Slated for a Q2 2011 release, the first Sandy Bridge motherboards based on the upcoming Intel Z68 chipset started to make their appearance online, Mitac presenting such a board during a Sandy Bridge launch event that recently took place in Taiwan.Although the motherboard didn't present any sticker that has it labeled as a Z68 board, the SemiAccurate website reports that it featured two PCIe x16 slots as well as an HDMI output, two signs that point to Z68.
As you probably know by now, the Z68 chipset was designed in order to enable Sandy Bridge CPU overclocking while using the integrated graphics.
Currently, this feat isn't supported by either the P67 or the H67 as the first lacks the flexible display interface (FDI) required while the latter comes with no CPU multiplier adjustment.
In addition, Z68 will allow for the 16 PCI Express lanes available inside the Sandy Bridge processor to be split in two thus enabling dual-GPU setups to work in a x8 mode (as it's the case with P67 motherboards).
Moving back to the Mitac board, this adopts the micro-ATX form factor and features dual PCIe x16 slots (x8 electrically), a pair of PCIe x1 slots, four SATA 6Gbps ports, 10 power phases as well as on-board power and reset buttons.
The digital VRM circuits are cooled via three aluminum heatsinks, the chipset also using a similar cooling solution, and the layout seems to be pretty good although it lags in comparison with what we have come to expect from the likes of Asus or Gigabyte.
Moving to the back, we find two 6Gbps eSATA ports, six USB 2.0 and a pair USB 3.0 ports, dual Gigabit Ethernet, a Firewire port, an HDMI output as well as digital and analog audio connectors.
No details have been released so far regarding market availability and pricing, but we expect a Q2 release date, as Intel previously suggested.