The board itself isn’t exactly as Pureblack as Sapphire describe it. There’s some blue styling dotted around and red SATA ports.
The P67 chip is covered by a low profile heatsink with some logo styling stamped on top.
The other heatsink covered chip on this board is the Lucid Hydra. The LT24102 didn’t receive particularly great press when released last year so it’ll be interesting to see how it’s holding up in 2011. The general consensus among enthusiasts though is that they’d prefer Xfire or SLI, not this hybrid.
The memory slots have a sticker covering them making sure to remind you to select the correct voltage for your memory and to populate the slots in a certain order. Weirdly though, this order conflicts with the manual if you’re only using 2 sticks. For example, the manual recommends slots 2 and 4 for dual memory setups and if you have three, slots 1, 2 and 4 should be used. Someone at Sapphire got confused.
It’s good to see the use of solid capacitors everywhere as well as some of Sapphire’s patent pending “diamond” chokes with an integrated heatsink. Presumably these run cooler and should last longer.
There’s 4x SATA 2 connectors on this board (red) and 2x SATA 3 ports (black). They all face horizontally making attachment a little easier.
At the base of the board is a small LED readout. This doubles as both a post diagnostic and as a CPU temperature display once you reach your OS.
Hear you’ll also find twin power and reset switches built into the board. This is a great feature for overclockers and enthusiasts; anyone playing with their PC while it’s out of the case. There’s also a CMOS reset switch.
The I/O back panel is quite well rounded. There’s a single PS2 port for mouse/keyboard connection, 8x USB 2.0 ports, a single coaxial and optical S/PDIF in and out, 1 x firewire, 2 x USB 3.0, an eSATA, gigabit ethernet lan and the usual onboard audio connectors. There’s also a built in bluetooth transmitter which allows for the connection of bluetooth enabled devices.
Here’s the P67 chip with its heatsink peeled back. Not such hotstuff now eh?
And here’s the little Lucid Hydra.