Introduction, Package, Layout
The Intel Sandy Bridge motherboard train keeps on rolling with today's review of GIGABYTE's P67A-UD7. The P67A-UD7 is a top of the line LGA1155 motherboard themed in a black and gold design, and packed full of GIGABYTE's latest and greatest technologies. So let's get things started and see what it's got in store for us!
GIGABYTE's P67A-UD7 supports the latest dual and quad core Intel Sandy Bridge processors (LGA1155). It features eight SATA ports (four SATA 3.0, four SATA 2.0) with RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 support, a 24 power phase design, four DDR3 memory slots with support for XMP profiles and speeds up to 2133MHz, ten SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports (six rear, four front), GIGABYTE DualBIOS technology and dual Realtek Gigabit LAN connectivity. It also has three PCI-Express 2.0 x16/x8 slots, allowing for true 3-way CrossFireX and SLI configurations, all while conforming to an ATX Form Factor measuring in at 30.5cm x 24.4cm.
In the box we find two sets of SATA cables (four in total), two black eSATA cables, black Molex power extension cables for the PCI eSATA/Molex back-plate, 2/3-way NVIDIA SLI bridge, a lengthy CrossFireX cable, as well as the usual set of manuals, stickers, driver/software DVD and motherboard I/O back-plate. While the set of accessories is quite nice, we would have liked enough SATA cables to fill all the SATA ports, as well as them being black in colour to match the stealthy black PCB design.
GIGABYTE P67A-UD7 layout and system block diagram:
GIGABYTE P67A-UD7 product specifications:
GIGABYTE's P67A-UD7 includes a impressive array of connectors starting with no less than six USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports with another two being combo eSATA/USB 2.0 ports, with the eSATA ports both being powered. A 6-circuit and 4-circuit alpha FireWire 400 connector is also present alongside a combo PS/2 keyboard/mouse port. There's also dual gigabit Ethernet connectivity thanks to the pair of Realtek RTL8111E controllers. In addition to the coaxial and optical S/PDIF connectors, there is a set of six analogue 3.5mm outputs driven by Realtek's ALC889 audio solution, supporting 7.1 channel output and Dolby Home Theatre audio enhancements.
The motherboard layout is fairly well organised and PCI-Express slots are spread out evenly, reducing the need for any tricky CrossFireX and SLI configurations. All key ATX power, SATA and external connections are pushed to the edges of the motherboard reducing the chance of any interference from longer video cards, RAID cards or TV tuners. The cooling solution implemented on the UD7 is low enough as not to interfere with any video cards and the majority of popular CPU cooling solutions. Unfortunately the top PCI-E x1 slot is only able to be utilised by products that sport a short PCB design due to the Northbridge heat-sink being significantly taller than the low-profile Southbridge heatsink.
Here are a few more shots of the motherboard: