Asus’ P8H67-I Deluxe Mini-ITX motherboard

One of the best parts of this job is getting to watch technology progress from one generation to the next. Although fresh products aren’t always better than the ones they replace, the overall trend is a positive one. The new hotness tends to offer better performance, lower power consumption, and more integrated features than last year’s old and busted.

In the realm of build-your-own PCs, nowhere has the forward march of technology paid bigger dividends than among Mini-ITX systems. The industry’s relatively newfound focus on power-efficient performance is perfectly suited to the shoebox-sized systems built around the form factor. Potent CPUs and graphics cards are now readily available with the sort of tight power envelopes needed for claustrophobic Mini-ITX enclosures. Thanks to core-logic chipsets with expanding peripheral payloads and motherboard makers that are always finding new ways to add connectivity options, the limited expansion capacity of the midget mobo standard isn’t the impediment it once was.

At first glance, Asus’ P8H67-I Deluxe looks to be the most advanced Mini-ITX motherboard to date. Despite a footprint that’s smaller than 7″ x 7″, the Deluxe lives up to its name with a Sandy Bridge socket, a full-sized PCI Express x16 slot, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, Asus’ slick UEFI replacement for the BIOS, and a whopping four USB 3.0 ports. That’s a lot to squeeze into such diminutive dimensions, but Asus manages to do a neat and tidy job.

The key to fitting everything on the board is Asus’ decision to use notebook-style SO-DIMM slots. These puppies are a little more than half the length of full-sized DIMM slots, saving precious real estate for auxiliary peripherals. Regardless of what Apple’s online store would have you believe, notebook memory is pretty cheap these days. You’ll pay just $70 for a Kingston dual-channel kit loaded with 8GB of DDR3-1333 SO-DIMMs. Desktop DIMMs with the same speed, timings, and capacity will actually cost you a few dollars more.

Obviously, clearances are a big concern when building a Mini-ITX system. Cases often have restrictions when it comes to the height of CPU heatsinks and the length and width of discrete graphics cards.

On the Deluxe, you also need to worry about the socket’s close proximity to the PCI Express x16 slot, which will prevent some CPU coolers from working alongside expansion cards. That’s really the board’s only potential pitfall on the clearance front. All of the surface-mounted components keep a low profile and should stay out of the way.

A generous six-phase power array graces the Deluxe: three are dedicated to the CPU core, plus one each to its uncore component, integrated GPU, and the DRAM slots. Asus covers the power regulation circuitry with a low-slung heatsink that looks like it’s been poured onto the board. This finned piece of metal also covers the H67 Express platform hub, and I’m a little leery about the chipset getting warmed when heavy CPU loads spool up the VRMs. There don’t appear to be heatpipes involved, so you can probably isolate the chipset’s heatsink with a few minutes of Dremel work. Unless you’re running loads of I/O through the PCH or a particularly power-hungry CPU (keep in mind that the H67 doesn’t allow CPU multiplier adjustments for easy overclocking), I doubt such surgery will be required.

To the left of the heatsink’s tallest point sit four Serial ATA ports that are color-coded by speed. The white ones are 6Gbps, while the blues run at half that speed. If you’re thinking of building a small-form-factor storage server, note that Zotac’s comparable H67-ITX takes advantage of all six of the H67’s SATA ports. Asus taps one more, but sends it to an eSATA connector in the rear cluster.

Among other things, the rear cluster plays host to the antenna connectors for the integrated Atheros 802.11n Wi-Fi card. The Mini PCIe slot that hosts the card doesn’t have clearance for anything longer. Just below it sits a front-panel connector for one of the two NEC USB 3.0 controllers that populate the board.

The second controller feeds a pair of SuperSpeed ports in the main cluster. In addition to a trio of video outputs for Sandy Bridge’s integrated graphics, you also get a PS/2 throwback and a sadly unpowered eSATA connector. The purple nurple at the top of the red USB ports is a Bluetooth 3.0 radio, which seems particularly appropriate for a motherboard likely to be paired with wireless peripherals sitting across the room on the couch.

Audio is important for home-theater PCs, and the Deluxe could do better in this regard. Like everyone else, Asus is using a Realtek ALC892 audio codec. Pristine digital audio can be passed to a compatible receiver or speakers via the S/PDIF or HDMI outputs, but that’ll only deliver surround sound with pre-encoded content like movies—not games. If you have a pair of stereo speakers or headphones, the Deluxe at least offers virtualization via DTS Surround Sensation.

Firmware and software

At the Computex trade show a few weeks ago, I was told that Asus had about 100 R&D engineers working on its UEFI replacement for the BIOS. Boy does it show. Since debuting with 6-series motherboards for Sandy Bridge CPUs, Asus’ UEFI implementation has consistently outclassed not only competing takes on the new firmware technology, but also attempts to drag old-school BIOSes into the next generation.

The appeal of Asus’ UEFI is twofold. There’s the eye candy, of course. UEFI allows for graphical user interfaces that are much nicer to look at than the two-tone, text-only screens of a typical BIOS. Nowhere is UEFI’s interface potential better illustrated than in the EZ Mode screen, which provides a handful of very high-level performance tweaking options with a side of system monitoring and the ability to drag-and-drop devices to arrange the boot priority.

Serious enthusiasts will want to skip EZ Mode and dip into the UEFI’s advanced display, which looks like a prettied up version of Asus’ old BIOS interface. While it’s tempting to ding the company for not going wild with the GUI intended for enthusiasts, I appreciate having a familiar interface and organization of elements. The advanced look still feels very next-gen thanks to slick skinning, and it’s quick to navigate with the mouse—wheel and all.

Mouse input is another big feature of UEFI implementations, and Asus’ is the best by far. The UEFI is incredibly responsive, and unlike some other UEFI implementations we’ve used, it exhibits no cursor flickering or laggy input.

With the H67 Express chipset denied the ability to fiddle with Sandy Bridge multipliers, there isn’t all that much to do in the UEFI. One can overclock the IGP and base clock, of course, and there’s a mess of voltages to tweak. Don’t forget about the fan speed controls, which are among the best in the business.

I call out motherboards for poor fan speed controls with regularity, so it’s only fair that I give props for doing things right… or at least better. The Deluxe allows users to change the upper and lower temperature limits for the CPU fan and a peak threshold for the system fan. Control over the minimum and maximum speed of both fans is also provided. I’d like to see a little more on this front, especially when it comes to defining how aggressively the fans respond to changes in temperatures. To Asus’ credit, there’s an app for that.

FAN Xpert is included with Asus’ AI Suite of Windows utilities, and it provides additional control over the behavior of fans connected to the motherboard’s headers. Using the app, one can set an intermediate point between each fan’s high and low limits. I’d like a few more points to work with, but this is a good start, and Asus has shown a definite desire to continue improving the fan controls available on its boards. For models like the P8H67-I Deluxe, which seems ripe for the living room, robust fan speed controls are a must.

Overclocking options aren’t as important for this class of motherboard, but they’re offered in AI Suite’s TurboV EVO component. This auto-tuner will take care of boosting clocks on Sandy Bridge’s integrated GPU, but don’t expect much. The Sandy Bridge IGP has issues that can’t be fixed by jacking the clock speed alone. If you want a real graphics upgrade, the Deluxe has a PCI Express x16 slot that will readily accept a proper graphics card.

Although Asus’ Windows software is really rather good, it’s cheapened by an advertisement for Norton Internet Security 2011. This bright yellow screen is the first thing that pops up whenever you load up the menu on the driver CD, and I hope Symantec paid handsomely for the billboard. Don’t get your hopes up for a full version of Norton’s latest software, either; it’s just a 60-day trial. The installer keeps that little detail to itself until Norton has finished installing. Yeah, that’s special.

Digging into the details

If you’re already familiar with our test methods and don’t need a detailed rundown of the P8H67-I Deluxe’s specifications and UEFI options, feel free to skip ahead to the performance results.

Clock speeds Base: 80-300MHz in 0.1MHz steps
IGP: 1100-3000MHz in 50MHz steps

DRAM: 800-2400MHz in 266MHz steps

Multipliers NA
Voltages CPU:
-0.315-+0.635V in 0.005V steps
IGP: -0.315-+0.635V in 0.005V
steps

CPU PLL: 1.8, 1.9V

DRAM: 1.185-2.135V in 0.005V steps

PCH: 0.735-1.685V in 0.005V steps

CCIO: 0.735-1.685V in 0.005V steps

Fan control CPU upper temp: 20-75°C in 1°C steps

CPU lower temp: 20-75°C in 1°C steps

CPU max duty cycle: 20-100% in 1% steps

CPU min duty cycle: 0-100% in 1% steps

System upper temp: 40-90°C in 1°C steps

System max duty cycle: 60-100% in 1% steps

System max duty cycle: 60-100% in 1% steps

That’s a lotta voltage control for a board that really isn’t meant for overclocking. The UEFI does, however, let you undervolt the CPU and IGP to reduce power consumption.

CPU power 3+1+1+1
DIMM slots
2 DDR3-1333 SO-DIMM
Expansion slots 1 PCIe x16
Storage I/O 2 6Gbps SATA RAID

2 3Gbps SATA RAID

Audio 8-channel HD via Realtek ALC892
Ports 1 PS/2 keyboard/keyboard
1 VGA
1 DVI
1 HDMI

1 eSATA

2 USB 3.0 w/ 2 headers via NEC 2 x D720200F1

4 USB 2.0 w/ 2 headers
1 RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet
via Realtek RTL8111E

1 analog front out

1 analog bass/center out

1 analog rear out

1 analog surround out

1 analog mic in

1 analog line in

1 optical S/PDIF output

The spec sheet really isn’t that impressive until you realize that Asus packs everything onto a Mini-ITX board.

Our testing methods

Zotac’s Mini-ITX H67-ITX is the P8H67-I Deluxe’s most comparable rival, and the showdown between them will be the focus of our performance testing. To add a little intrigue, I’ve also included results from our Z68 motherboard round-up. Keeping up with another midget is one thing, but the real test of the Deluxe’s mettle will be whether it can compete with full-sized desktop boards.

Note that we used 4GB of memory in the Deluxe but 8GB in the other systems. Alas, I don’t have a pair of 4GB SO-DIMMs in the Benchmarking Sweatshop. Nothing in our test suite should benefit from having more than 4GB of system memory, though.

With few exceptions, all tests were run at least three times, and we reported the median of the scores produced.

Processor Intel Core i7-2600K 3.4GHz
Motherboard Asus P8H67-I
Deluxe
Zotac H67-ITX Asus P8P67 PRO Asus Sabertooth P67 Asus P8Z68-V PRO Gigabyte
Z68X-UD3H-B3
MSI Z68A-GD80
Bios revision 0502 1106 1502 1502 8801 F2d E7672IMS V17.0B17
Platform hub Intel
H67 Express
Intel
H67 Express
Intel P67 Express Intel P67 Express Intel
Z68 Express
Intel
Z68 Express
Intel
Z68 Express
Chipset drivers Chipset: 9.2.0.1025

RST: 10.1

Chipset: 9.2.0.1025

RST: 10.1

Chipset: 9.2.0.1025

RST: 10.1

Chipset: 9.2.0.1025

RST: 10.1

Chipset: 9.2.0.1025

RST: 10.5

Chipset: 9.2.0.1025

RST: 10.5

Chipset: 9.2.0.1025

RST: 10.5

Memory size 4GB (2 DIMMs) 8GB (2 DIMMs) 8GB (2 DIMMs) 8GB (2 DIMMs) 8GB (2 DIMMs) 8GB (2 DIMMs) 8GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type Samsung DDR3
SDRAM a
t
1333MHz
Corsair Vengeance DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz Corsair Vengeance DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz Corsair Vengeance DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz Corsair Vengeance DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz Corsair Vengeance DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz Corsair Vengeance DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz
Memory timings
9-9-9-24-1T

9-9-9-24-1T

9-9-9-24-1T
9-9-9-24-1T 9-9-9-24-1T 9-9-9-24-1T 9-9-9-24-1T
Audio Realtek ALC892 with 2.59 drivers Realtek ALC892 with 2.59 drivers Realtek ALC892 with 2.59 drivers Realtek ALC892 with 2.59 drivers Realtek ALC892 with 2.59 drivers Realtek ALC892 with 2.59 drivers Realtek ALC892 with 2.59 drivers
Graphics Asus EAH5870 1GB with Catalyst 11.3 drivers
Hard drive Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB
Power Supply PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750W
OS Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64

We’d like to thank Asus, Corsair, and Western Digital for helping to outfit our test rigs with some of the finest hardware available. Thanks to each of the motherboard makers for supplying their boards, too, and to Intel for providing the CPU.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

The test systems’ Windows desktop was set at 1280×1024 in 32-bit color at a 60Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.

All the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.

Memory performance

We’ll kick things off with a look at memory subsystem performance. Will the P8H67-I Deluxe’s SO-DIMM slots slow it down?

Nope. The notebook memory modules we used in the Deluxe run at the same frequency and timings as our desktop DIMMs. With the Core i7-2600K’s memory controller shared between all the motherboards, there are no gaps of note to report.

While all our testing was conducted with a discrete graphics card installed, activating the Sandy Bridge IGP doesn’t have much of an impact on memory subsystem performance.

Application performance

The Radeon HD 5870 in our test systems is quite a bit faster than the Sandy Bridge IGP in games, though. The Mini-ITX boards are right in the thick of things, but you might be wondering why the Z68 models are so much slower. Lucid’s Virtu software, which helps the Z68 Express work its magic, has a couple of modes with different levels of graphics performance. The default configuration we used for testing offers error-free QuickSync support but doesn’t take advantage of game-specific optimizations built into the Radeon’s graphics driver.

Incidentally, Virtu does work with the H67 Express chipset. The software must be licensed by the motherboard maker, though, and neither Asus nor Zotac support it on their Mini-ITX boards. It would be nice if Lucid sold Virtu to end users directly, but the company seems more interested in licensing it to motherboard makers for use on select models.

Another thing I should note is that the Asus P67 and Z68 boards let the Turbo multiplier climb to 38X with four-core loads. The Core i7-2600K’s 38X multiplier is supposed to be reserved for when only one core is active, while 35X is the limit when all four cores are lit up. Oddly, this multiplier boost only happens if you set the memory multiplier manually. Since we did, the Sabertooth P67, P8P67 PRO, and P8Z68-V PRO all have a bit of an advantage in our performance tests.

That edge is apparent through our application tests. Among boards running the CPU at the same speed, the P8H67-I Deluxe is very competitive.

Power consumption

We measured system power consumption, sans monitor and speakers, at the wall outlet using a Watts Up Pro power meter. Readings were taken at idle and under a load consisting of a Cinebench 11.5 render alongside the rthdribl HDR lighting demo. We tested with Windows 7’s High Performance and Balanced power plans.

All the boards ship with power-saving features that can be enabled via the BIOS or Windows software. We tested each with these features enabled and disabled. The results with parentheses (which contain the name of each mobo maker’s power-saving mojo) refer to the configurations optimized for energy efficiency.

Although the P8H67-I Deluxe gobbles up five more watts at idle than its Zotac counterpart, the Asus consumes 13W less under load. Keep in mind that the Deluxe has to power a few more integrated peripherals—a Bluetooth module and a second USB 3.0 controller—than the H67-ITX.

As the results under load attest, it’s absolutely worth flipping the EPU switch in the Deluxe’s UEFI. Doing so will only save about a watt at idle, but it cut our system’s socket draw under load by nearly 7% without throttling the CPU.

Motherboard peripheral performance

Our last stop on the testing front is the wonderful world of onboard peripherals.

HD Tach USB 3.0 performance
Read burst

speed (MB/s)

Average read

speed (MB/s)

Average write

speed (MB/s)

CPU utilization

(%)

Asus P8P67 PRO 220.9 176.6 57.9 2.0
Asus Sabertooth P67 221.2 177.0 58.3 2.0

Asus P8Z68-V PRO
198.0 173.0 61.6 2.0

Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H-B3
167.3 166.1 62.9 3.0

MSI Z68A-GD80
174.1 161.5 55.1 2.0

Zotac H67-ITX

195.9

156.1

53.8

2.0

Asus P8H67-I Deluxe

169.6

163.1

55.5

2.0

The Deluxe’s USB 3.0 burst speeds aren’t as quick as some of the other boards. However, its sustained transfer rates are competitive with the desktop models and a little quicker than Zotac’s Mini-ITX offering.

HD Tach USB 2.0 performance
Read burst

speed (MB/s)

Average read

speed (MB/s)

Average write

speed (MB/s)

CPU utilization

(%)

Asus P8P67 PRO 35.1 35.0 25.2 2.0
Asus Sabertooth P67 35.1 35.0 25.2 2.0

Asus P8Z68-V PRO
36.4 34.2 24.1 2.0

Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H-B3
37.5 34.8 24.8 2.0

MSI Z68A-GD80
36.3 34.9 23.3 1.0

Zotac H67-ITX

36.2

35.2

22.9

3.0

Asus P8H67-I Deluxe

36.4

34.0

24.2

1.0

Measuring USB 2.0 performance is sort of like lining up a bunch of minivans for a drag race. One may emerge the winner, but they all lose.

HD Tune Serial ATA performance – VelociRaptor
Read Write
Burst (MB/s) Average (MB/s) Random 4KB (ms) Burst (MB/s) Average (MB/s) Random 4KB (ms)
Asus P8P67 PRO 292.1 129.9 7.0 292.3 125.9 2.7
Asus P8P67 PRO (Marvell) 235.6 129.9 7.2 238.9 114.8 2.6
Asus Sabertooth P67 294.2 129.9 7.0 294.1 125.8 2.7
Asus Sabertooth P67 (Marvell) 235.4 129.9
7.2
234.4 127.2 2.7

Asus P8Z68-V PRO
288.3 129.6 7.2 280.1 122.9 2.7

Asus P8Z68-V PRO (Marvell)
203.3 129.7 7.2 203.9 123.3 2.6

Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H-B3
276.0 129.6 7.2 284.0 123.8 2.7

Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H-B3 (GSATA)
177.4 129.8 7.2 178.8 121.7 2.5

MSI Z68A-GD80
234.7 129.8 7.2 264.3 123.6 2.6

MSI Z68A-GD80 (Marvell)
195.0 129.0 7.2 197.5 85.5 2.6

Zotac H67-ITX

225.8

129.4

7.2

233.4

123.7

2.6

Asus P8H67-I Deluxe

264.3

129.5

7.2

262.0

124.0

2.6

While it isn’t quite as fast as the quickest desktop boards in our first round of SATA performance tests, the P8H67-I Deluxe is barely off the pace and still a step ahead of the H67-ITX. Of course, if you’re really interested in disk performance, you’ll want to know what happens when we plug in an SSD.

HD Tune Serial ATA performance – Vertex 3
Read Write
Burst (MB/s) Average (MB/s) Random 4KB (ms) Burst (MB/s) Average (MB/s) Random 4KB (ms)
Asus P8P67 PRO 387.8 383.1 0.05 348.1 279.6 0.06
Asus P8P67 PRO (Marvell) 263.0 261.3 0.07 241.8 130.6 0.09
Asus Sabertooth P67 388.7 383.7 0.07 346.4 278.5 0.07
Asus Sabertooth P67 (Marvell) 261.3 258.8 0.08 238.1 167.9 0.10

Asus P8Z68-V PRO
381.3 375.0 0.06 340.3 252.0 0.06

Asus P8Z68-V PRO (Marvell)
232.2 243.5 0.09 210.5 152.5 0.11

Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H-B3
383.9 378.5 0.06 325.5 210.3 0.06

Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H-B3 (GSATA)
193.9 194.5 0.06 175.2 136.5 0.08

MSI Z68A-GD80
367.2 362.1 0.06 321.9 234.1 0.07

MSI Z68A-GD80 (Marvell)
208.4 213.5 0.11 200.8 97.9 0.14

Zotac H67-ITX

378.7

371.5

0.06

334.5

236.9

0.07

Asus P8H67-I Deluxe

381.0

376.3

0.07

324.2

246.3

0.07

The Deluxe turns in another strong showing. Once more, it offers a few more MB/s than Zotac’s Mini-ITX spin on the H67 Express.

NTttcp Ethernet performance
Throughput (Mbps) CPU utilization (%)
Asus P8P67 PRO 934.6 1.8
Asus Sabertooth P67 938.3 1.8

Asus P8Z68-V PRO
940.6 1.9

Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H-B3
944.5 3.9

MSI Z68A-GD80 (1)
943.9 3.7

MSI Z68A-GD80 (2)
937.1 3.4

Zotac H67-ITX

934.0

4.1

Asus P8H67-I Deluxe

946.1

3.4

On a number of its ATX boards, Asus has been using an Intel PHY chip to tap the Gigabit Ethernet controller buried within 6-series chipsets. A standalone Realtek controller is cheaper to implement, and that’s what you’ll find on the Deluxe. The Realtek chip offers the highest throughput of the bunch without sacrificing more than a couple of percentage points of CPU utilization.

RightMark Audio Analyzer audio quality
Frequency response Noise level Dynamic range THD THD + Noise IMD + Noise Stereo Crosstalk IMD at 10kHz Overall score
Asus P8P67 PRO 5 4 4 5 3 5 5 5 4
Asus Sabertooth P67 5 4 4 5 3 5 5 5 4

Asus P8Z68-V PRO
5 4 5 3 5 5 5 5 4

Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H-B3
5 5 5 5 3 5 5 5 5

MSI Z68A-GD80
5 4 4 5 3 5 5 5 4

Zotac H67-ITX
5 4 4 5 3 5 5 5 4

Asus P8H67-I Deluxe

5

4

4

4

3

4

5

4

4

Although Asus says it’s using more capacitors than its competitors to improve audio output quality, RMAA’s “loopback” test of 24-bit, 192kHz audio piped from the analog front speaker output to the line input doesn’t reveal any tangible benefits. Anyone seeking the best possible audio quality should skip the analog outs and use the S/PDIF or HDMI ports—or forgo a discrete graphics card and pop a sound card into the board’s x16 slot.

Conclusions

The P8H67-I Deluxe manages to squeeze more features into a Mini-ITX form factor than an awful lot of full-sized ATX mobos spread across a much larger surface area. As far as I can tell, the only sacrifices Asus has made are dropping a couple of internal SATA ports and swapping traditional DIMM slots for notebook-style SO-DIMMs. Neither decision really taints the board; SO-DIMMs are even cheaper than desktop equivalents, and four SATA ports should be plenty for the sort of Mini-ITX system one might want to pair with a Sandy Bridge CPU.

Otherwise, the Deluxe gets just about everything right. The integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are perfectly suited to Mini-ITX systems, and having rear and front-panel USB 3.0 connectivity is a treat. Then there’s Asus’ phenomenal UEFI, which offers a responsive interface and good fan speed controls for obsessive types (like me) looking to optimize their systems for silent operation. Over time, let’s hope the additional fan controls Asus provides via Windows software migrate into the UEFI.

On the performance front, this tiny mobo has no trouble keeping up with full-sized desktop models based on Intel’s finest Sandy Bridge chipsets. If I could make just one change, I’d swap out the H67 for a Z68 platform hub just to get QuickSync transcoding acceleration alongside CPU multiplier control. Unless you’re going to overclock, though, the H67 is really quite capable.

At the moment, Newegg is selling the P8H67-I Deluxe for $160—$15 more than the H67-ITX. I wouldn’t hesitate to pay the premium. The integrated extras and superior UEFI easily justify the extra scratch, making the Deluxe the most compelling Mini-ITX platform we’ve tested for Sandy Bridge CPUs.

Comments closed
    • flip-mode
    • 8 years ago

    Needs four RAM slots for 16GB. Then it would be 11 out of 10.

      • UberGerbil
      • 8 years ago

      But then you wouldn’t be able to get one because Nigel Tufnel would’ve bought them all.

      • Airmantharp
      • 8 years ago

      Make a great server wouldn’t it? Could throw a PCIe RAID card and hook some drives up to it too (assuming you need more than four).

        • flip-mode
        • 8 years ago

        I was thinking it would make a terrific low-end professional workstation. Put 16 GB on there and a modest professional graphics card and a i5 2500 or i7 2600 and you’re off to the races.

    • Chamjask
    • 8 years ago

    From the article “The industry’s relatively newfound focus on power-efficient performance”… so I wonder just how much power the board consumes? Why aren’t there any metrics listed at all?

    • indeego
    • 8 years ago

    You guys use different gif compression in your graphs this time around? Looks odd for some reason. ohwell.

      • wibeasley
      • 8 years ago

      It looks fine to me in Chrome and IE9 in Win7, and FF in Ubuntu 11.04. Are you at 100% zoom?

    • End User
    • 8 years ago

    Ditch the following:

    – PS/2
    – VGA
    – DVI

      • derFunkenstein
      • 8 years ago

      I dunno that I’d ditch DVI (many monitors don’t have anything but DVI, and you can combine DVI + VGA into a DVI-I port), but I’d certainly ditch VGA standalone in favor of DisplayPort and ditch PS/2 in favor of more USB ports.

        • End User
        • 8 years ago

        The DVI connector is massive. The space could be used for cooler things.

        HDMI can handle output to both DVI and VGA displays via an adapter.

          • obarthelemy
          • 8 years ago

          HDMI to DVI is fairly straightforward, basically a dumb dongle.
          HDMI to VGA is, I think, much more complicated, since it involves a digital-to-analog conversion. I don’t think HDMI carries analog signals at all.
          DVI to HDMI *and* to VGA is very easy, since the DVI-I variant carries both digital (DVI-D) and analog (DVI-A) signals: only a dumb dongle is required for both DVI-I ->HDMI and DVI-I->VGA, as long as the motherboard does offer DVI-I, and not simply DVI-D or DVI-A.

          Which is why, I think, many recent motherboards have both HDMI and DVI-I. This way they offer both the highest-functionnality interface (HDMI), and a regular DVI-I one with legacy analog compatibility (great for industrial use, kiosks, projectors…), and modern digital output for dual LCDs.

            • End User
            • 8 years ago

            Both DVI and VGA are dead in 2015. Both are considered legacy. VGA on a consumer device is just ridiculous. DisplayPort and HDMI only from now on.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 8 years ago

          No, I don’t think HDMI -> VGA is possible without conversion (and cost), and it TOTALLY defeats the purpose of HDCP..

      • swaaye
      • 8 years ago

      I think a DVI-I connector would be fine instead of VGA + DVI-D. Both analog and digital included. Just plug in one of your 500 spare DVI-VGA adapters if need be.

    • Chrispy_
    • 8 years ago

    I was also annoyed by the Norton advertisment on recent purchase of as ASUS P67 board. I popped the disc in and for a minute assumed that I’d opened the wrong CD envelope. After all, worthless or trial antivirus has been pointlessly included with motherboards as far back as I can remember buying them.

    The minute anyone discovers it’s a trial rather than a promotional gift, they just uninstall it and make a mental note to avoid it in future for such low-hitting and underhanded lack of disclosure. How is this positive for marketing reasons?

    • Airmantharp
    • 8 years ago

    Thanks for the review!

    I’m always interested in these smaller boards, though I haven’t brought myself to build an SFF yet. I think I’ve been trying for about ten years now.

    I’m very happy, as are others, at the socket clearance measurements- this may be instrumental in picking out the right CPU cooler the first time, and I agree with others that a sort of ‘SFF Cooling Guide’ might be in order to consider the options one has with these boards, particularly with the P6X series that seem to have moved the CPU socket closer to the edge of the board.

    Also, no games? 🙁

      • Airmantharp
      • 8 years ago

      And where are the fully assembled pictures? I want to see what this little board looks like with everything bolted on!

    • derFunkenstein
    • 8 years ago

    You could also get much better audio quality out of a USB audio device like a Roland Duo Capture, and they’re not terribly expensive.

      • Airmantharp
      • 8 years ago

      I’d really like to see how the latest crabs are comparing ‘objectively’ to Creative, Asus, and HT Omega. I’d also like a real-use feature breakdown; one thing that I’m really going for is to get everything either passed through or upmixed (or rendered!) output through a digital connection to a receiver in 7.1 DD or DTS.

      • Chrispy_
      • 8 years ago

      You do have to spend quite a lot of money on headphones or speakers before it’s the crabs fault that something sounds bad. By the time you move into this price band, the cost of a dedicated soundcard is negligible.

        • Airmantharp
        • 8 years ago

        I’d have to agree- for basic sound use (so far), my Sennheiser HD555’s sound great with the ALC892, in Bad Company 2 and in Dragon Age II. I’ll try and do some subjective side-by-side comparisons when I get a chance.

          • bluepiranha
          • 8 years ago

          Good idea.
          Suggestion: Make the comparison a double-blind test?

    • Palek
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]Measuring USB 2.0 performance is sort of like lining up a bunch of minivans for a drag race. One may emerge the winner, but they all lose.[/quote<] Beautiful!

      • dragosmp
      • 8 years ago

      That is just like a Top Gear UK episode where they raced minivans on a dirt oval – they all failed miserably , but it was hilarious.

      • Thrashdog
      • 8 years ago

      Would this minivan represent USB 3.0, then?
      [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-R2EmW-00d4&feature=related[/url<]

    • rhysl
    • 8 years ago

    One comment I thought TR would pickup is the SATA6GB ports on board are reversed to each other , and they provide right angle sata cables , which connected the straight edge to a SSD and the right angle connector to the board totally covers the other SATA 6GB port , un less you use your own sata cables ..

    16931 MB/s Read was AIDA64 Memory benchmark with a Corei5 2500

    great board I,m happy with mine, surprised at a late review for this board.

    • obarthelemy
    • 8 years ago

    Very interesting, thanks.

    One welcome extra piece of info would be: compatible CPU coolers, especially amongst the ones you recommend.

      • bluepiranha
      • 8 years ago

      Seconded.

      On a related note…I’m not well aware of SO-DIMM PCB heights; is there any possibility of a CPU cooler interfering with them?

        • obarthelemy
        • 8 years ago

        SO-DIMM size is standard: “SO-DIMM measure at 6.76 cm in length and a height of 3.175 cm with a maximum total depth of 0.38 cm” (from wikipedia).
        I seem to remember Low-Profile SO-DIMMs. Google does give back some specific products for “low-profile so-dimm”, except I checked out 10, they were either standard size, or unspecified. Mini-ITX.com which specializes in small stuff does not have LP SO-DIMMs listed, so maybe I dreamed them up.

        • Airmantharp
        • 8 years ago

        Absolutely- on this build however, I’d think that going much beyond the stock cooler isn’t going to happen, unless you’re going to be hacking in an integrated water cooler like Corsair’s H60. The ‘hacking’ part comes into play when you consider what kind of enclosures that will be fit for a board like this.

          • stupido
          • 8 years ago

          is the stock cooling quiet enough in order to void the need for better aftermarket cooler?

          there was very interesting build I have read somewhere on internet that incorporates P55 miniITX motherboard from Gigabyte in small Sugo case. If I remember correctly it was called something like 11l or something similar. The builder there used corsair H70! to cool the the CPU…

            • Airmantharp
            • 8 years ago

            Intel’s stock cooler more than enough for the 2600 without overclocking, but it will still get a little loud at full load, which isn’t something desirable in an SFF or an HTPC, as both are usually limited in size and insulation.

            The H70 is a capable cooler, but I’d honestly think it’d be a little loud- still, if it could be fit in one of the ITX based Sugos, then more power to them!

            • stupido
            • 8 years ago

            correct, but if you make HTPC or even regular SFF than you don’t have to go with 2600 either. I was referring more to SFF gaming machine. Indeed current 2500/2600 are more than enough even for dual-GPU beasts, but hey, where is my overclocking ePeen?! 😛

            • dcuccia
            • 8 years ago

            I bought this mobo and installed the Scythe Kotuzi – worked with standard SO-DIMMs:

            [url<]http://www.silentpcreview.com/scythe-kozuti[/url<] Only minor complaint is that I couldn't mount the fins vertically - heat pipes were bumping up against the closest RAM module

    • stupido
    • 8 years ago

    Very nice review, especially the clearance measurements around the CPU/PCIe sockets. Many ITX reviews fail in that part, while that is important when considering aftermarket cooling solutions.

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