Sandy Bridge, Intel's next offering to the mainstream segment of PCs still is about a month away. We bring you a preview of one of the motherboards capable of supporting these processors.

Based on the Intel P67 chipset, with an LGA 1155 socket, the Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3R is a high end motherboard. It will not support/activate integrated graphics on Intel's new processor line, a task perhaps left to the Intel H65/H67 chipsets.

Being a high end model for PC enthusiasts (though mainstream in positioning), this motherboard for Intel's Sandy Bridge processors is geared towards providing a good experience with plenty of features and is not expected to be low cost. This is a preview of the board's design and features alone.

Design

We are accustomed by now to a blue-and-white colour scheme from Gigabyte, but this P67 board bucks the trend. The P67A-UD3R is dominated by a dark black feel, with metal finishes interrupting in places. Some flourishes of blue are still present.

Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3R

Aesthetically pleasing and premium in feel.

Solid capacitors can be seen across the board. The 3 heat sinks are large and conspicuously visible across this full ATX board. Though notably bunched around the processor socket, there still is enough space for those who'd like to install after-market CPU coolers.

One complaint we could have about positioning, is the way two SATA ports are placed in such a way as to get blocked if a large graphics card is used in the second large PCI-Express slot (x4 unfortunately).

On the positive side, the headers on the motherboard (such as front audio, USB, additional fan power) are positioned in a logical manner where they are expected to be, unlike many boards that scatter headers seemingly without thinking it through. Some markings on the board are for non-existent headers, presumably because the same base is used for Gigabyte's P67A-UD7 product as well.

Rear panel of the P67A-UD3R is not quite choc-a-bloc, but does offer a lot, as is standard with upper-mainstream motherboards.

Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3R

Gigabyte figures that making plenty of USB ports available at the backpanel never hurt anyone. The blue ones are USB 3.0.