Asus P8H67-I Deluxe
A Deluxe mainboard in Mini-ITX form-factor is a pretty popular thing these days. There are several different manufacturers who currently offer solutions like that, and Asus is one of them. The idea is fairly simple: the platform developers try to load their products with as many additional controllers as possible, in order to create a multi-functional combine that will not need any additional expansion cards. Especially, since installing these cards into miniature Mini-ITX systems may be quite challenging.
Within this very concept Asus P8H67-I Deluxe turned out really great. Besides typical features delivered by the Intel H67 chipset and a standard set of controllers, it also support four USB 3.0 ports, Bluetooth interface and has an integrated Wi-Fi adapter. This combination of features makes Asus P8H67-I Deluxe one of the most complex mainboards in our today’s article.
Of course, Asus P8H67-I Deluxe doesn’t set any limitations when it comes to assembling a high-performance system. It supports all LGA1155 processors including 95 W models. It also has the PCI Express x16 slot, which has become almost standard on Mini-ITX mainboards for second-generation Core processors.
They use a NEC controller to implement USB 3.0 ports. Two of them are led to the back panel and two more are available as an onboard pin-header to be connected to the system case ports. Note that there are no brackets of any kind for connecting these ports included with the board, which is not surprising, as it is really hard to please the owners of different Mini-ITX cases.
The integrated Wi-Fi module is designed as a daughter card, which goes into the mini-PCIe slot on the board. The actual Wi-Fi adapter is AzureWave AR5B895 on Atheros chip, which supports 802.11b/g/n standards. However, this model works only in the 2.4 GHz range, which may be a problem for some users. Luckily, the Wi-Fi module can be replaced, since the mini-PCIe slot is compatible with any half-size expansion cards.
Asus engineers paid special attention to functionality of their solution that is why besides a pair of USB 3.0 ports and antenna connectors they also added to the back panel six USB 2.0 ports, eSATA port, Gigabit network implemented via Realtek RTL8111E controller, a PS/2 connector, an optical S/PDIF Out and three analogue audio-jacks supported by an eight-channel Realtek ALC892 codec. As for the monitor outs, there are three of them: HDMI, DVI-D and D-Sub.
Of course, a miniature mainboard had to pay its price for this diversity of features. First, there wasn’t enough space on Asus P8H67-I Deluxe for standard 240-pin DDR3 DIMM-slots. They had to be replaced with compact SO-DIMM slots supporting 204-pin notebook DDR3 SDRAM. Of course, it is not a big problem, because DDR3 SO-DIMM are widely spread and cost pretty much the same as the desktop modules, but nevertheless it does create additional inconvenience.
Secondly, the excessive number of onboard controllers forced Asus engineers to press the LGA1155 socket a little to the side. There is not that much free space around it, so far not every CPU cooler will actually fit onto this board. You should be guided by the size of a standard boxed heatsink – there is 104x104 mm spot allocated for the CPU cooler.
Asus offers two four-pin connectors for the fans. Both of them support PWM rotation speed adjustment.
Asus P8H67-I Deluxe is equipped with a solid aluminum heatsink of sophisticated shape covering processor voltage regulator components and the chipset. It is installed using secure screw-on retention and does its job very well.
The processor voltage regulator circuitry beneath this heatsink has four phases and is uses Asus EPU (Energy Processing Unit). It is a very useful component for a miniature mainboard designed for energy-efficient systems. By adjusting the number of active processor power phases, EPU increases the voltage regulator efficiency especially when S- and T-series processors with lower TDP are installed.
There are a few other smaller things that make this Asus mainboard a truly deluxe product. For example, it still has the MemOK button, which should eliminate POST issues when using new system memory, and the hardware GPU Boost switch. Intel H67 chipset doesn’t allow overclocking the processor, but the graphics core integrated into the CPU can in fact be overclocked successfully. Asus engineers made this procedure as simple as possible: the switch allows raising the GPU frequency by up to 30%.
Despite all the functions Asus P8H67-I Deluxe supports, its accessories are pretty scarce. Besides the user manual, a disk with software, back panel I/O Shield and a pair of Wi-Fi antennas, there are only two SATA cables. And the connector locks on these cables may be very difficult to work with inside small Mini-ITX cases, because all SATA connectors are located along the very edge of the PCB. It is a real pity that Asus doesn’t provide its compact mainboard with the famous Q-connector block, which could be extremely handy during compact system assembly.
Asus P8H67-I Deluxe uses the manufacturer’s standard EFI BIOS with graphics interface:
Its functionality is also quite typical of the Asus boards. The only disappointing thing being the absence of any overclocking-related options, which are available on all full-size Deluxe mainboards. However, it is the chipset that doesn’t allow increasing the processor clock frequency multiplier, so we shouldn’t really blame Asus for that. What we can actually complain about is the fact that developers removed all options dealing with processor core voltage adjustment. As a result, the mainboard doesn’t allow downclocking the CPU efficiently, even though there is a way of limiting the maximum value for it.
At the same time, all options dealing with graphics core and BCLK bus overclocking remained. So, you can still slightly overclock the CPU using the bus frequency approach. As for the graphics core, it can be overclocked quite substantially, since the board knows how to adjust its voltage. Note that GPU overclocking may be performed manually as well as automatically – using the GPU Boost function.
Moreover, there are all options for the memory frequency, voltage and timings adjustment. Although we failed to get this mainboard to work with DDR3-1600 SDRAM modules, Asus P8H67-I Deluxe is fully compatible with lower-voltage DDR3 SO-DIMM.