-UD4 Gigabyte packed it in a black box. On the cover the package has the Intel P67 Chipset and Core inside logo’s that up until now have been well hidden. Around back gigabyte have packed most of the notable features of the board for you to see. The only photo of the board itself is located on the top right on the back, not very easy to see. Inside the board is wrapped in a static free bad and protected by another piece of cardboard. On top of the cardboard they keep the accessories and manuals wrapped up. Gigabyte included four bright blue SATA cables, the I/O panel, and a SLI bridge. With everything else being flat black it’s a little weird seeing bright blue SATA cables, it would be nice to see them match everything else.
As I said before the first thing that you will notice about the P67A-UD4 is its flat black PCB. It’s very difficult to capture in photos but this is a very sharp color and it’s going to look great in a Corsair 800D or any other case with a nice black finish inside.
Being a full ATX motherboard you have a whole selection of PCI and PCIe slots to pick from. They have given you three PCIe x1 slots for Network cards, capture cards, or sound cards. When using both of the included PCIe x16/x8 (top is x16 bottom is only x8) slots with dual slot video cards you will still have access to two PCIe x1 slots and a legacy PCI slot. I was a little surprised to see two PCI slots but considering the UD4’s entry level price point some people may still have a few legacy cards they still put to use.
Along the entire bottom of the board you will find most of the necessary headers. Starting from the left, you will find the COM port, a fan connection, two standard USB 2.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port with Gigabytes On/Off charge feature, a USB 3.0 header, and then the front panel connection. I was impressed with the location of the front panel connection given the issues I did have with the Intel board earlier. There is no way that you will have any clearance issues with any of those ports. They will also be very easy to wire manage for.
The P67A-UD4 comes with six SATA connections, two of the six being SATA 6Gb/s connections. In this case the 6 Gb/s connections can be spotted because of their white color, a major contrast from the standard black connections. It was great to see that all of the SATA connections are at a right angle for better wire management and to avoid clearance issues with long video cards.
Like past Gigabyte motherboard I was disappointed to find the front panel audio header placed all the way up behind the I/O panel, this is always a paint to route the cable up past one or more video card.
Up the top right side of the board you will find four DDR3 slots in a nice black color to match the PCB. Next to the ram on the outside edge of the board the 24 pin power connection can be found along with another fan header.
To the left of the ram you will find the LGA 1155 socket along with Gigabytes cooling that I will talk a little more in-depth about later. In the top left corner the 8pin CPU power connection is hidden. Next to the heatsinks and placed half way around the CPU socket you will find 14 Driver MOSFETs. Gigabyte went with Driver MOSFETs rather than traditional MOSFETs becayse they provide a higher power efficiency and a smaller footprint. The 3 in 1 design of a driver MOSFET also has the added benefit of running considerably cooler. Between that and the 12+2 design you can expect a longer lifetime and better power efficiency.
Similar to other P67 boards the UD4 sports 10 USB ports on the back when counting the two USB 3.0 connections. On top of that you will find a legacy PS2 connection. Component and optical Digital Audio Connections, full gig Ethernet, two powered eSATA ports, and six audio jacks.
Gigabyte is still sporting the Award BIOS that we have seen on all of their boards. This time around I wasn’t sure what to expect considering the lack of options on the Intel board I had tested previous. After booting into the BIOS I was greeted with the same main menu we have grown to love. The MB Intelligent Tweaker or M.I.T. for short is where you will find all of the available overclocking and voltage control options. I was happy to find all of the typical adjustments when diving into the M.I.T., any knowledgeable tweaker has all of the tools needed to push their system to the limit.
Another one of the major changes to the P67A-UD4 over past Gigabyte boards is the heatsinks used to keep things cool. Before it was traditional cooling fins with Gigabyte blue plates on top. This time around the heatsinks look like they were carved from a block of billet with a heatpipe linking them together. 90% of the heatsink is anodized in a dark metallic silver with one individual strip of Gigabyte blue to remind us that this is still a Gigabyte board. Overall the boards cooling will do more than enough to keep things cool while not blocking any aftermarket heatsinks.
Our Test Rig
Cooler Master Silent Pro 850 Watt
Sapphire HD6970 / Nvidia GTX 580’s in SLI
Crucial Ballistix Tracer Ram (2Gbx2)
OCZ Agility 2 60Gb SSD
Intel Stock Heatsink
It wouldn’t be a Gigabyte board if it didn’t come with their full software package. The P67A-UD4 is no different. The most notable of the software installed is Gigabytes Easy Tune 6, an all in one tuning program for both your CPU and Video card. We have covered it before but it’s always impressive to see how easy overclocking can be from windows. Another piece of software in their pack is Smart 6, a program that helps you control features like their quick boot, quick boost, BIOS recovery, and even a program to lock your PC down during specific hours of the day. The TimeLock was very impressive given you can set an amount of time the PC can be used for weekdays and weekends, or even lock out blocks of time. I would hate to have this used on me, but for a parent fighting with a kid who wants to spend too much time on Facebook this could be just the tool.
With the P67A-UD4 it’s obvious that this is designed specifically for enthusiasts and gamers. We ran the board through the same collection of tests that we did with the H67A-UD3H but this time around we did them using both the HD6970 from Sapphire but also with a pair of GTX 580’s running in SLI to test out SLI performance. Of course our tests include both in game performance and synthetic tests to get a variety of results.
For in game testing we tried to cover a selection of popular/current games all of which are running at 1920x1080 with their highest settings. As you can see when putting the P67A-UD4 against the boards we have tested to date it holds its own in every test other than Dirt 2. Even then the result is two FPS lower, the jump in performance we saw with Battlefield Bad Company 2 more than makes up for that.
Our 3Dmark Vantage testing on the performance setting showed a slight favor for Gigabytes other board but when using the high setting the results swung back to the UD4. Using PCMark Vantage it was interesting to see that the UD4 out performed on most of the tests short of the Gaming test, this was interesting considering the boards enthusiast focus.
Overall the P67A-UD4 from Gigabyte lived up to our expectations and wowed us with its new flat black style. I can’t wait to see what they will do with even higher end boards in the future; we should have a chance to take a look at their upcoming offers at CES in just a few days. With a MSRP of just under $200 it is a little on the high side when compared to the MSI P67 that we have also tested (by about $20), but you are paying for Gigabytes quality and you get a bonus with the board coming in a new sexy color. I for one welcome our new flat black overloards!