One thing I've noted in other P67 reviews is how much closer the CPU socket seems to the memory slots. I have illustrated this in the photos above, showing the P7P55D-E Deluxe, the P8P67 EVO and the ECS P67H2-A2. On the P55 board, notice where the top screw hole lines up with the right side heatsink mount holes. Now compare this to the P67 offerings.
I point out all of this because the proximity of the CPU socket to the memory slots can restrict what type of heatsink / memory you use. If you want to use a large heatsink, you will need to make sure that it won't overhang the 2nd memory slot... that is, if you are using memory with large heatspreaders. Something like the OCZ Flex EX memory will not work when using a heatsink such as the Noctua NH-D14 without removing the outermost cooling fan.
Expansion slots on the P8P67 EVO include, from top to bottom: PCIe x1, PCIe x16, PCIe x1, legacy PCI, PCIe x16, legacy PCI, PCIe x16. The blue x16 slot runs at full speed with a single card or x8 / x8 when used with the secondary PCIe x16 slot. PCIe slot 3 (black) shares bandwidth with both PCIe x1 slots, ESATA3G, PESATA3G and USB3_3/4. I do appreciate that ASUS have went with dual slot spacing between the first and second PCIe x16 slots. This will allow you to use dual graphics cards with large aftermarket coolers like the recently reviewed Zotac Amp! Edition GeForce GTX 480.
Across the bottom of the board are the following connectors / switches, from left to right: front panel audio connector, S/PDIF_out header, 1394a header, TPU switch, three USB 2.0 headers, power and reset buttons, a 3-pin chassis fan header and the system panel connector headers.
The TPU switch controls the TurboV Processing Unit and serves as a one-button (er, switch) method to overclock your system. This sounds much like OC Genie found on MSI boards which proved to be a reliable way to overclock Sandy Bridge in our review. We will put this feature to the test a bit later during the overclocking section of this review.
Moving up the right side of the board we see a large passive heatsink covering the P67 chipset. To the right of this are eight SATA connectors lined on the edge of the board for easier connectivity. The four light blue connectors and the two white connectors are controlled by the P67 chipset and are SATA 3 / SATA 6, respectively. The two dark blue slots are run by a Marvell chip and are SATA 6.
Above the SATA connectors is a front panel USB 3.0 header and the 24-pin ATX power connector.
The rear I/O panel consists of the following connections, from left to right: PS/2 mouse and keyboard, coaxial S/PDIF out, optical S/PDIF out, Bluetooth module, two USB 2.0 ports, eSATA port, two more USB 2.0 ports, 1394a port, powered eSATA port, Realtek LAN port, two more USB 2.0 ports, Intel LAN port, two USB 3.0 ports, clear CMOS button and six audio jacks (Sub, Rear, Side, Line In, Line Out, Mic). There isn't much to see on the back of the motherboard.
Let's keep going and have a look at the hardware we will be using with this board.