In the world of motherboards and manufacturer competition, the idea is to beat your competitor. To develop the product, with more features, more fancy gadgets, and perform better than your competitor at every price point. Today, we pit arguably the two most popular motherboard vendors at a price point that will see a significant number of sales from consumers and enthusiasts alike – the ASUS P8P67 Pro and the Gigabyte P67A-UD4, which were both released during the Sandy Bridge week for $190. Forget all the marketing fluff; this is a showdown!

When a new platform is released, a myriad of motherboards hit the shelves at the same time. Each vendor will usually come out with a few products, targeting their prospective markets. Big motherboard players, like ASUS and Gigabyte, will release motherboards ranging from the cheap low end, to that high-end halo product. They will bombard you with data, ideas, concepts, and reasons why their high-end products are better than their low end – in terms of numbers, features, or what is in the box. Whether you can really trust what each manufacturer says on the box depends on the interpretations of the benchmarks and analyses by review sites like AnandTech.

At the time of writing, Newegg has 56 Sandy Bridge motherboards available – 22 for H67 and 34 for P67. Of those in the P67 range, you can pick up an Intel motherboard for as little as $115, or an ASUS as expensive as $320. So what makes that expensive motherboard worth almost three times as much as the low-end board? What makes a $200 board better than a $150 board? Features? Warranty? Overclockability? Price? All of these points, while valid, carry different weight with every different consumer.

I reviewed the ASRock P67 Extreme4 at the Sandy Bridge release, and they offered a great product that is available online for $153. Today, we have two boards released at $190 by two of the biggest motherboard manufacturers – the ASUS P8P67 Pro, and the Gigabyte P67A-UD4. Firstly, the question is: if you had $190, which one would you buy? Then secondly, we have to ask: are these boards worth the ~$40 difference to the P67 Extreme4? Luckily, at least in my opinion, after using all three of the boards, the answers to both of these questions were self-evident.

Firstly, let us tackle the ASUS P8P67 Pro.

ASUS P8P67 Pro: Visual Inspection
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  • GeorgeH - Thursday, January 20, 2011 - link

    On the temperature and power graphs, you might want to differentiate the colors a bit more. Right now it looks like OCCT/Idle are using the exact same shade of purple, and Metro/Video are using the exact same shade of red. Common sense tells me which is which, but it just looks bad.

    Overall it was a great review; the only thing I'd change would be to put Gigabyte's "BIOS Classic" implementation into the pros column, but I'm weird like that.
    Reply
  • Peanutsrevenge - Thursday, January 20, 2011 - link

    I have the HTC Hero aswell running Cyanogenmod ROM for 2.2 and the BT Turbo Remote software is showing in my market (version 1.0.9) if you wanna recheck it Ian and update the article.

    Interesting that you had such trouble with the Gigabyte board, I went off Asus a few years ago due to several glitches, bugs and DOAs and switched to speccing / recommending Gigabyte for friends and customers.
    Hope this is a one off for them rather than the end of a faultless era!
    Reply
  • sweetspot - Thursday, January 20, 2011 - link

    Why do MOBO test sites all fail to add sound quality test to the benchmarks ?? Most folks spending over 150.00 for a mobo and playing games and entertainment, would like nice quality sound as well.

    Cant spend 190 bucks without asking the sound question, nobody would by a board without the over all picture, not just A wins B in a frames bench test.

    Is sound onboard good or not ? do we lose xfire / SLI if we go with add on sound card option . Nobody would buy a mobo without asking that simple question as well, and why does every single review site 99% of the time skip a simple sound quality mention on boards they test ??

    No mention of sound quality in a mobo review is just pitifull, cant be that hard to tell someone if it even works or not, alot of boards onboard sound is broken on release, all the review sites always fail to skip that test, so it never gets seen when they give nice review so people go out and buy busted parts.

    A simple basic sound paragraph mention as to yes sound in games / videos / chatting were clean and x # of channels responded correctly. Or sound worked but the mic and mic boost options were broken, so dont buy if you online chat which alot of poeple do? How do you skip such a important detail ??

    All this was, is a comparison of 190 bucks worth or silence!!
    Reply
  • kepstin - Friday, January 21, 2011 - link

    If you really care about sound quality, you're probably going to end up using a digital audio output; either co-ax/optical on the motherboard, or via HDMI. At that point it doesn't matter which sound card you have, because you're not using the onboard DAC at all. Reply
  • Rick83 - Friday, January 21, 2011 - link

    The quality of the clock generator still matters, though. Reply
  • sweetspot - Friday, January 21, 2011 - link

    Not true as the question poised clearly states,

    Most would think a mobo review would include some sort of sound testing as well as just frames, But no sound quality test or mentions in review of 2 different boards comparison, So review of which is faster but no other quality reasons of the boards are compared aka sound ?? why ??

    The cost of extra sound card makes huge difference in product purchases, and not reviewing the key pieces is not helpfull at all in my opinion.

    Most readers rely on review sites as they have access to parts a normal user does not get alot of computer parts every day to test with.

    This review is a A is faster then B review vs a review like A is better quality / price over all then B review which it seems was intended to be ??
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Friday, January 21, 2011 - link

    Both are using the Realtek ALC892, so theoretically should be very similar. I'd agree a "it works" should probably be mentioned, but other than that substantial sound quality testing can be extremely subjective. Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, January 20, 2011 - link

    Are there reviews of the new 15.6" notebooks based on Sandy Bridge with the GT540M and GTX460M coming? You know the ones, from Clevo and Compal with 1080p screens? I've seen them at a couple different places including a very good deal on the GTX460 Clevo from Cyberpower.com. Please please please at least let me know if these reviews are in the pipeline or not. Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, January 20, 2011 - link

    So why is it that as more and more of the load gets put on the CPU, the northbridge, memory controller, GPU, these motherboards are getting more expensive? Seriously? It doesn't make any sense.

    Is this why Intel is SOOO far behind supporting USB 3.0 and more than 2 measly SATA 6GBPS ports? LGA 775 I had no issue at all getting a very nice board that OC's well and is still running perfectly and while originally supported P4 was updated in the BIOS to support the latest quad core Penryn's on 45nm and it STILL runs like a dream. LGA 1156 I had to just up to the 100-130 range and depending on who I was building for would go up nearing 150.

    But now simple things like SLI require a 200 dollar boards? I know that wasn't supported on the other old boards but it's called "progress" for a reason. I consider that a standard feature now not something reserved for rich people. It is unacceptable to pay more than 150 for a motherboard, even if you put bluetooth on it call it the "Royal Excaliber 12000" and have a prince sign it. Seriously, I didn't expect to see prices over 200 at all till X68 came out. WTF guys, WTF!
    Reply
  • MeanBruce - Thursday, January 20, 2011 - link

    Royal what? I used to have a patient named Royal Ruffles, his real name, so peculiar I thought, oh yeah back to mobos. So interesting some readers think it's stupid to spend $200 for a new mainboard while others have no problem dishing out $430 or $450. I mean we are enthusiasts right? It's tax deductible, so I am all for drooling over new Z-branded chipsets and LightPeak support and 16GB of quad memory and incorporated northbridge and overclocking it all with your iPhone. It's a hobby right? It's supposed to be a blast! Reply

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