Aaah yea... we are on a freakin' stampede of P67 reviews, and we have more coming. Today the turn goes to the folks from ECS who put out some serious kit on the market.
One of the most talked about topics of technology this year will be Sandy Bridge from Intel and very likely Bulldozer processors from AMD. Intel however started the year fresh and launched a handful of these little Sandy bridge gems already. If you have not done so, please read our reference Core i5 2500K and Core i7 2600K review to get an update on the new processor architecture and the grand performance they deliver.
Of course with new processors also come new motherboard chipsets. For the consumer desktop side of the market you will basically see two Sandy Bridge based chipsets, H68 for the more generic, mainstream and HTPC usage, and then the P67 chipset as a performance part for the new motherboards series. Now each and every motherboard ODM jumped on P67 as well, it's just a heck of a lot of fun. And the ODMs had time to prep their P67 alright, most of the designs were already finished by late Summer 2010, everybody just needed to wait for Intel to release the processor that goes along with these motherboards.
That extra time was however not a bad thing, it gave more time to R&D departments to refine their designs and perhaps be a little more creative.
ECS was also working on a few of these P67 motherboards and is making sure that both NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards work combined together. Yep, they are adding a Lucid Hydra chip like some of the competition is doing as well.
Now granted we are not keen on the extra chip at all, as overall experiences with Hydra are far from impressive or user friendly and adds overall costs to the mainboard you do need to pay for.
Anyway, the offering tested today is the P67H2-A socket LGA 1155 motherboard which is powered by a 14-phase VRM. An absolutely lovely to look at motherboard as this is a serious design you guys.
The motherboard comes with three PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots as well as a pair of PCI Express x1 and two PCI slots. The motherboard also shows dual Gigabit Ethernet and two NEC USB 3.0 controllers that will bring you a total of four USB 3.0 ports. You'll also get six SATA 3 Gbps ports and two SATA 6 Gbps controllers (for two internal ports) and a number of USB 2.0 ports, plus eSATA.
Anyway, have a quick peek and then let's head onwards into the full review.