Intel’s Sandy Bridge fiasco is finally over and the processors as well as boards are busy flowing out. The issue while it existed was uncalled for and delayed a whole load of products – everything from motherboards to notebooks and desktops. We’re looking at Gigabyte’s GA-P67A-UD3R which was one of the early boards based on the Cougar Point chipset. The new revised boards are now in the market.
Sandy Bridge processor with almost every available feature
The ATX sized GA-P67A-UD3R board is based on the P67 chipset and uses the new LGA1155 socket that’s specifically designed for the Sandy Bridge line of Core i processors. Intel is betting on the new new processor but at the cost of more confusion with the introduction of yet another socket.
The Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3R is a dark grey PCB as compared to the usual blue PCBs that Gigabyte normally manufacturers. There’s an anodized socket bracket made by Foxconn surrounding the LGA1156 socket. The mechanism is pretty identical to the LGA1156 boards.
The board supports both SATA 6Gbps (SATA3) and USB 3.0 ports. This is a feature common to almost all boards that we’re seeing in the market today. There are two ports at the rear. Some of the key features we see missing are the secondary PCIe x8 slot next to the PCIe x16 slot. There’s a second x4 slot, which means you’re somewhat limited if you wanted to try setting up PCI Express. You also don’t get an eSATA port on the board but you do get the single Firewire port.
There are some other smaller features that overclockers might miss out on. There are no dedicated power and reset buttons on the board, so if you’re setting up an open rig like we do, you’ll need to short pins by hand everytime you overclock or fool around with any BIOS settings. There isn’t even a CMOS reset switch. This isn’t the top of the line board from Gigabyte, so there are features you need to compromise.
The BIOS however is pretty matured. There are a ton of features to play around with, which will keep overclockers happy. Fine controls over almost all components is available and the monitoring system is also pretty detailed. Overclocking is a breeze and we faced no instability issues whatsoever. The Core i7 2600K with its unlocked multiplier makes things much simpler as well.
Design and layout
The P67A-UDR3 is a well spaced out board. The two PCIe slots are spaced out with two PCIe x1 slots in between them and one above. The last two slots on the board are PCI slots, which might come handy if you have an old sound card or LAN card lying around. The RAM slots are also out of the way of any PCIe x1 card that you might install on the uppermost slot on the board.
Cooling is handled by one heatsink on the southbridge. The heatsinks add a fresh look to the board. The heatsinks like the board are not predominantly blue like previous Gigabyte boards. The heatsinks are fairly low and don’t block any large graphics cards that you might install on your system. If you’re using a really large graphics card with a massive heatsink that consumes more than three slots, then you’re bound to find a few of the SATA ports getting blocked by it. The SATA ports could have been lined up along the edge of the board to avoid this issue. The extending ports for front panel USB ports are clearly marked and so are the pins for all the switches and activity indicators at the front of the chassis.
Plethora of ports available
Test Rig Specifications
The performance of the board is at par with other boards based on the same chipset. PCMark Vantage churns out an overall score of 10,700 and 3DMark Vantage scored a respectable 28,796 points as well. The performance of the Core i7 2600K is pretty impressive overall and it shows across all of the tests. Unigine scored a solid 45.8 fps with high anti-aliasing and tessellation settings turned on. Game benchmarks such as Just Cause 2 scored an impressive 44.24 considering image quality settings were set to maximum.
Chipset and PSIe slots
The Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3R benchmark results :
File Copy Test
Video Encoding (x264)
Unigine Heaven (1920 x 1080 / 4x AA / 16x AF / DX11)
Just Cause 2
The Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3R sells for Rs. 11,025, which isn’t all that much for what is a pretty solid board. Most of the decent P67 boards are around the same price range. There are a few features missing, but as a whole, all the features that you absolutely require are all present. You should also be able to overclock the rig without much effort. If you’re looking to setup CrossFire, you’re better off looking at some of the higher end models from Gigabyte and some other brands. A fairly high-end Sandy Bridge processor along with a board such as this should make a good value-for-money desktop setup.
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Oct 28, 2016