ASUS P8P67 WS Revolution Motherboard Review

Intel has launched the new P67 chipset for LGA1155 socket motherboards. ASUS expands its product portfolio once again with the P8P67 WS Revolution. While targeted towards workstation use as the name implies, it offers quite a bit for the enthusiast as well.

Introduction

ASUS is one of the largest motherboard manufacturers on the planet. Its product lineup has reached massive proportions in its motherboard lineup alone. In recent years it has added model "suffixes" to its model numbers in order to clear things up. A specific example of this is "WS Professional" and "WS Revolution" motherboards. The "WS" indicates a model number designed as a board with workstation use in mind. While "Professional" models are really contemporary workstation types the "Revolution" boards are almost totally legacy free designs that would be right at home in business workstations, graphics workstations, and gaming machines alike.

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The ASUS P8P67 WS Revolution (At the time of publishing this review, ASUS did not have this motherboard listed on its website.) is based on the brand new P67 Express chipset. Like the P55 chipset before it, this one does not include a south bridge. As is the trend with Intel’s more recent chipsets, things are getting simplified as engineers move functions off the chipset’s "north bridge" and onto the CPU itself. In this case the PCI-Express controller, memory controller, and now graphics are integrated into the P67 Express chipset. There have been some improvements compared to P55 in that P67 supports SATA 6G and 32GB of RAM. Otherwise it hasn’t functionally changed all that much. There is still no USB 3.0 support native to the chipset.

All P67 Express chipset based boards designed by ASUS have switched to digital VRM’s. Analog is gone! The P8P67 WS Revolution is also equipped with the nForce 200 MCP. The board doesn’t have any legacy PCI slots but contains 7 PCI-Express slots. 4 x16 slots and 3 x1 slots. The board is also feature rich with support for USB 3.0, SATA 6G, 3-Way SLI, CrossFireX, support for 4 Tesla cards, and the list goes on.

Main Specifications Overview:

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Detailed Specifications Overview:

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Packaging

The packaging is nice and all, but not terribly extravagant. It’s the same type of motherboard box we’ve seen for decades now. Included in the package are the following accessories: User’s Guide, driver disc, 7 SATA cables, I/O bracket with eSATA and USB ports, 3-Way SLI bridge, SLI bridge, COM port bracket, Q-connectors, I/O shield, and a diagnostic card.

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Board Layout

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The P8P67 WS Revolution is solid. The only complaint I can really make is concerning the location of the auxiliary power connector. I’m not sure I like it next to the 24 pin ATX power. Expansion slot layout is good, memory slots are clear, CPU socket is clear of obstruction and really you can’t ask for much more than that.

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The CPU socket area appears to be clean at first, but the LGA1156 back plate I tried to use to mount a Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme didn’t fit flush enough to use. For some reason they soldered some components on the underside of the socket and as a result the plate wouldn’t fit flush without me getting out my Dremel. I decided against that and used a workaround consisting of washers, nuts bolts and rubber washers for insulation and protecting the PCB. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen something so short sighted on a motherboard in regard to design. In fact the last board I remembered with a similar flaw was early 680i SLI boards. (Editor's Note: I used a specific LGA1156 backplate for mounting my water block to the board without issue. I did however use a thick silicon pad between the plate and the motherboard. So your mileage may vary.)

The voltage hardware is cooled with heat pipe based heat sinks which connect to the "north bridge" and this of course looks like it would on any motherboard.

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The P8P67 WS Revolution has four color coded DIMM slots. The memory slots are far enough away from the CPU to allow for the mounting of large cooling solutions. Like most of ASUS’ other recent motherboards this one uses DIMM slots with the locking tabs on only one side. This allows memory modules to be installed in the system with greater easy and while large video cards are installed. Designers can opt to locate the RAM slots further away, but at a cost of PCB real estate. This solution is elegant in that it solves these problems while maximizing usable space for components.

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I keep using the term "north bridge" but that’s actually not accurate. This is a unified chipset design in which there is no separate north and south bridge. Like the older P55 chipset based boards, P67 is mounted in the same location we’d find a traditional south bridge such as Intel’s ICH10R. This chip is cooled by the same hardware which cools the voltage hardware.

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The expansion slot area is one stand out in the board’s layout. This is a legacy free design so there are no regular PCI slots to be found. The board’s layout is optimal for 3-Way SLI and CrossFireX while still leaving at least one slot open for additional expansion card. The nForce 200MCP makes it possible to use x8 lanes of bandwidth on the brown slots and x16 lanes of bandwidth on the blue ones. The while slots are PCI-Express x1 slots.

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The I/O panel contains a single PS/2 port which can be used for either mice or keyboards. There are 8 USB 2.0/1,1 ports, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 2 RJ-45 ports, S/PDIF out and six mini-headphone jacks for audio output.