By now, the issue with Intel's 6-series chipsets has been widely reported. This glitch potentially affected the four standard SATA 3Gbps ports on these chipsets, leading to performance degradation and even possible data loss.
The chip giant promptly issued a recall of the affected motherboards and has started producing new bug-free silicon. Early adopters who have bought motherboards to accompany their new Sandy Bridge processors can exchange their faulty boards with their respective board manufacturers (check here for local users). However, while some vendors like ASUS, ECS, Gigabyte and MSI, have announced their revised, 'B3 stepping' versions, we're still awaiting word from the rest. Intel has said publicly that it expects full production in April, so stocks of these B3 boards could be limited now.
If you haven't paid for your Sandy Bridge system yet, you can count yourself fortunate that you have avoided the hassle of replacing the board. And unless you're dead sure that you won't ever be using those SATA 3Gbps ports, we highly recommend that you wait for the revised boards. ASUS, for instance, have revealed to us that they also took the opportunity to further tune the BIOS with some minor enhancements. Of course, you could take the downtime to check out which motherboard and processor best fit your needs.
After our mainstream P67 roundup, we are going down the performance level and looking at motherboards that use Intel's H67 Express chipset. The H67 chipset is for those who intend to use the integrated Intel HD Graphics on the Sandy Bridge processor. It also lacks many of the overclocking and tweaking options that are present on the P67 chipset, which drastically reduces the appeal of an unlocked 'K' processor for this chipset. These boards are not the new B3 versions, but we don't expect any performance discrepancies, especially since we are using the SATA 6Gbps port in our testing. Also, the tested boards are identical to the upcoming revised B3 edition boards, hence our evaluation will still be applicable to the replacement editions bearing the "B3" naming scheme.
With four H67 motherboards in this roundup (ASUS P8H67-V, ECS H67H2-M, Gigabyte GA-H67A-UD3H and Intel DH67BL), including both microATX and full ATX designs, there's something for everyone. So let's jump straight to the first board, the ASUS P8H67-V.