Sapphire Pure Platinum H67 £90
23rd Jun 2011 | 14:09
A tiny motherboard with some serious ambition
Sapphire Pure Platinum H67: Overview and features
The latest manufacturer to join the Sandy Bridge/ITX revolution is Sapphire, with its Pure Platinum H67 based around Intel's H67 chipset.
When Intel was gazing into its crystal ball to get an idea of the impact its Sandy Bridge technology might make on the market, there's a fair chance it didn't see the second – or at least the third – coming of an old motherboard format back into the limelight.
Since its inception back in 2001, every now and then the ITX motherboard format makes an appearance, with some brave manufacturer hoping that this will be the time the format takes off.
But with the coming of Sandy Bridge, at last it seems the format's time to bask in the sun has arrived.
With the tiny platform now being able to offer performance that previous generations of boards could only dream about, nearly every motherboard manufacturer worth its salt has at least one Sandy Bridge based ITX board in their lineup.
The Sapphire Pure Platinum H67 isn't quite as well featured as Zotac's H67-ITX Wi-Fi – you only get two SATA 3Gbps ports on the Sapphire board as compared to the four Zotac supply – but both have twin SATA 6Gbps ports. Sapphire's board also misses out on the Wi-Fi module that comes with the Zotac board.
It still has the mini PCIe slot, which sits under slung beneath the board, but it does have Bluetooth built in and, in place of the Zotac's Wi-Fi aerial mount, the Pure Platinum H67 has a standard VGA output port.
Mind you, this isn't the only output to feed a monitor/TV, as you also get single HDMI, dual-link DVI and DisplayPort outputs.
The rest of the ports are pretty standard, apart from the antennae for the Atheros AR3011 Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR module. That would be standard for a microATX or lower-mainstream, full-sized ATX board, let alone a wee thing like the Pure Platinum H67.
There are also four USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit LAN, the audio block for the 7.1 integrated audio and a separate optical S/PDIF out port.
Sapphire Pure Platinum H67: Performance
Benchmarks CPU rendering performance
Cinebench R11.5: Index. Higher is better
Sapphire Pure Platinum H67: 6.68
Zotac H67-ITX Wi-Fi: 6.62
Cinebench R10: Seconds. Quicker is Better
Sapphire Pure Platinum H67: 38
Zotac H67-ITX Wi-Fi: 39
CPU video encoding performance
X264v2: fps. Higher is better
Zotac H67-ITX Wi-Fi: 35.02
Sapphire Pure Platinum H67: 34.98
X264v3: fps. Higher is better
Zotac H67-ITX Wi-Fi: 34.85
Sapphire Pure Platinum H67: 34.67
Discrete graphics 1080P gaming performance
DiRT 2: fps - Higher is better
Sapphire Pure Platinum H67: 92
Zotac H67-ITX Wi-Fi: 80
CPU graphics 1080P gaming performance
DiRT 2: fps - Higher is better
Sapphire Pure Platinum H67: 23
Zotac H67-ITX Wi-Fi: 19
As you might expect with two ITX motherboards using Intel's H67 chipset, there's hardly anything to choose between Zotac's H67-ITX Wi-Fi and the Sapphire Pure Platinum H67. But what they both show is just how much more powerful today's ITX board is, compared to any other previous incarnation of the format.
Compared with the last Sapphire ITX motherboard we reviewed, the AMD Fusion-based Pure Fusion Mini E350, the Pure Platinum H67 is light years away in performance terms. This is thanks to its Intel LGA1155 i7/i5/i3 CPU support and the H67 chipset itself.
The Fusion board is close in concept, but still the weak Brazos APU doesn't have anywhere near the processing grunt of the full-powered Intel chip. That said, it's not really in the same ballpark in terms of price or power consumption.
Sapphire Pure Platinum H67: Verdict
As with all ITX boards, the limitations of the form factor are apparent when it comes to expansion slots, as there is only room for a single x16 PCI-E slot. But still, it's a full-size slot capable of handling a proper discrete card.
As with most of the better Sandy Bridge-equipped ITX boards, Sapphire has made full use of the display options offered by the H67 chipset which, when you add in Intel's QuickSync video transcoding technology built into the Sandy Bridge proccessors, makes the Pure Platinum H67 an ideal base for a tiny HTPC or media PC.
Sapphire's Pure Platinum H67 also a well put together board with the brand's usual attention to detail.
It's difficult to find anything to dislike about Sapphire's Pure Platinum board. It may have slightly less in its feature list than Zotac's H67-ITX Wi-Fi, for example, but then again it's around £30 cheaper.
The Sapphire Pure Platinum H67 is yet another very well put together mini motherboard that shows that the ITX format is no longer the ugly duckling of the motherboard world.