Enthusiast ATX and HTPC Sandy Bridge motherboards have been spotted at IDF by camera-wielding journos. While there are several vendors presenting their wares at IDF, it's the Intel-designed mobos that beckon attention.
According to several sources and the photography we've seen so far, the ATX format DP67BG 'Burrage' motherboard will be Intel's equivalent to an 'extreme edition' offering. Intel, with every range of moderately to massively performing CPUs releases an enthusiast-class motherboard which you can easily identify by the stylised skull logo on the PCB (or chipset cooler).
Legit Reviews managed to grab some images of one.
If the skull on the motherboard doesn't say it all, then the absence of any sort of video output should clear up the confusion. Yes, despite the entire hoo-hah about Sandy Bridge not being a high-end part and Intel claiming it will perform marvellously in 3D, you will have to stick one or two graphics cards on this motherboard. It also has four dual channel DDR3 slots, two PCIe 8x/16x, three PCIe 1x and two vanilla PCI slots. The LED close to the RAM slots is a display for boot-up diagnostics and there's also a 'clear CMOS' button. Useful for those OC'ing attempts.
However a few early specs have raised some eyebrows. Several sources have pegged Cougar Point as being a single PCIe 16x or 2 PCIe 8x configuration. It also doesn't seem to have the overclock-focused PWMs on it and, finally Intel has only half-embraced USB 3.0. If it is here, it's on a companion chip. Windows 7 isn't supporting it just right now, it's supposed to be added under SP1, soon.
If Intel wants to make the DP67BG Burrage the weapon of choice for the overclocking crowd that wants a K-series 2nd generation Intel Core processor, they will have to try harder, we think. We are left wondering whether Intel has some more plans for Sandy Bridge's GPU element, as it does seem this board was built for discrete graphics.
The mini-ITX board, still unidentified, a format that is a prime candidate for the reduced footprint of Sandy Bridge, is likely to be based on the H61 chipset. It has a full array of video outputs including HDMI, DisplayPort and DVI. Two memory slots will allow dual DDR3 channels and what looks like a full PCIe x16 slot will allow expansion.
We haven't found out how many displays Sandy Bridge can power as yet, but we're onto it.