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|10th January 2011, 13:01||#1|
Join Date: May 2002
Sandy Bridge motherboards from Asus, Gigabyte, Intel, and MSI
Before diving into the new motherboards primed to take on "Sandy Bridge" Core CPUs, we should spend a moment considering the P67 Express chipset. The P67 replaces the P55 as Intel's mid-range chipset for desktop systems with discrete graphics cards. A graphics card is a requirement rather than a suggestion, because the P67 lacks the display controller and FDI interface needed to use the GPU built into Sandy Bridge processors. That display logic is present in the H67 Express, which supplants the H57 as Intel's premiere integrated graphics platform.
While the P67 lacks the H67's display logic, it does have more control over the CPU. Tapping a Sandy Bridge processor's unlocked core and memory multipliers requires a P67 chipset. You'll need the P67 to adjust the CPU's power threshold, too. And only the P67 will allow a motherboard to split the processor's 16 lanes of PCIe connectivity between pair of x8 links for CrossFireX and SLI. Despite the fact that those lanes reside on the CPU and never pass through the chipset, motherboards based on the H67 are limited to a single 16-lane connection.
Otherwise, the P67 and H67 have similar capabilities. The two are so closely matched that we asked Intel whether the P67 is simply H67 silicon with its display bits disabled. As it turns out, that's not the case; the H67 and P67 diverge earlier in the manufacturing process. I wouldn't expect any difference in the performance of their integrated peripherals, though.
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