The Board - Layout
The board itself features a clean layout, with very little distractions. A very calm white/grey/black colouring scheme is used throughout, with vanity plates on the heatsinks to keep the theme all tied together. The back of the board is just as nice, with an additional feature we've not come across before.
That feature not seen elsewhere is the addition of several fiberglass reinforcement pads around the socket backplate, and the cooler mounting holes. This ensures that vibrations caused by system cooling fans do not cause the backplate and cooler mounts to scratch thier way through the board over time, as well as protecting the board from multiple cooler mountings, something we personally appreciate. Changing system configurations often is the bread and butter of reviewers and enthusiasts alike.
There are several pins sticking out from the back of the board, but the usual test mount of a Corsair H50 and its backplate confirms that none of these will interfere with mounting aftermarket cooling solutions.
The socket area is fairly uncluttered, however, the board's PWM cooling is quite close by, and very large. Attention must be paid to clearances around the socket when installing aftermarket cooling solutions. The PWM cooling is set back far enough that this should not be an issue for most aftermarket coolers, but it is something to keep in mind. The socket contain 15µ gold contacts, serving to provide better contact, even through multiple CPU changes, and to limit oxidation.
The board features four DIMM slots for up to 16 GB of memory (4x 4 GB). A single phase power delivery system for the DIMMs is just to the right of the DIMM slots themselves. This provides a great contrast to other enthusiast-level boards, most of which feature two- or three-phase power delivery for memory. We are quite eager to see how much of a role this may play when clocking RAM to the limit. The memory slots also contain 15µ contact pins.
The bottom half of the motherboard is filled with just five expansion slots; three PCI-E 2.0 slots (two x x16, and one x x1), and two PCI. The lack of a sixth and seventh slot, as is almost always the norm for full-size ATX boards, is part of what helps keep the design very clean and simple. With most enthusiast-grade VGAs featuring dual-slot coolers, this design choice is quite easily understood, and more than welcome, as it also helps keep the board's costs down.
There are a total of four fan headers on the P67H2-A2, three of which are your standard 3-pin, and the fourth, the CPU fan header, is PWM controlled.
The back panel itself has everything needed, including a Clear CMOS switch, handy when overclocking, as you don't need to get inside to the case to reset the BIOS when things are pushed too far. The full compliment of connectors includes:
- 1 x CLR CMOS button
- 1 x PS/2 mouse combo connector
- 2 x USB 3.0 ports
- 8 x USB 2.0 ports
- 2 x eSATA ports
- 2 x RJ45 LAN connectors
- 1 x audio port with 5 analogue audio jacks, and 1x Optical SPDIF