- Socket LGA-1155 with support for Intel Sandy Bridge processors Core i7, i5 i3
- Support for iGPU GMA HD 3000/2000 depending on CPU installed
- 850MHz core speed
- 1100/1350MHz maximum Dynamic graphics frequency depending on CPU
- 6/12 Execution Units (2000/3000)
- Dual Channel DDR3-2133MHz support when Overclocking
- Intel H67 Express chipset
- Quad-GPU CrossfireX support
- USB 3.0 Support
- Native SATA 6Gb/second support
- EFI BIOS
- GPU Boost
- Ai Suite II
- Ai Charger
- ASUS Q-design
- 8+2 Phase Power design
- Power e-SATA on the Go
ASUS’s P8H67-M EVO is based upon Intel’s H67 Express chipset which was launched last week before CES. The motherboard sports the new Socket LGA-1155 interface which is not pin compatible with the LGA-1156 CPUs, meaning you will need one of the new SB CPUs to run this motherboard. You can use LGA-1156 CPU coolers with the new interface as the footprint of the mounting holes is the same.
The Sandy Bridge CPU is the replacement for the Nehalem architecture which was released in 2008 with the LGA-1366 Core i7 CPUs. In fact, the Sandy Bridge family of processors is more precisely the replacement for the Westmere mainstream processors. Intel has kept the X58 with Gulftown CPU combination as the enthusiast category with Sandy Bridge replacing LGA-1156 CPUs.
One big change on the SB CPU family is the integration of the graphics chip onto the processor chip. Previously, the integrated graphics was on a separate chip but on the same die. Now the integrated graphics and the CPU share the L3 cache through ring-bus architecture. The maximum bandwidth between the processor and the chipset is very high at 435.2GB/second on the 2600K CPU which is clocked at 3.4GHz allowing for very fast communication between the IGP and the processor.
There are two versions of the new graphics core, the GMA HD 2000 and the GMA HD 3000. The main feature distinguishing the two chips is the number of Execution Units. The GMA HD 3000 has 12 EUs, while the GMA 2000 has 6 EUs. It’s important to note that which graphics you get is dependent on which CPU you get. The 3000 is available on the unlocked K processors and the 2000 are available on the locked non-K processors. Clock speed on the GMA HD 3000/2000 is 850MHz for the base clock with the maximum frequency being 1350 using Dynamic frequency on the CPU (2600K/2600) or 1100MHz (every other CPU). Note, that I am spending more time than usual on integrated graphics due to this chipset supporting the integrated graphics.
ASUS specific features include their implementation of the EFI BIOS, the EPU IC, their world-class design, and the 6+2 Phase Power design. The Extensible Firmware Interface is the replacement for the traditional Basic Input Output System. This allows the user to use a mouse to navigate through the BIOS and also allows the user to use drives of larger than 2.2TB in size without a RAID card. The problem with earlier BIOSes is that they used a Master Boot Record (MBR) to partition the hard drive. The maximum size of a MBR partition is 2TB due to the way it is formatted. To get above the 2TB barrier you need to use something called GPT or GUID Partition Table. GPT is supported by Linux and MacOS, unsupported on 32-bit Windows and requires an EFI BIOS to be supported under 64-bit Windows.
The P8H67-M EVO uses a 6+2 Phase Power Design when combined with the Energy Processing Unit on the board controls the power given to the various components of the motherboard raising or lowering the phases depending on the power demands. This board also has access to the GPU Boost which will overclock the GMA HD 3000 to 1450MHz up from the 1350MHz maximum that the 2600K normally will clock to. Enabling GPU Boost and OC Tuner it overclocks the CPU Base Clock (BCLK) to 103MHz from the 100MHz normal clock. ASUS has implemented all of their overclocking tools into the Ai Suite II which combines PC Probe II, the TurboV overclocking and Update utilities into one interface when before there were three or four separate tools. ASUS introduced their Protect 3.0 initiative last year which reduces the electromagnetic radiation level from their motherboards by up to 50%, they also added some voltage surge protection and the EPU controls the energy consumption reducing it by up to 80% making up the three components of the initiative.