WE”VE ALREADY SHOWN you Sapphire’s mini-ITX Brazos board and no-one was overly surprised at seeing this motherboard, especially as Sapphire is a long term AMD partner. However, what we have for you today is an exclusive look at a not quite final P67 chipset motherboard from Sapphire, a product that many didn’t expect to launch.
The board is clearly far from the final version and it even carries a Rev: 0.0 tag, but it’ll give us a good glimpse into what Sapphire is working on. The board is currently known as the PC-CI7S42P67 but we’re certain that Sapphire will come up with a much catchier name for the board by the time it launches. One of the most prominent features of the board is the Lucid Hydra chip located between the topmost PCI Express x16 slots and the board offers three x16 slots connected to it, all of which appear to use x8 bandwidth when more than one card is in use. There’s also a fourth grey x16 slot, but this only has four lanes worth of bandwidth according to the boardmarkings.
The board also has two PCI slots, but oddly enough, not a single x1 PCI Express slot. Other features include four SATA 3Gbps ports, three SATA 6Gbps ports – one from a Marvell controller – a POST80 debug LED, two USB 2.0 headers for four additional USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire header, power, reset and clear CMOS buttons and even a little BIOS selection switch for manual BIOS switching.
Around the back the board has six USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, a PS/2 port, a 6Gbps eSATA port, a Bluetooth dongle, a FireWire port, dual Marvell Gigabit Ethernet ports and 7.1-channel audio with optical and coaxial S/PDIF out.
An interesting little quirky feature we noticed is that Sapphire has its own custom made chokes which not only incorporates a heatsink structure at the top, but also a Sapphire logo on the side.
It’s a little bit too early to say if this is going to be a good board or not, but it seems like Sapphire has at least managed to put together something fairly interesting. Hopefully the final board will look a little bit less messy and we’ll also have to wait and see what the heatsinks will look like. At least it seems like Sapphire is back in the motherboard business with something that should both stand out and be competitive against the more established players, judging by features alone.S|A
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