Price is always going to be an important consideration when purchasing any product, but it’s particularly important when it comes to P67 motherboards. This is because many of the boards that occupy the £100-150 price range perform similarly;
This means that price and features play a greater role in determining which motherboard you should buy. As a result, we were intrigued by the Biostar TP67XE(B3), because on paper the board looks like a steal. It retails for a very competitive £104.99, but includes a number of handy features that we’re used to seeing on more expensive boards.
Initially, the board looks unspectacular; while its red and white colour scheme isn’t awful, it’s not as smart-looking as other boards we’ve seen. The off-brown PCB doesn’t help either.
Similarly, the chunky heatsink that covers the bank of VRMs nearest the rear I/O connections follows a functional-rather-than-fancy design. Meanwhile, smaller heatsinks also cover the upper bank of VRMs and the Southbridge.
On the plus side, the Biostar boasts compatibility with both CrossFire and SLI, and its two 16x PCI-E slots are well-spaced, so dual-card setups will be able to function without overheating worries.
If you opt for a dual GPU arrangement, though, you'll realistically only be left with a single PCI expansion slot, as the two 1x PCI-E slots are positioned between the two larger 16x slots. This still technically leaves the lower 1x PCI-E slot free if you use video cards with dual-slot coolers, but we wouldn't recommend using this slot as any card you put there is likely to cook between the two graphics cards.
Interestingly, the Biostar has only five on-board SATA ports: two SATA 6Gbps ports, and three SATA 3Gbps. The sixth SATA 3Gbps port included as part of the P67 chipset has been switched to an eSATA port, and is found on the board’s rear I/O. This is a sensible arrangement, as it means you get an eSATA port without the cost of adding a separate controller chip.
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Located next to the bank of SATA ports are a couple of the premium features we mentioned earlier, in the shape of on-board power and reset buttons, and a debug code display. Both (especially the latter) often prove useful and are therefore good to see on a board that costs less than £110.
Chipset Intel P67
CPU support LGA1155 Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7
Memory support 4 slots: max 16GB DDR3 (2,133MHz)
Expansion slots Two 16x PCI-E 2.0 slots (16x or two 8x), two PCI, two 1x PCI-E
Sound Intel HD Audio via Realtek ALC892 with 8-channel support
Networking Realtek RTL8111E Gigabit Ethernet
Overclocking CPU Clock 100 – 150MHz; max voltages, CPU 1.78V, PCH 1.5V, RAM 2.2V, PLL 2.5V, Vcc IO 1.7V, Vcc SA 1.6V
Ports 3 x SATA 3Gbps, 2 x SATA 6Gbps, 1 x PS/2, 12 x USB 2, 2 x USB 3, 2 x FireWire, LAN, 4 x surround audio out, line in, mic, digital S/PDIF out, eSATA 3Gbps