Excerpt: With Sandy Bridge hitting a small reef with the first batch of P67 motherboards, things seem to be back on track for Intel. Till now, if you wanted to overclock your shiny new Sandy Bridge CPU, there was just one option, the P67 chipset. But by doing so, you had to sacrifice the on-board GPU, which is actually not to shabby for video encoding.
Conclusion: If price was not a deciding factor and the use of onboard video not essential (without a dedicated GPU) the Deluxe wins this battle hands down. But if you want the same performance at a lower cost while forgoing certain extras (listed below) and gaining the ability to use iGPU, then the Pro makes a lot more sense.
Conclusion: Good things don’t come cheap but it sure is worth paying for, especially if your usage could benefit from the Z68 capability and also the available IO ports. Imagine this, a cheap RM 300 board with an Intel Core i7 2600K could cost about RM 1.3k or so. With this board it comes to about RM 1.6k as this board retails at about RM 670.
Conclusion: The last great feature of the Z68 I want to touch on is the SSD caching in the form of Intel’s Smart Response Technology. Basically ISRT allows you to add an SSD and use it as a cache for your existing HDD. ISRT only works in RAID though, not AHCI or IDE, so you’ll have to reinstall Windows 7 on your HDD and set it up with RAID, unless you want to be greeted by BSOD galore.
Summary: Enhanced mode is safer, but your fastest write is at the speed of the hard drive. So what do we think of the P8Z68-V Pro board? We probably would not upgrade to it if we were running a P67. We view SRT and the Quick Sync access as valuable, but not quite worth the hassle of an upgrade. But this board is the clear choice if you’re building a new mainstream PC.
Pros: Beautiful UEFI interface; Intel SRT and Virtu support.
Cons: Documentation on SRT and Virtu support lacking; no dual-link DVI support on integrated graphics.
Conclusion: Only those building extreme systems with three graphics cards, or power users who aren’t satisfied with running SLI/CrossFireX graphics cards in PCIe x8 mode, are likely to find anything wanting here. For most system builders, this midprice, full-featured motherboard is the one to beat if you’re building a cutting-edge system with a Socket 1155 processor.
Pros: Supports using integrated and dedicated graphics together with Lucid's Virtu tech, Excellent utilities, Built-in Bluetooth, Q-Connector simplifies installation
Cons: Dual graphics cards must run in x8 mode due to chipset limitations
Conclusion: Although we strive to be as objective as possible, any review will reflect to some extent the perceptions and biases of the reviewer. Also, keep in mind that the computer market is very volatile, and that today's killer super product can easily become yesterday's also-ran as the market competition changes. Don't base a purchase decision solely on this review, but use it as part of your research.
Pros: Can use integrated Sandy Bridge video and a discrete video card, Intel Smart Response technology boosts disk performance, EPU, TPU, and 12-phase power enable high and stable overclocks, Four SATA 6G and four USB 3.0 ports, Excellent UEFI BIOS implementation.
Cons: Single-latch DIMM sockets. I hate those., Virtu software still has some rough edges, NVIDIA Synergy not available yet, Paucity of PCI-E lanes
Conclusion: The Intel Z68 Express chipset is really what Intel should have brought to the market when the Sandy Bridge was launched. While the P67 is by no means a bad chip, its inability to access the integrated graphics Quick Sync feature frustrated many people. Now, if Quick Sync wasn’t as efficient in transcoding or the visual quality was not good, then it wouldn’t be such a big deal, but Quick Sync is damn good, if not the best hardware assisted transcoding tool out there.