Gigabyte P67A-UD5 Motherboard
The P67A-UD5 is based on the Intel P67 PCH and has a lot of auxillary controllers which are listed below.
- Integrated audio based on the 7.1+2-channel Realtek ALC889 HDA codec with frontal I/O, optical and coaxial S/PDIF-Out on the backpanel, S/PDIF-Out for outputting sound via a HDMI-equipped graphics card.
- Gigabit Ethernet based on Realtek RTL8111E (PCIe x1).
- SATA 6Gb/s based on Marvell 88SE9128 (PCIe x1) with 2 eSATA/USB Combo ports on the backpanel (RAID 0, 1).
- PCI based on ITE IT8892E (PCIe x1).
- FireWire based on Texas Instruments TSB43AB23 (PCI) with 3 ports: 6-pin and 4-pin on the backpanel and an onboard header.
- USB 3.0 based on Renesas D720200 (former NEC µPD720200F1, PCIe x1) and two 4-port VLI VL810 hubs for 4 internal and 4 backpanel ports (blue.
It seems the company has a lot of Marvell controllers which are not needed by these new motherboards, because both Intel and AMD chipsets support SATA 6Gb/s now. The former can only provide two ports, but that's enough for most users. Not many will use more than two fancy SATA 6Gb/s SSDs at once, and regular hard drives don't need it much. But a chipset controller provides much higher speed than an external one can offer. As well as better functionality — Gigabyte underlines that all new motherboards fully support 3TB HDDs, meaning you can also boot up an OS from such a drive. As for the Marvel 88SE9128, it'll do fine as a eSATA controller, because the actual ~400 MB/s it can provide will be enough for an external drive or even a multi-drive storage solution. Anyway it's much more than the previously used JMicron JMB36x (PCIe x1 1.1) can offer.
Other features are familiar, except for the single Ethernet controller. The previous UD5 model had two, but in the new series only the P67A-UD7 can boast of this many. On the other hand, personal computers are not used as home LAN servers very often these days, so one Ethernet connection is enough.
As for audio, it hasn't changed for quite some time now. The same codec was in the previous series of Gigabyte motherboards as well. But we traditionally tested it in the 16-bit/44kHz and 16-bit/48kHz modes with RightMark Audio Analyzer 6.0 and Terratec DMX 6fire. This time we also tested the "emulated" PCI and it worked fine.
|Frequency response (40Hz to 15kHz), dB:
|Noise level, dB(A)
|Dynamic range, dB(A)
|THD + noise, dB(A)
|IMD + noise, %
|Channel crosstalk, dB
|IMD at 10 kHz, %
There were no issues — as there hadn't been since the P55-UD6. Not excellent, but still fine.
The backpanel is only different from that of previous motherboards by lacking one Ethernet and having four USB 3.0 ports. Gigabyte did an unusual thing: only the SuperSpeed lanes of the NEC Renesas controller are connected to the backpanel ports, the rest is provided by the chipset, meaning the ports will work as USB 1.1/2.0 even if the controller is disabled in BIOS or drivers haven't been installed. This is a nice feature. This way there are always 10 USB ports available to user. And since there are 4 more chipset ports and another internal 4-port USB 3.0 hub, the total number of USB ports the motherboard can provide is 18, almost a half of those SuperSpeed. This should be enough for even a peripherals maniac. 3x USB Power Boost and On/Off Charge are a bonus, too. We have already examined the former in this review, but in brief it provides tripled amperage on all ports compared with the standard. It means that any USB 2.0 can output up to 1.5 A, while a USB 3.0 port can provide up to 2.7 A. This is very useful, considering the popularity of bus-powered external hard drives, tablets and such. As for On/Off Charge, such ports are connected directly to the PSU and are powered even with the PC turned off. They provide some 2-3 A, which is enough to, say, quickly charge Apple iPad (that requires 1.73 A).
Almost any high-end Gigabyte motherboard has such ports and P67A-UD5 is no exception.
Although P67A-UD5 isn't the highest-end product in the series, we believe it's the most reasonable high-end. Those who need the most will surely prefer P67A-UD7 with its full-speed PCIe x16 slots, additional controllers and steep price. Regular users will choose simpler models like P67A-UD4 and cheaper.
We believe that creating the P67A-UD5 wasn't a simple task for the company. On the one hand, they had to provide every needed feature without increasing motherboard price. On the other hand, they risked providing too many features that would've interfered with each other (like those of the P55A-UD6: e.g. installing the second graphics card slows down SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0 controllers). Of course, Intel helped by fixing several issues of the previous platform, like the lack of the SATA 6Gb/s support or the insufficient number of full-speed PCIe 2.0 lanes. But still the task wasn't simple, and despite certain drawbacks it was accomplished well.
The motherboard was provided by its manufacturer.
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