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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  • erple2 - Friday, January 21, 2011 - link

    Technically, there has simultaneously always and never been a "perfect storm" of price and performance. Things always get faster at the same price point over time.

    As a commenter above pointed out, while these machines may be able to decode stuff quickly (and I'm guessing the 2600k will be faster), when their "system price" comes down to whatever sweet spot you are targeting, we'll have additional things we want to do with our computers (3D movies, 4K HD, 8K hD etc) that will tax these beyond what we consider "reasonable" today.

    Ultimately, things ALWAYS get cheaper for the same level of performance and/or do more with the same cost. That's what progress "mandates". Unfortunately, we demand more things to be done, so the perceived amount of extra work you can do never really seems to go down. I used to be happy running a 386-DX40 in the DOS days. Things seemed fast and speedy then. I acknowledge that I do more today than I did back then, though I'm not sure if that's because the software does more, rather than I do more.

    My advice - pick a budget and when you can no longer reasonably do what you now do, then buy with an eye to the future. I picked a fairly high budget, but I wanted to get a 'significant' upgrade that would still be usable 3 years in the future. My Core2Duo lasted from 2007 until the end of 2010, when I (foolishly) bought an i7-950.
  • marc1000 - Friday, January 21, 2011 - link

    and in the 067 boards we can't use the encoding abilities from Sandy Bridge, because the on-chip GPU is turned-off in this chipset. so the only value in $150 boards is x8/x8 PCIe (cheaper boards cut this to x16/x4, a stupid thing but the only way to force us to spend more).
  • medi01 - Saturday, January 22, 2011 - link

    Which "encoding abilities" are we talking about, please? Shamelessly hyped increased speed, achieved at the cost of quality loss, eh?
  • Beenthere - Thursday, January 20, 2011 - link

    Asus has a long history of delivering half-baked goods - which this review confirms has happened once again. That and the fact that Asus provides zero customer support in my and many other customer's experience, means I'll vote with my wallet and get the Gigabyte mobo. I know the Asus fanbois will ignore the product defects and buy the Asus mobo anyway because of some review which shows it will OC by 2 Hz. more or something insignificant. This is how Asus dupes the naive kids.
  • Rick83 - Thursday, January 20, 2011 - link

    Well, I'm monitoring the Gigabyte boards, and there's the same image as you'd expect from the ASUS side. Plus with the weird BIOS-flash thing happening on all the boards, and the features that are missing on the Gigabyte boards, I think I'll take an ASUS this time around. (Though any board will be a step down from my brilliant IP35 Pro.... RIP ABIT)
    Digital Audio Inputs seem to have died out completely....

    In the end, I think I'll go with the microATX ASUS in the new Fortress FT3 by Silverstone...
  • SmCaudata - Thursday, January 20, 2011 - link

    I want to do the same build. I'm hoping for a new GENE or equivalent ASrock board. The FT3 looks like it can handle SLI well. Would be fun to build that powerful of a system in w small package and still have awesome thermals.
  • Gothmoth - Thursday, January 20, 2011 - link

    gigabyte boards make way more trouble then asus boards.

    don´t remind me on the samsung drives or hitachi drives that would not work for 8 month with gigabyte boards.

    take a look at gigabytes support forum and you will see how "happy" the gigabyte users are. LOL.
  • milkyway4me - Thursday, January 20, 2011 - link

    Asus does advance RMA, gigabyte doesn't. That and that alone, is why any reasonable person should choose Asus barring some massive issue that sticks out to them.
  • Duwelon - Thursday, January 20, 2011 - link

    And i've had the exact experience with Asus and Gigabyte. Last 3 computers I built all used Gigabyte board. 1 bad video card (fanless gigabyte 4550 and they replaced it with a geforce 9600gt with a fan... gee thanks for the downgrade in performance and features and upgrade in noise, thanks so very much). 1 Gigabyte board is acting up, the NIC keeps disappearing without a trace, had to install a PCI NIC to keep it on the network. I friggin hate Gigabyte's RMA process, but they're still better than some i've had to use. Asus, never had a problem with their RMA and they were a little faster than Gigabyte from what I remember. To each their own, sadly they both have flaws and neither are much better than the other. Overall though, given my recent screwing over by Gigabyte and recent issues, my pendulem is swinging towards Asus again.
  • seamusmc - Friday, January 21, 2011 - link

    I've had boards from all major vendors, ASUS, Intel, Gigabyte, Abit, DFI, etc. They've all had duds and they've all had great boards. I currently have 4 ASUS x48 Rampage's, (Home Server, Work, Wife and Game), and it is one of my favorites among many favorites. ASUS CULV is another stand out in my memory.

    In my experience, ASUS hasn't delivered more half-baked goods then anyone else.

    Right now, it seems to me all the boards are having issues and that's to be expected with a new chipset. This is why I decided last month, despite my unquenchable hunger to upgrade, to wait at least until Feb to upgrade. At this point I may wait until March.

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