The Sandy Bridge core is nearly upon us, but it is not just for the enthusiasts that want something new to play with. Being Intel's new mainstream processor, this new technology is intended for all, done by replacing the 1156 socket with the LGA 1155. Sandy Bridge will consist of two sub-chipsets: the P67 and H67. Both are very similar and are only separated by onboard graphic ports, as all the current Sandy Bridge processors have integrated graphics.
The P8P67 shares the same blue, white and gray color scheme as the rest of the ASUS P/H67 line of mainstream motherboards, save for the Sabertooth and Maximus lines that is. The P8P67 uses the standard ATX form factor so the end user will have access to seven expansion slots, unlike the microATX form factor which only offers four.
The P8P67 comes with two full length PCIe x16 slots, with only one operating at x16 which is the dark blue slot closest to the CPU socket. The black slot (nestled between the light blue legacy PCI slots) stands at x4, but also shares bandwidth with the two x1 slots, as well as the USB 3.0 headers; however, according to ASUS the black x16 slot is defaulted to x1 in order to provide the second USB3 controller optimal bandwidth. If you do decide to run a Crossfire with this motherboard, then the second full-length slot can be assigned all four remaining PCIe lanes (to run @ x4) in the BIOS to try and get the most out of the second GPU used. SLI however is not supported on this model though.
Like the LGA1156 socket processors, the LGA1155 also are equipped with an integrated memory controller, or IMC. This integrated controller supports up to 1333MHz dual channel DDR3, as apposed to the primarily 1066MHz of it's predecessors. This is not the limits of the motherboard though since it supports up to 2200MHz OC’ed. There are a total of four DIMM slots for support for a total of 32GB of ram. You will find the MEMok and EPU switches sitting in the corner of the motherboard near the DIMM slots.
The P67 chipset naturally has improvements over the previous P55 with its native support for two SATA III (6Gb/s) ports, but USB 3.0 is still done through an extra additional NEC controller IC. There are a total of four SATA III and four SATA II ports on this particular motherboard, and to cure any confusion the second set of SATA III ports are provided via a Marvel 9120 controller. The SATA III ports controlled by the Marvel chip does not support optical drives just data hard drives. No IDE or floppy drive controllers are present on this motherboard. As it is on the Pro model, the dark blue and white ports are the SATA III, with the remaining four light blue being for SATA II.
The back panel consists of two PS/2 ports, TOS-Link (optical) for digitial audio, six USB2 ports, with a single FireWire (1394a). The two USB3 in their standard blue color are easy to pick out by now, which one Gigabit LAN sits above them. Finally we come to the six analog 3.5mm (1/8") audio jacks for up to 7.1 channel audio, which they and the optical port are all provided by a Realtek ALC890 audio CODEC. NEC is the chip behind the USB3 ports, both here and the internal header (though VIA finally has came out with one support 4 devices per chip, so we should see them soon). The Gigabit LAN port is provided by another Realtek controller, model 8111E. If you are wondering about that shiny blue port that was left out, well like on the Pro model of this motherboard ASUS has also included a Bluetooth module for BT GO features.