I was looking into which of the new Sandy Bridges processes/motherboard configurations I would want were I to upgrade and came across three different chipsets (H67, P67 and Z68) to choose from that will work with the new processors. These are the primary chipsets that you will encounter when considering an upgrade. Now the question of what is the differene, which to choose for you and why.
You are likely well aware of the shockingly good onboard graphics processing that the new Sandy Bridges processors offer, and if not, then suffice it to say that this is reportedly unlike any onboard graphics you have seen before. The VP of Epic Games even went so far as to say that this set of graphics does not suck, and to me that speaks volumes from a major player in the game developer market.
Anyway, bottom line is this.
H67 – Onboard graphics are enabled, while overclocking is disabled
P67 – You need a graphics card for this chipset – onboard graphics is disabled, however overclocking is enabled here
Z68 – You guessed it…best of both worlds. Onboard graphics are enabled, as is overclocking
Now, which is the choice for you? If you want to build a solid, mid-range system that is quiet and fairly simple while keeping costs reasonable, then you should probably be good to go with the H67 chipset. You do not have to spend the cash for a graphics card and you do not need to buy the K series processor for overclocking purposes. For your reference, the new chips themselves come in two varieties – K series (unlocked) and non-K series. For example a 2600K chip is unlocked and ready to be overclocked, while the 2600 chip is not made to overclock. The K series typically runs about $20 more.
If you are a gamer, then just jump for the P67 – I would also recommend this for heavy video editing and other graphics intensive work. You will likely be buying a separate graphics card anyway, and being able to OC your processor is a nice benefit as well. Just be sure to get the K series processor.
For users that fall somewhere in the middle or want the flexibility to add a graphics card later or who want to test out the onboard graphics without being stuck with their decision, then the Z68 seems like the obvious choice. The boards will likely come at something of a price premium (my personal guess) but it might not be enough to deter you, and will give you the peace of mind that you have the flexibility that you want to switch from integrated graphics to dedicated graphics.
There you have it! Hope that helps.