A Closer Look at the P8P67 PRO
A Closer Look at the P8P67 PRO
Unlike some manufacturers, ASUS have stayed faithful to their past design philosophy, and aside from the new chipset cooler, this new motherboard could be mistaken for a previous P7P55D model.
As we have come to expect from ASUS, this motherboard has a near perfect layout. The 8-pin CPU power connector, 24-pin ATX power connector, EPU & TPU switches, eight SATA ports, USB 2.0 and FireWire headers are all ideally located on the edges of the motherboard. We do wish the front panel USB 3.0 header was located at the very bottom of the motherboard, instead of below the memory slots where it makes routing to the 2-port expansion bracket a little difficult. This slight complaint will be negated if/when ASUS sells the Front Panel USB 3.0 Box separately.
The P8P67 PRO is based on the new LGA1155 socket, which is frankly indistinguishable from the previous LGA1156 socket. This similarity, while frustrating to consumers, is actually beneficial since LGA1155 mounting holes are identical to the LGA1156 holes, so users can re-use previous CPU coolers and mounting brackets. The MOSFET heatsinks are milled aluminium, and don't make use of heatpipes, but they do a very good at keeping VRM temperatures in check. They also feature a low profile design, so installation issues are highly unlikely with any well-designed heatsink. There is a good amount of clearance room between the socket and the various capacitors that surround it, so insulating the motherboard for sub-zero overclocking shouldn't pose any problems.
This motherboard has been blessed with the brand new DIGI+ VRM 12+2 phase digital power design,
with 12 phases dedicated to the CPU core, and 2 phases for the memory controller I/O. Combined with this new DIGI+ VRM hardware are the Dual Intelligent Processors 2 (DIP2), consisting of the independent EPU (Energy Processing Unit) and TPU (TurboV Processing Unit) controllers. Thanks to the digital VRM and the TPU controller, this motherboard has extremely precise 0.005V voltage increments, five levels of Load-Line Calibration (LLC), very fast VRM phase switching with fine 10KHz switching frequency adjustments, all of which help greatly when trying to achieve the best possible Sandy Bridge overclock. The EPU controller monitors CPU loading and controls the number of active power phases, while also adjusting the voltages and multipliers on-the-fly in order to regulate power consumption. It is also connected to the chipset and memory VRMs, and optimizes their power efficiency as well. The main benefits of this new DIP2 design are that you can have full control over the system settings without using any CPU resources, and it’s no longer necessary to choose between power management (EPU) and overclocking (TPU).
For those who are curious, the P8P67 PRO is outfitted with both a Foxconn socket and retention module. Aside from one isolated case, there has been no mention of burnt/melted pins with Sandy Bridge, so this a moot issue on this platform.
The DDR3 memory slots support overclocked memory frequencies up to DDR3-2200, and are fed by a 2-phase power design. We are glad to see that ASUS are continuing the user-friendly Q-DIMM memory slot design, which is clip-less on one end. The reason for this innovative design is to prevent the memory clips from coming into contact with the back of an expansion bracket, or just to make DIMM removal simpler.
In the top-right corner are the EPU on/off switch and MemOk! button, the latter can be used to fix any memory compatibility issues in order allow the system to boot. The 24-pin ATX power connector is right on the edge of the motherboard, exactly where it should be.
The NEC D720200F1 has been the de facto USB 3.0 controller on the majority of USB 3.0-enabled motherboards, and in this case it supplies the front panel USB 3.0 header.
We are very pleased to see that ASUS have outfitted this motherboard with a removable BIOS chip. This is not quite as good as a dual BIOS approach, but if there's a mishap, it is a heck of a lot simpler to simpler to swap a BIOS chip than it is to ship a motherboard back to the manufacturer.
The H67 PCH heatsink is a fairly standard aluminium affair, but it does add a little positive design points to the motherboard's overall appeal. The P67 chipset has a low 6.1W TDP, so this low-profile cooler has no problems dissipating the heat output.
The aforementioned TPU (TurboV Processing Unit) controller is capable of real-time monitoring and adjustment of system settings, and is responsible for features like AutoTuning, CPU Level UP, MemOK!, OC Tuner, and TurboV EVO.
This motherboard features 8 right-angle SATA ports, 6 of which are supplied by the Intel P67 chipset. The 4 light blue ports are SATA II 3Gb/s and the 2 light grey ports are SATA III 6Gb/s, they all support Intel Rapid Storage Technology in the form of RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10. The 2 navy blue ports are SATA III 6Gb/s as well, but are courtesy of the Marvell 9128 controller.
Near the bottom-right corner, you can spot the power LED and antiquated blue jumper which is used to clear the CMOS. There are also three USB headers good for an additional six USB 2.0 ports.
The TPU switch can be used to manually engage the OC Tuner auto-overclocking option without having to enter the BIOS.
The onboard audio is provided by a slightly newer Realtek ALC892, an 8-channel High Definition audio codec that supports DTS Surround Sensation UltraPC.
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