Introduction to the Sapphire PURE Black P67
Sapphire, a company long since known for making products based around past and present ATi and AMD chips. Some of you may have even owned one of their products with out realizing, as they are the OEM behind the "Built By ATi" cards, and likely still even make the initial sample batch of boards for AMD. So being a leader in that area you can’t really fault Sapphire for wanting to broaden their scope a little more. As of late we have seen power supplies surface from Sapphire, namely the PurePSU and FirePSU. Many reviews find the power supplies solid and quite reliable.
Yet if you have been in the industry for a while you should remember that Sapphire briefly dabbled in motherboards as well. Of the few that were produced the most famous of them would have to be their PURE Crossfire 3200 with its white PCB. Not only did it perform well, but it was the best looking motherboard of the time (keep in mind ATi's white PCB toting 580X reference sample was made by Sapphire). Supporting true x16/x16 Crossfire, having overclocked well, and utilized AMD's at the time superior Athlon64 X2 processors, made for the PURE Crossfire 3200 to be the board to get if you wanted it all!
Sapphire since then had still released a motherboard every so often (though a couple were rebadged DFI models), but as they still have a motherboard engineering team that was still looking to make another splash in the motherboard market, they were given the green light. Their present was felt first with an Intel X58-based motherboard called the PURE Black X58. A little late to the party, but as the saying goes: "Better late than never!", and we fully agree. Which, the few reviews on the PURE Black X58 have been promising, showing that Sapphire is heading in the right direction.
However, our Sapphire sample today is not the PURE Black X58. No sir, this beauty is none other thent the PURE Black P67! Based on Intel’s newest chipset, codenamed "Cougar Point", and is made for the Sandy Bridge processors. While it may not have the white PCB we liked so much about the PURE Crossfire 3200, the PURE Black P67 does offer something over most of the other P67 motherboard manufacturers: the LUCID Hydra technology onboard. If you haven't been up on the current board tech, what this does is gives the user a unique ability by being able to combine two different vendor's graphics accelerators and allow work in tandem for increased performance. Sapphire may not be the first company to the table with a P67-based board offering the Hydra chip, but they sure look to be doing it better than the rest! So follow along as we put this beast through the gamut of tests and see if it passes with flying colors, or gets a Black mark...
Sapphire’s take on the PURE P67
Designed to support the latest Intel Sandy Bridge processors, the SAPPHIRE Pure Black P67 Hydra combines the Intel P67 chipset with the Lucid Hydra chip to allow a mix of graphics configurations to be used The board had many state of the art features such as on-board USB3.0, two sets of SATA III as well as SATA II ports, four dual channel DDR3 memory slots, 3x Gen2 (x16/x8/x8) with 1x Gen1 (x4) PCI-Express expansion slots, as well as a host of peripheral connections and on-board 8-channel audio. The SAPPHIRE Pure Black P67 Hydra has many features to support ‘overclocking’. The power sections are highly stable, featuring solid capacitors and SAPPHIRE Diamond Black chokes. BIOS options help optimize settings and SAPPHIRE TriXX gives easy access to performance tuning and status monitoring.