ASUS P8P67 Pro Socket 1155 Motherboard

Posted by on Monday, January 3, 2011 - 7:44am

ASUS P8P67 ProThe first motherboard we will take a look at is the P8P67 Pro, which will be ASUS’ performance motherboard for users on a budget, or in other words a top-shelf mainstream board. In the lineup it falls just under the Deluxe but above the EVO. The P8P67 Pro holds a few similarities to the P7P55 Deluxe we reviewed here, looks is the only thing they have in common. The new board sports a new chipset for Intel's also new Sandy Bridge processor: the P67 North Bridge. So, what does that mean for the consumer? Well, the PCIe 2.0 is increased from 2.5GT/s to 5GT/s, meaning the USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s connections will not hog up a lot of bandwidth since there is more to share. That is just the tip of the iceberg though, read on to find out more as we review this brand new ASUS motherboard utilizing Intel's brand new chipset and Core i5 2500K CPU!

Introduction to the ASUS P8P67 Pro

Now that Sandy Bridge is here the whole world is buzzing about the web to see just what it is all about! Me personally, I have been browsing the web to see if it is worth upgrading my daily machine. The decision is still up in the air as you can’t really get a feel of a motherboard and its technology until you get it in your sweaty little hands, or get the chance to read about it on your favorite web site (oh, I see you are, well hi!). That is exactly what I am doing here today, getting a chance to play with it as well as sharing the information with you here today.

First, I will begin with saying that ASUS has made the decision easier for you with their new line of P67 chipset motherboards. So far we have spotted traces of the Maximus, Sabertooth, Deluxe, Pro, EVO and standard models of the new North Bridge line up. The three mentioned last will be the models we will be giving you reviews of here on Pro-Clockers.

The first motherboard we will take a look at is the P8P67 Pro, which will be ASUS’ performance motherboard for users on a budget, or in other words a top-shelf mainstream board. In the lineup it falls just under the Deluxe but above the EVO. The P8P67 Pro holds a few similarities to the P7P55 Deluxe we reviewed here, looks is the only thing they have in common. The new board sports a new chipset for Intel's also new Sandy Bridge processor: the P67 North Bridge. So, what does that mean for the consumer? Well, the PCIe 2.0 is increased from 2.5GT/s to 5GT/s, meaning the USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s connections will not hog up a lot of bandwidth as there is more to share. That is just the tip of the iceberg though, read on to find out more as we review this brand new ASUS motherboard utilizing Intel's brand new chipset and Core i5 2500K CPU!


Specifications

CPU

LGA1155 socket for Intel® 2nd Generation Core™ i7/ Core™ i5/ Core™ i3 Processors

Supports 32nm CPU

Supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0

* The Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 support depends on the CPU types.

** Refer to www.asus.com for Intel CPU support list

Chipset

Intel® P67 Express Chipset

Memory

4 x DIMM, max. 32GB*, DDR3 2200(O.C.)**/2133(O.C.)/1866(O.C.)/1600/1333/1066 MHz, non-ECC, un-buffered memory

Dual channel memory architecture

Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)

*The Max. 32GB memory capacity can be supported with DIMMs of 8GB (or above). ASUS will update QVL once the DIMMs are available on the market.

**Due to CPU behavior, DDR3 2200/2000/1800 MHz memory module will run at DDR3 2133/1866/1600 MHz frequency as default.

***Hyper DIMM support is subject to the physical characteristics of individual CPUs. Some hyper DIMMs only support one DIMM per channel. Please refer to Memory QVL for details.

****Refer to www.asus.com or this user manual for the Memory QVL(Qualified Vendors Lidts).

Expansion Slots

2 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots (single at x16 or dual at x8 / x8 mode)

1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot*  [black] (max. at x4 mode, compatible with PCIe x1 and x4 devices)

2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots

2 x PCI slots

*The PCIe x16_3 slot shares bandwidth with PCIe x1_1 slot, PCIe x1_2 slot, USB3_34 and eSATA12. The PCIe x16_3 default setting is in x1 mode.

Multi-GPU support

Supports NVIDIA® Quad-GPU SLI™ Technology

Supports ATI® Quad-GPU CrossFireX™ Technology

Storage

Intel® P67 Express Chipset

 - 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports (gray)

 - 4 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s ports (blue)

 - Intel® Rapid Storage Technology supports  RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10

Marvell® PCIe 9120 SATA 6Gb/s controller*

 - 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports (navy blue)

JMicron® JMB362 SATA controller*

 - 2 x eSATA 3.0 Gb/s ports (1 x Power eSATA)

*These SATA ports are for data hard drivers only. ATAPI devices are not supported.

LAN

Intel® 82579 Gigabit LAN Dual interconnect between the Integrated LAN controller and Physical Layer (PHY)

Bluetooth

Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR

ASUS BT GO! Utility

Audio

Realtek® ALC892 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC

 - Absolute Pitch 192khz/24bit True BD Lossless Sound

 - BD Audio Layer Content Protection

 - DTS Surround Sensation UltraPC

 - Supports Jack-Detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-Retasking

 - Coaxial / Optical S/PDIF out ports at back I/O

IEEE 1394

VIA® VT6308P controller supports 2 x IEEE 1394a ports (one at mid-board; one at back panel)

USB

2 x NEC USB 3.0 controllers

 - 2 x USB 3.0 ports at mid-board for front panel support

 - 2 x USB 3.0 ports at back panel (blue)

Intel® P67 Express Chipset

 - 12 x USB 2.0 ports (6 ports at mid-board, 6 ports at back panel)

ASUS Unique Features

ASUS Dual Intelligent Processors 2 with DIGI+ VRM:

ASUS EPU

 - EPU, EPU switch

ASUS TPU

 - Auto Tuning, TurboV, TPU switch

ASUS Digital Power Design

 - Industry leading Digital 12+2 Phase Power Design

 - ASUS DIGI+ VRM Utility

ASUS BT GO!

 - Folder Sync, BT Transfer, Shot & Send, BT to Net, Music Player, Personal Manager, BT Turbo Remote

ASUS Exclusive Features

 - MemOK!

 - AI Suite II

 - AI Charger

 - Anti Surge

 - ASUS EFI BIOS EZ Mode featuring friendly graphics user interface

ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution

 - ASUS Fanless Design: Heat-sink solution

 - ASUS Fan Xpert

ASUS EZ DIY

 - ASUS Q-Shield

 - ASUS Q-Connector

 - ASUS O.C. Tuner

 - ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3

 - ASUS EZ Flash 2

ASUS Q-Design

ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)

ASUS Q-Slot

ASUS Q-DIMM

ASUS Exclusive Overclocking Features

Precision Tweaker 2:

 - vCore: Adjustable CPU voltage at 0.005V increment

 - vCCIO: Adjustable I/O voltage at 0.00625V increment

 - vCCSA: 144-step system agent voltage control

 - vDRAM Bus: 160-step  Memory voltage control

 - vPCH: 90-step  Chipset voltage control

 - vCPU_PLL: 160-step  CPU & PCH PLL voltage control

SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection)

 - BCLK/PEG frequency tuning from 80MHz up to 300MHz at 0.1MHz increment

Overclocking Protection:

 - ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)

Back Panel I/O Ports

1 x PS/2 Mouse port (green)

1 x PS/2 Keyboard port (purple)

1 x Coaxial S/PDIF Out port

1 x Optical S/PDIF Out port

1 x Bluetooth module

2 x eSATA ports (1 x Power eSATA)

1 x IEEE1394a port

1 x LAN (RJ45) ports

2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (blue)

6 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports

8-channel Audio I/O ports

Internal I/O Connectors

1 x USB 3.0/2.0 connector supports additional 2 USB ports (19-pin)

3 x USB 2.0/1/1 connectors support additional 6 USB ports

4 x SATA 6.0Gb/s connectors ( 2 x gray; 2 x navy blue)

4 x SATA 3.0Gb/s connectors (blue)

1 x CPU Fan connector (4-pin)

2 x Chassis Fan connectors (1 x 4-pin; 1 x 3-pin)

1 x Power Fan connector (3-pin)

1 x IEEE1394a connector

Front panel audio connector

1 x S/PDIF Out Header

24-pin EATX Power connector

8-pin EATX 12V Power connector

System Panel(Q-Connector)

1 x MemOK! Button

1 x EPU switch

1 x TPU switch

BIOS

32 Mb Flash ROM, EFI AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.5, ACPI 2.0a, Multi-language BIOS,
ASUS EZ Flash 2,  ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3

Manageability

WfM 2.0, DMI 2.0, WOL by PME, WOR by PME, PXE

Accessories

4 x Serial ATA 6.0Gb/s cables

2 x Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s cables

1 x ASUS SLI bridge connector

1 x ASUS USB 3.0 Bracket

ASUS Q-Shield

2 in 1 Q-connector

User's manual

Support DVD

Drivers

ASUS Utilities

ASUS Update

Anti-virus software (OEM version)

Form Factor

ATX Form Factor, 12”x 9.6” (30.5cm x 24.4cm)


Closer look

The ASUS P8P67 Pro is a handsome looking motherboard, filled with tons of features. Many of these features you would have to travel to a competitor’s highest motherboard to get, that is if you get it at all. Cosmetically, the board looks like many of the mid-range motherboards we have seen from ASUS in the past, based on a totally black PCB background covered with shades of blue, white and dark gray ports and slots. Over the years we have seen many manufacturers go to a black PCB, and it is a great move if you ask us as it is certainly more attractive.

The P8P67 Pro sports the new Intel Socket 1155 (not to be confused with the previous Socket 1156) for the Sandy Bridge line of processors. Among the many CPUs to come, its support includes the Core i5 2400S, 2400T, 2500S and 2500T. All of which are 4 core/threads, with a TDP ranging from 45W to 65W. Falling in a higher performance category are the i5 2300, 2400, 2500, 2500k, 2600 and 2600k. All are 95W models, with the first four models having 4 cores/threads, and the 2600 models being Hyper-Threaded with 4 cores/8 threads. The ‘K’ suffix indicates the CPU having an unlocked multiplier. There will be more processors released in the coming months, including a few Core i3 and budget Pentium units.

Surrounding the CPU sockets are two blue passive heat sinks that (that remind us of feathers). They are not tall by any means, but lower profiles coolers may have issues with mounting. Sitting in the corner of the motherboard is the aux 8-pin power connector (in blue). Also present are two 4-pin PWM fan headers, which are nice for all those high end heatsinks with dual fans.

To the right of the CPU sockets are the gray and blue DIMM slots, to indicate the memory channels since this socket utilizes dual-channel. The board runs DDR3 1333/1600 natively but also supports DDR3 up to 2200MHz overclocked, and the Pro will support up to 32GB of ram. For those wanting to get the most from their memory the Pro does offer Intel’s XMP profiling, provided your sticks come with them. The blue pin header you see next to the 24-pin power connector is for the included USB 3.0 rear panel expansion plate. In the corner of the motherboard near the fan header is the EPU switch.

The Pro offers a total of three full length PCIe slots and two PCIe x1 slots for audio or WLAN. Only the blue slot operates at the full x16, and the blue and white slots operate at x8/x8 when running Crossfire or SLI. The bottom black slot only works at x4 so it is not ideal for a graphics card. It is important to note that the last PCIe slot share bandwidth with the SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0 ports, as well as the two PCIe x1 slots.

The P8P67 Pro has a total of 8 SATA ports, with four of them being SATA 6Gb/s (the right dark blue and off-white color): two being powered by the P67 North Bridge and the other two by a Marvel controller. The last four (light blue) are also controlled by the North Bridge and are backed by the Intel Rapid Storage Technology which feeds the board its Raid 0, 1, 5 and 10 support. Missing from the Pro are the on-board power and reset switches as this is saved for the Deluxe and above models.

The rear panel has more connections than could ever possibly need, but the more the merrier right?. We begin with the standard PS/2 ports, with digital audio coaxial and optical S/PDIF connections to their right. Standing out is the blue-tooth module which we will talk more about later. For storage and peripheral connections there are two eSATA ports (one being powered), six USB 2.0 ports and a single Firewire. There are two USB 3.0 ports that you'll find in the typical blue color, and above it sits the Gigabit LAN connection. Last you find the six 3.5mm (1/8") jacks for 7.1 channel audio support.


BIOS

Besides the support for a brand new chipset, one of the most interesting things about this motherboard is the BIOS. The term "new and improved" has never had a better example than this. The EFI BIOS for the P8P6  features a full-blown, mouse capable GUI. No longer do you have to toggle through the BIOS using various keyboard keys, now we can finally use the mouse to quickly move through all the options.

Using the mouse in the BIOS took some getting used to, but not for the reason you'd think. It is because my mouse is set at 1600 DPI for daily Windows use, but in the BIOS it seems to move much faster. Granted this is no big deal since the fact that you can even use the mouse in the BIOS is great. [Editor's Note: Most of you with one will likely already know, but just about all of the higher end and gaming mice have the ability to change their DPI at any time. For my older Razer Copperhead there is a small button on the underside you press to change it's rating, which the mouse lights flash to indicate what level you're at, 1 for lowest and 5 for highest. Again this is just my mouse and can easily change between models, but will obviously be different for other manufacturers!]


EZ Mode - Provides useful information about the system like temperature, voltages and fan speed. You can even choose drive to boot from.


Under Advanced you can enable/disable the features of the CPU.


Under the Monitor tab you can keep a watchful eye on the voltages and temps of the system, which is helpful since this is also where you configure the Q-Fan speeds and profiles.

Main AI Tweaker page for primary tweaks and to enter sub-menus.

AI Tweaker - DRAM Timing sub-menu...


Through the AI Tweaker you have access to many of the options that you will need in order to overclock your CPU and memory. All motherboard tweaking, DIMM timing and CPU power functions are accessible from here.


Key Features

12+2 Phase DIGI+ VRM

12 phases for CPU with 2 dedicated phases for the memory controller. ASUS combines digital and analog VRM into one, allowing for much quicker switching, while also being extremely accurate. With the lack of power loss means everything is running more efficient and there is less heat produced under load.

EPU

With everyone worried about electricity costs, many motherboard manufacturers have adopted some type of option to allow the motherboard to run on less power. ASUS has also done this through the EPU. The option is accessible via the BIOS or through a switch that placed on the motherboard. This feature stably downclocks the system when less processing power is required and also cuts out the unneeded phases, all together decreasing the amount of wattage consumed by the system.

TPU

One of the major reasons for buying a motherboard like the P8P67 Pro is for its overclocking features. With the TPU micro-processor higher overclocks are easier to achieve simply using the TurboV application within the AI Suite, or through an onboard controller. Once the process begins the system will be overclocked to a fast and stable speed that is not from a predetermined value. Each time the process begins it is a unique conclusion.

ASUS BT GO!

Those that are fond of their portable devices will love this new feature from ASUS. Enabling the Bluetooth on your portable opens up a world of adventure with an ASUS compatible motherboard. Through this feature you can now get your portable device online, transfer files from one device to another and sync folders with an external hard drive (with one touch backup function). One feature of the BT GO we think many will like is the music player. With this player you can play all your music from your portable device and output the audio to your PC speakers.


Test Hardware:
Motherboard: ASUS P8P67 Pro
Processor: Intel Core i5 2500K
Ram: Patriot Sector 5 4GB Dual Channel @ DDR3-1333 (9-9-9-24)
Video Card: ASUS Radeon HD 5870
HDD: Hitachi 1TB
Power: Thermaltake Tough Power XT 850 (Sponsored by Thermaltake)
Case: NA
Cooling: Scythe Yasya
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit
Thermal compound: Arctic Silver 5

Overclocking the ASUS P8P67 Pro

When it comes to overclocking the Sandy Bridge CPU the process is different from what most of us are accustomed to. No longer are you able to adjust the BCLK (base clock) to get the advantage of increased bandwidth. This is because Intel has moved the clock generator from the motherboard and integrated it into the CPU. Our only recourse is to raise the CPU Turbo multipliers, but this can only be done within the ‘K’ series processor as they are completely unlocked. For those that opt for the non-‘K’ series you are limited to only being able to increase the Turbo multiplier four multiples from the default.

When it came down to our Intel Core i5 2500K we did not want to give it more than 1.4 voltages since we are not quite familiar with the threshold of this processor. Simply upping the voltage and causally adjusting the Turbo multiplier we finally settled on 47. Being cooled by a moderate Scythe Yasya cooler, the 2500K managed to max out at 4842MHz. The BCLK automatically adjusted itself to 103MHz. We could have dialed it back to an even 100MHz, but things were stable as could be at this point. We must say, that for a CPU with an integrated graphics processor and a default clock of 3.3GHz, a +1.54GHz overclock for an overall speed of 4.84GHz is a mighty fine accomplishment!


Testing

SiSoftware Sandra Lite 2011c 
SiSoftware has always been at the forefront of the technology arena, being among the first providers of benchmarks that show the power of emerging new technologies such as multi-core, GPGPU, OpenCL, DirectCompute, AMD64/EM64T/x64, IA64, NUMA, SMT (Hyper-Threading), SMP (multi-threading), AVX, FMA, SSE4.2, SSE4.1, SSSE3, SSE3, SSE2, SSE, Java and .NET.

Results for P8P67 Pro w/ Core i5 2500K - Sandy Bridge are in RED

AIDA64 Extreme Edition 1.50
FinalWire Ltd. today announced the immediate availability of AIDA64 Extreme Edition 1.50 software, a streamlined diagnostic and benchmarking tool for home users; and the immediate availability of AIDA64 Business Edition 1.50 software, an essential network management solution for small and medium scale enterprises.
The new AIDA64 update implements AVX-optimized benchmarks for the upcoming Intel Sandy Bridge processors, adds a brand new video encoding benchmark, and supports the latest AMD and nVIDIA graphics processors.

Processor Clock @ 3700MHz due to Intel Turbo Boost 

Maxon Cinebench
CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performance capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

Super PI mod1.5 XS
In August 1995, the calculation of pi up to 4,294,960,000 decimal digits was succeeded by using a supercomputer at the University of Tokyo. The program was written by D.Takahashi in collaboration with Dr. Y.Kanada at the computer center. This record should be the current world record. (Details are shown in the windows help.) This record-breaking program was ported to personal computer environment such as Windows NT and Windows 95. In order to calculate 33.55 million digits, it takes within 3 days with a Pentium 90 MHz, 40 MB main memory and 340 MB available storage.


Tech ARP x264 HD 3.15
Simply put, it is a reproducible measure of fast your machine can encode a short HD-quality video clip into a high quality x264 video file. It's nice because everyone running it will use the same video clip and software. The video encoder (x264.exe) reports a fairly accurate internal benchmark (in frames per second) for each pass of the video encode and it also uses multi-core processors very efficiently. All these factors make this an ideal benchmark to compare different processors and systems to each other.

Square Enix Final Fantasy XiV
FINAL FANTASY XIV takes the first intrepid steps into an unknown realm, and in doing soa new place for adventurers of all creeds to call home is born — Eorzea.
In the world of Hydaelyn, the term Eorzea denotes the geographical region comprised of the continent of ldenard and its surrounding islands, as well as the civilization which spawned there. Calling the area home are several independent city-states,the most notable being Limsa Lominsa, bustling port and pirate hub;Ul’dah, a desert city rich in mineral wealth; Gridania, nested deep within an ageless wood; and Ishgard, bastion atop the mountains.


Conclusion

The combination of the new Intel Sandy Bridge and the ASUS P8P67 Pro is a match made in heaven. The technology that comes with the new chipset is definitely a step in the right direction, making the previous P55 a thing of the past. The new micro-architecture blends computing performance and efficiency, but leave it to ASUS to take it to another level. The P8P67 Pro offers several new features that you would be hard press to find in the same price range on a competitor’s motherboard.

Many of us feared the end of overclocking when rumors that Intel was locking the Sandy Bridge CPU. Rumors are one thing, reality is another. With the P8P67 Pro we were able to take the Intel Core i5 2500K far beyond that of any P55 processors we have had in the lab. 4842MHz is nothing to sneeze at, especially when all it took to achieve that was a few simple adjustments to the Turbo multiplier and a voltage bump. More tweaking and better cooling definitely would net a better result.

An old application, but with new and improvements enhancements, the AI Suite is one of the most complete software applications bundled with a motherboard. From within the application you can enable and disable many of the motherboard features such as EPU and TPU . No longer do you have to rely on multiple different applications to overclock your CPU, monitor sensor readings, or upgrade the BIOS. It is all taken care in the AI Suite.

With there being 16 PCIe lanes sporting 5GT/s of bandwidth for graphic cards, the P67 is an ideal solution for those that want to run a higher-end graphics card. Now the P8P67 does support CrossFireX and SLi, but this do mean that the use of dual slots will lower the slots to x8/x8, but this is comparable to x16/x16 on the previous generation P57 chipset since it only had 2.5GT/s bandwidth. Still, it is nice to know the option is there if you want to add more GPU to your gaming rig.

The most notable feature to us from the P8P67 Pro was the UEFI BIOS. The new BIOS standard does away with the keyboard only navigated simplistic interface we all are accustomed to. Now you can venture through the BIOS in a much quicker manner using the mouse. The BIOS is far more pleasant to look at as well since the GUI upgrade is ten times better than the previous versions.

One of the last features we will talk about in this conclusion is the EPU and TPU features. For those that want more performance the TPU can automatically overclock the system for you in a matter of minutes. On the flip side, if you are one that is worried about the power bill at the end of the month, then the EPU can shut down aspects of the motherboard and processor to for better efficiency.

The ASUS P8P67 Pro and all its features will retail for about $190 putting it inside the mid-range price point.

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