I received the first of what I hope will be many 1155 mini-ITX motherboards today in the form of an Intel DH67CF. We’ve had a lot of discussion on the site concerning this board and it’s apparently limited Sandy Bridge processor support. It seems that Intel is concerned about heat issues when using 95w processors in mini-ITX cases, so the official specs indicate support for only 65w Core i3 and i5 processors. We’ll get into heat issues and 95w processors on the next page.
First, let’s have a closer look at the new DH67CF.
I’ve always been a fan of Intel’s retail packaging, functional and trademark blue, without the flashy clutter found on most other boxes. The DH67CF’s box front highlights the features of the board, including the as expected logo indicating support for Core i5 only. The back of the packaging shows an overview of the board layout with another list of features and included software.
Opening the box reveals the DH67CF tucked neatly inside of an anti static bag. Removing the board from the box reveals two red SATA cables, the I/O shield and a CD-ROM with the drivers and utilities. Literature is sparse and comes in the form of a quick reference poster in 11 languages and a couple of decals, one with the board layout to go on the inside of your case and one that describes the layout of the ports on the rear panel. Both may come in handy if you’re building a system for someone less familiar with the finer points of computer peripherals.
Slipping the DH67CF from its plastic cover reveals the trademark blue PCB bearing the Intel logo centered above the DIMM slots. Oddly, that was the second logo I noticed, the first was Foxconn’s. Embossed on the top of the USB and audio ports, and on the underside, the Foxconn logo outnumbers the Intel logo by four-to-one. I was not surprised at all by this. Intel is just one of many companies that employ Foxconn to manufacturer their products. I just got a kick out of trying to write a review on an ‘Intel’ board but seeing Foxconn logos every time I look at it. It would be interesting to do a direct comparison between this board and the upcoming Foxconn H67S to see how much they do share.
As with many high-end mini-ITX boards the CPU socket is located very close to the PCI Express slot. With the stock Intel cooler installed there are bare millimeters to spare between the heatsink and the graphics card. It’s not a serious issue as the stock components fit quite well but any of you who are planning on an aftermarket cooler will need to measure carefully.
I had no unexpected issues installing the DH67CF in out Lian Li PC-Q08 chassis. That’s not to say its easy or straight forward. Any of you who have built mini-ITX systems know there is precious little space to work inside the case. One thing I did notice while connecting the drives is that although the board has four SATA connectors, one of them (the red one) is shared with the eSATA connection on the rear panel. This would not be the best motherboard to take advantage of the Q08 six 3.5″ drive bays if you plan on using the eSATA port.
Once we had the Intel DH67CF secured in place, I completed the test build with:
- Intel Core i5 2500k (95w)
- 4 GB G.Skill Ripjaw Gaming Series RAM (DDR3-1333)
- 700w OCZ ModXStream Power Supply
- 500 GB Hard Drive
- DVD Combo Drive.
I loaded up Windows 7 Home Premium and set out to see how much heat I had to deal with using an unsupported CPU.