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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  • IanCutress - Thursday, January 20, 2011 - link

    Edited; simple copy/paste error. Glad you liked the review, we should have some H67 on the way next.

  • Shadowmaster625 - Thursday, January 20, 2011 - link

    May as well go down to detroit and buy a big fat rock. I would like to see you guys put together two $600 systems. One based on these outrageous $200 motherboards and a $200 cpu, and $200 for everything else. And put that up against a $70 motherboard and $200 cpu and put the extra $130 into a video card. Who in their right mind would choose this new crap? Dont even talk about encoding because encoding is something you start and then walk away. You dont need to be there to watch it encode so it dont matter how long it takes. (For 95% of users. Dont play these 5 percent mindgames.)
  • vol7ron - Thursday, January 20, 2011 - link

    I never walk away from my box
  • marc1000 - Friday, January 21, 2011 - link

    this is off-topic, but i think you should walk away from your box a little more. =D
  • Hrel - Thursday, January 20, 2011 - link

    I agree anything over 150 for a motherboard is stupid. But these new Sandy Bridge CPU's are great! It's called progress, and when you do a lot of encoding speed does matter even if you do walk away and/or use another computer in the mean time. Not to mention how intensive encoding full 1080p content is, what about 3D and in the future 4K HD and 8K HD. It's called progress and it's a good thing!
  • Shadowmaster625 - Monday, January 24, 2011 - link

    If you do a LOT of encoding, then you will have 2, 3, or 4 machines stacked up next to each other. And those machines would have Athlon X4's and cost $200 apiece to build. Only a fool spends $200, $300, or more, on a cpu just to encode something a little bit faster. You can get much better overall throughput using cheap AMD processors from the last generation. That fact holds true whether you encode one hour a week of video, or 1000. Intel is simply hoping that people are dumber than they may or may not really be.
  • Fatchap - Friday, January 21, 2011 - link

    I used to type the command to load up a game or an application, press play on the tape player and walk away. I guess you still do the same as you would not want any of this new crap.
  • Shadowmaster625 - Monday, January 24, 2011 - link

    You are quite delusional and propagandized if you think comparing a 2600K to something like a Q6600 or X2-250 is like going from "tape players" whatever you might use now. If you want a proper comparison, try VHS vs SuperVHS. Remember that? Oh yes, you must go out and spend $300 on that shiny new super-vhs player. All your old tapes will still look the same. But that's ok because anything new you record will look pretty good. (Of course if you ever stopped and thought about it, back in the day things always looked pretty good when you first recorded them. It's not until you tried playing it back in a different vcr that it started looking bad.)

    When someone can build a $500 gaming system that runs faster than something with a previous generation cpu and motherboard for less money then I might begin to be interested. But when you have to go with half the stream processors just to pay for a bunch of new crap that doesnt even get you anything, it makes no sense. These chips are supposed to result in cheaper motherboards. More integration, lesss complexity, bla bla bla. Well I dont see it. I just see a money grab.
  • seamusmc - Friday, January 21, 2011 - link

    Shadow, some of us are still a generation or two behind. We'll definitely see more then a 5 percent boost. Personally I've been waiting for this 'perfect storm' of price and performance for quite some time, though I may wait for the 22nm refresh.

    Sure if you have an X58 platform with a 950 it probably doesn't make sense to upgrade, certainly not for gaming. Though many of the folks that frequent this site are enthusiasts and just want to play with the new hardware regardless of cost.
  • seamusmc - Friday, January 21, 2011 - link

    Shadow, just realized the 5 percent gain you were talking about may have been between a $70 P67 board and $200 P67 board.

    I'd agree on that front. Though the more expensive boards do come with more features, USB hubs, and some better quality components.

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