z68x ud4h Gigabyte shows off early Z68 board at CeBIT

Not to be out done by its competitors, Gigabyte was also showing off an early Z68 board prototype at CeBIT, although in this case it appears to be a much earlier sample than its competitors were displaying, at least judging by the blue PCB, black slots and grey heatsinks. Also on display was Gigabyte's P67X-UD4 board which is part of what appears to be a new sub family of boards from Gigabyte, as the P67A-UD4 is still around and was just re-launched with the B3 stepping chipset.

Not to be out done by its competitors, Gigabyte was also showing off an early Z68 board prototype at CeBIT, although in this case it appears to be a much earlier sample than its competitors were displaying, at least judging by the blue PCB, black slots and grey heatsinks. Also on display was Gigabyte's P67X-UD4 board which is part of what appears to be a new sub family of boards from Gigabyte, as the P67A-UD4 is still around and was just re-launched with the B3 stepping chipset.

The Z68X-UD4H as the Z68 chipset based board is called doesn't look overly impressive, at least not compared to other UD4 models in Gigabyte's line-up. For starters, the power regulation on the model on display only appears to consist is a 6+1 phase design, although it's clear that it uses driver MOSFETs. In terms of slot configuration we're looking at a fairly standard setup with two x16 PCI Express slots where the second slot is activated by switching to dual x8 in the BIOS. The board also sports three x1 PCI Express slots and two PCI slots.

z68x ud4h Gigabyte shows off early Z68 board at CeBIT

Other onboard features include four SATA 6Gbps ports (two via an external controller), three SATA 3Gbps ports, pin headers for eight USB 2.0 ports and a single FireWire port as well as a pin header for two USB 3.0 ports via an Etron controller, a first for Gigabyte. Around the back we find a PS/2 port, four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports – again via an Etron controller – a FireWire port, an eSATA 3Gbps port, DisplayPort (full size), HDMI, DVI and D-sub connectors, Gigabit Ethernet and 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF out. That's a pretty loaded layout, although by now we wouldn't miss the D-sub connector or even to a degree the DVI connector terribly.

p67x ud4 1 Gigabyte shows off early Z68 board at CeBIT

As for the P67X-UD4, well it actually looks like the better choice over Gigabyte's own P67A-UD5 model, as it offers some additional advantages of the pricier model. For starters, it has a crazily stretched out PWM design which appears to be a 16+2 design which is as long as the rear I/O, a rather unusual design if nothing else. The board has a pair of x16 PCI Express slots, again with the second slot only operating in x8 mode when enabled and there are also two x1 PCI Express slots and two PCI slots. It's good to see that Gigabyte has added an additional pair of SATA 6Gbps ports to this board for a total of four, alongside four SATA 3Gbps ports.

p67x ud4 2 Gigabyte shows off early Z68 board at CeBIT

You also get pin headers for two USB 3.0 ports (again using an Etron controller) six USB 2.0 ports and a single FireWire port. Around the back things are looking like a rainbow exploded, although presumably this won't be the case on the final production boards. Here we have a PS/2 port, seven USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, one powered eSATA/USB 2.0 combo port, one eSATA port, one FireWire port, Gigabit Ethernet  and 7.1-channel audio with optical and coaxial S/PDIF out. Overall an interesting board and what looks set to be a good successor of the P67A-UD4 if that's the plan, as we can't see anyone not picking this over the old model, or even the P67A-UD5.

Source: Lab501, PC Games Hardware