Gigabyte Z68 board pops up in Taiwan

Giving credence to rumors that Intel's Z68 chipset will be launching soon, Gigabyte's Z68X-UD7-B3 has reportedly gone on sale in Taiwan. The original coverage by Xfastest appears to have been removed, but Engadget managed to snag a few details, including a picture of the board's retail box. Although box art doesn't reveal much, it does mention a Touch BIOS and Hybrid EFI Technology.

Finally, Gigabyte looks ready to join the EFI party. Asus, Intel, and MSI adopted the new BIOS technology on their first Sandy Bridge motherboards, and Asus' implementation set the bar pretty high. Gigabyte has a lot of catching up to do on this front.

The Z68X-UD7-B3 is said to be selling for 11,900 New Taiwan dollars, which translates to about $409. Obviously, the street price of pre-release hardware in Taiwan may not reflect what you'll pay for the board when it arrives stateside. Hardware prices seem to run a little high in Taiwan, too, with the Core i7-2600K selling for 10,600 NTD ($364) at one online retailer. (The same CPU costs $315 at Newegg.) I wouldn't count on the Z68 board being particularly cheap Stateside, though. Newegg currently charges $330 for a UD7 model from Gigabyte's P67 lineup. One would expect Z68 designs to be more expensive than P67 offerings, which can't combine discrete graphics cards with Sandy Bridge's QuickSync video-encoding acceleration.

Intel's Z68 chipset is expected to allow discrete GPUs to coexist with QuickSync. With a little help from Lucid's Virtu software, Intel's H67 chipset already does. Unfortunately, the H67 is locked out of fiddling with Sandy Bridge's CPU multipliers, even with fully unlocked K-series chips. It seems unlikely that a $400 enthusiast board would carry a similar limitation.

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