GIGABYTE P67A-UD4 Motherboard Review

The P67A-UD4 one of the newest releases from GIGABYTE supporting the socket LGA1155 Sandy Bridge processors. What the board does not have in features, it more than makes up for in style and raw performance.

Introduction

GIGABYTE is among an elite cadre of computer component manufacturers that has mastered the art of designing high performance and stable products. The company has made great inroads in to the highly competitive enthusiast space, leveraging product design innovation and high quality components to bring about high performance products without risk of instability under even the most grueling conditions. Its latest line of motherboards, catering to the socket LGA1155 processor line, is a testament to this fact.

The GIGABYTE P67A-UD4 board integrates with the Intel P67 Express chipset in order to deliver support for the following technologies: the Intel LGA1155 Core i3, i5, and i7 processor lines; DDR3 memory operating in Dual Channel memory mode up to 1333MHz officially; and either NVIDIA SLI or ATI CrossFireX graphics mode using matched video cards.

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GIGABYTE integrated the following devices in to the P67A-UD4: 4 SATA II 3Gb/s ports and 2 SATA III 6Gb/s ports (RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and 5 capable) on the Intel P67 controller; 2 e-SATA 6Gb/s ports (RAID 0 and 1 capable) on the Marvel SE9128 controller; 14 USB 2.0 capable ports (8 in rear panel, and 3 onboard headers supporting 2 ports each); 4 USB 3.0 capable ports (2 in rear panel, and 1 onboard header supporting 2 ports each); 1 Realtek GigE Ethernet port in the rear panel; Realtek 8-channel HD audio codec with integrated S/PDIF optical and RCA component output ports; and a PS/2 keyboard / mouse port in the rear panel.

Main Specifications Overview:

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Detailed Mainboard Specification List:

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Packaging

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GIGABYTE chose to showcase the technology with their box art design, featuring the board name and supported technologies on a slick black background. The following components are bundled in with the P67A-UD4: locking connector SATA drive cables; a 2-way NVIDIA SLI connector; the rear panel shield; and the normal complement of manuals and drivers discs.

Board Layout

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The P67A-UD4 features a design that we have come to expect from the higher end component manufacturers, clean, sleek, and spacious. While the power components and chipset are passively cooled, in testing we found that they really didn't get that hot. The board revision is located in the upper right corner of the board, while the serial number is located on a white sticker along the outside edge of the 24-pin ATX power connector. Both are also shown on the product sticker along the outside edge of the product box. The motherboard used for testing was a revision 1.0 model. For the board's power regulation needs, GIGABYTE chose to pair the P67A-UD4 with high quality polymer solid-electrolyte capacitors and Ferrite core chokes.

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The P67A-UD4's CPU socket area is fully free of obstructions, with all close in components of a small profile format. The socket itself accepts the standard LGA1156 style coolers to dissipate heat from the seated LGA1155 CPU. The front panel audio header is located to the upper left of the socket, while the 8-pin ATX12V power connector and SYS_FAN1 header are located to its upper right. The CPU_FAN header is located to the lower right of the CPU socket. Worth mentioning again is that "any" LGA1156 cooler will fit on "any" LGA1155 board due to the fastening holes being the same specification.

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The onboard DDR3 memory slots are situated directly below the CPU socket, in a 2 by 2 single colored configuration. Dual Channel memory mode is activated by placing matching modules in slots 1 and 3 or 2 and 4. The 24-pin ATX power connector and PWR_FAN header are located directly under the memory slots, while the CPU power phase LED bank is located to the lower right of the memory slots. From what we have seen in testing, it is fine to configure the RAM in slots 2 and 4 to keep it further away from the CPU socket even if instructed otherwise in the manual, if you need the space for a larger cooler.

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The Intel P67 Express chipset is located to the lower right of the secondary PCI-Express x16 slot, cooled by a passive low profile heat sink. The Intel P67 controlled SATA ports are located to the lower left of the chipset, with the white colored ports offering SATA III 6GB/s device support and all ports offering SATA II 3GB/s device support. The front panel header, CMOS reset jumper, and USB 3.0 port header are located to the left of the chipset along the board's left most edge. Just above the USB 3.0 port header are the 3 USB 2.0 port headers.

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GIGABYTE designed in a total of 7 ports in to the P67A-UD4: 2 PCI-Express x16 slots, 3 PCI-Express x1 slots, and 2 PCI slots. The USB 2.0 port headers, the SYS_FAN2 header, and the serial port header are located along the outer edge of PCI slot 2. The CMOS battery is located just under the secondary and tertiary PCI-Express x1 slots.

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The P67A-UD4's rear panel contains the following integrated ports: a PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo-port; 8 USB 2.0 ports; 2 USB 3.0 ports (purple colored USB style ports); 1 Realtek GigE Ethernet port; 2 e-SATA 6Gb/s ports (yellow colored ports); and 6 analogue and S/PDIF optical and RCA component audio output port.

GIGABYTE EasyTune 6

For windows based monitoring and overclocking, GIGABYTE packages version 6 of their EasyTune software on the install DVD with the version shown being revision 6.6.B10.1024.1. The application functionality is accessed via a series of tabs located at the top of the application window.

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The CPU tab shows real time system statistics on the various bus speeds, and well as detailed CPU and BIOS related information. The memory tab shows memory statistics for all onboard slots on a slot by slot basis. Note that the information shown in both tabs in very similar in nature to the data you would see in the freeware CPU-Z application.

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The Tuner tab allows for user controlled manipulation of the various board bus speeds and voltages with 2 modes of operation available - Easy mode and Advanced mode. The Easy and Advanced mode of operation allows for full user control of board bus frequencies, devices speed setting and ration, and board voltages, with settings shown similar in nature to those shown in the BIOS. Note that the screenshots shown show Advanced mode active only. Easy mode operation is similar in nature, with less configuration options to choose from.

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The Graphics tab contains settings for manually configuring the GPU and onboard memory speed for supported graphics cards.

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The Smart tab contains settings for manually setting the CPU Smart Fan temperature thresholds for optimal CPU cooler performance.

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The HW Monitor tab displays statistics on all BIOS monitored voltages under the Voltage sub-tab. The Fan/Temp sub-tab contains statistics on monitored device fan speeds and temperatures, with the option for configuring alert settings for the monitored devices.

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Clicking on the summary icon in the upper right corner of the application display the Quick Summary window, which displays high level information on board device and bus speeds, voltages, and memory.


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