asus p8z68 v pro Asus and MSIs Z68 boards unveiled at CeBIT

The very first Z68 motherboards are starting to trickle out at CeBIT and the first two boards are from Asus and MSI. The models are the Asus P8PZ68-V Pro and the MSI Z68A-GD80, of which the MSI board appears to be the higher-end model. The selling point of both boards is that they overclock, but you can still make use of Intel's integrated graphics, something that might become appealing with a sprinkle of LucidLogix Virtu software.

The very first Z68 motherboards are starting to trickle out at CeBIT and the first two boards are from Asus and MSI. The models are the Asus P8PZ68-V Pro and the MSI Z68A-GD80, of which the MSI board appears to be the higher-end model. The selling point of both boards is that they overclock, but you can still make use of Intel's integrated graphics, something that might become appealing with a sprinkle of LucidLogix Virtu software.

The Asus P8Z68-V Pro actually looks a lot like Asus' P8P67 Pro, but with a different rear I/O layout. This might not be the final layout, so expect the possibility of some features to change before it launches. The board has three x16 PCI Express slots, although the second one only works when two graphics cards are inserted in dual x8 mode and the third slot only has four lanes worth of bandwidth. The board also has two x1 PCI Express slots and two PCI slots.

asus p8z68 v pro Asus and MSIs Z68 boards unveiled at CeBIT

Other onboard connectors include two SATA 6Gbps ports, four SATA 3Gbps ports and three pin headers for up to six USB 2.0 ports. Around the back we spotted six USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports (via a Renesas controller), an eSATA port, a Gigabit Ethernet jack, a DVI, HDMI and D-sub connector, 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF out and a Bluetooth dongle. All pretty much par for the course, of course with the addition of the display interfaces, something that so far hasn't been a feature found on high-end motherboards.

MSI has gone even higher up the scale with its Z68A-GD80, at least if the model name follows that of MSI's standard naming scheme. The slot layout is actually identical to Asus' P8PZ68-V with three x16 PCI Express slots with the same configuration, two x1 PCI Express slots and two PCI slots. However, MSI has added a third SATA 6Gbps port via a third party controller for a total of three SATA 6Gbps ports and four SATA 3Gbps ports.

 

msi z68a gd80 Asus and MSIs Z68 boards unveiled at CeBIT

MSI has also added headers for two USB 3.0 ports, six USB 2.0 ports and one FireWire port. This board also features a Voltage readout block just in front of the power connector, just like the P67A-GD80. Around the back MSI has fitted four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, a PS/2 port, an eSATA 6Gbps port, a FireWire port, dual Gigabit Ethernet, a DVI and HDMI port and 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF out.

Of the two boards we'd say the MSI looks like the winner, at least in terms of features, but it's also likely to be the more expensive model of the two. Both companies have worked with LucidLogix in the past, so we'd expect that its Virtu software will be bundled with both boards when they ship. Without it, the Z68 chipset is still something of a winner, although be aware that it's not likely that you'll be able to use Intel's QuickSync technology without it, at least not if the Z68 chipset works anything like the H67 chipset when you insert a discrete graphics card.

Source: ComputerBase, ExtraHardware