Looking for a high-end Sandy Bridge motherboard but don't want to have to sell your car?
With the launch of the P67 chipset, GIGABYTE saw fit to go through a big do-over of the aesthetic design of its boards. But it’s not just a pretty face: the UD7 includes a line-up of four PCI Express x16 slots, of which three can be populated with graphics cards for a triple SLI or CrossFire setup. If going big on graphics with a dual-card SLI or CrossFire setup, both cards will run at x16 speed.
USB 3.0 is supported with the use of Renesas chips providing a whopping count of 10 USB 3.0 ports when fully configured with front and back ports. There’s SATA 6Gb/s support for four drives (two from the P67 chipset and two from a Marvel silicon solution). Interestingly, there is also SATA 6Gb/s support for two eSATA connectors, though at the time of writing we’ve yet to actually see any eSATA devices that support 6Gb/s.
On the bench, it performs as a top-end motherboard should. The UEFI BIOS is comprehensive and a pleasure to use, so great news for tinkerers and overclockers. Also in the OC camp, GIGABYTE’s newer power technologies, Dual CPU Power Technology (12 phases x2), as well as the new driver MOSFETs make an appearance, providing cleaner, more efficient power delivery to the CPU.
Our only gripe is the use of a flick-out style card holder/lock-in at the end of the first PCI-E slot. It’s so close against the cooler that it’s extremely hard to remove — without a screwdriver at least.
If you’re looking for a high-end hardware platform that doesn’t attract a hugely expensive price tag, then this is a board to strongly consider. If you do plan to look at SLI or CrossFire, either double or triple, then the GA-P67A-UD7-B3 is on the short list.Available from GIGABYTE, retailing for $385.APC rating: 8/10 (Highly Recommended)