THERE ISN‘T MUCH that we didn’t already know about Sapphire’s new P67 after our brief encounter with the board at Intel’s Sandy Bridge launch in Taiwan, but the final version cleaned up pretty good and it got it’s retail name, Pure Black P67. The design remained mostly the same, although the final board has now been fitted with some slightly unusual cooling which makes the board stand out from the competition.
Some things that we noticed that has changed includes the super I/O controller, as Sapphire decided to use a smaller chip, the bottom edge Molex connector is now angled towards the edge of the motherboard and last but not least we’re now looking at the final PCB without the test ports on it. The colour scheme remained pretty much unchanged and Sapphire has come up with some rather unusual heatsinks. The MOSFETs are covered by a tall heatsink which is shared with the Pure Black X58 board and that appears to have a lot of surface area thanks to being ribbed on the back.
The heatsink on the P67 chipset is of the same design as the one on the Pure Black X58 that cools the ICH10. The most peculiar and unusual inclusion is the heatsink fitted to the LucidLogix Hydra chip, mostly due to the location of the Hydra chip between the two x16 slots. Here we’re looking at a low profile heatsink that extends nearly the full length of the two x16 slots and it’s not a design we’ve seen in the past on any other motherboard.
The PCI Express x16 slots operate in x16, x8, x8 and x4 mode, pretty much as we reported initially, although the top slot doesn’t appear to have to be switched to x8 mode when more cards are added. Sapphire even has a name for its unusual chokes and they go under the Sapphire Diamond Black moniker. The product page and the fact that the board only has 16Mbit worth of Flash ROM, suggests that we’re looking at a motherboard with BIOS rather than UEFI and it’s not clear if it even has enough memory to be upgraded to UEFI, although the board still has two BIOS chips, of which one is still mounted in a socket. Sapphire hasn’t provided a ton of detailed specifications, but apparently the board also has a “Voltage measure PAD” which we can’t seem to spot in the pictures and it’s the only other feature we hadn’t covered already.
As a first (well, it’s really a second, but hey) in a new range of products it’s looking pretty decent, although it all comes down to two things, performance and price. These are currently two unknown factors, but considering that Sapphire has pretty good distribution in most of the world, we wouldn’t expect availability to be an issue for those that are interested in getting their hands on this new board. It’s not quite up there with the big boys as yet, but given some time, we’d expect Sapphire has the chance of becoming at least a significant if not a major player in the motherboard market.S|A
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