Asus P8Z77-V DELUXE ReviewRHKCommander959 - November 15, 2012
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The ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe is a high-end motherboard built around the Intel Z77 chipset. The board is compatible with Second (32 nm) and Third (22 nm) Generation Core Processors on socket LGA 1155. SLI and Crossfire are both supported with three x16 length slots. The top two slots are PCIe 3.0 wired x16 but run at x8/x8 with the second slot in use and the bottom runs at x4 PCIe 2.0 mode. Four x1 PCIe 2.0 slots are also provided. The motherboard is Wi-Fi capable with dual antennas and supports 802.11 a/b/g/n modes and Bluetooh v4.0/3.0 + HS. A LucidLogix Virtu MVP chipset provides Hybrid GPU technology, ASMedia provides two 6Gb/s eSATA ports and four USB 3.0 ports off the back panel. Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports are provided by Realtek and Intel.
The top of the motherboard is covered with components. The colors match nicely — black and blue are the primary colors. Four blue anodized heat sinks with one heat pipe at the center provide the cooling. There is plenty of room around the CPU socket for mounting large heat sinks or water blocks. The board layout is pretty standard. The 8-pin power connection is at the top left near the I/O panel. The 24-pin connection is to the right of the memory, nearby are two fan headers, USB 3.0 pinout for a front panel add-on, MemOK! Button, DRAM diagnostic LEDs, and TPU switch.
Two SATA 6Gb/s ports at the top, colored dark blue, are provided by the Z77 chipset while the Marvell 9128 chipset adds two more through the gray ports. Four more light blue SATA 3Gb/s ports are also provided by the Intel chipset. A double seven-segment LED display shows post codes for diagnostics. A CLR_CMOS button for resetting the BIOS settings sits near the power and reset switches and two USB 2.0 pinout locations. These switches are very handy for those running on a test bed or pushing overclocks hard! The back of the motherboard shows that all of the heat sinks are held on by screws: the lower two use sprung-screws while the top two have back plates for even contact and firmer pressure across the distance of the power circuitry.
The I/O panel has four USB 2.0 ports and no PS/2 options for the keyboard and mouse. Two USB 3.0 and eSATA 6Gb/s are provided by ASMedia PCIe controllers. One HDMI and DisplayPort are powered by the onboard graphics — Second Generation processors can run two outputs at once while Third Generations can run three at once. Dual Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports are provided by Realtek and Intel. Four more USB 3.0 ports are also provided by the Intel chipset. Between the LAN ports is a BIOS recovery button that allows the board to flash the BIOS even without a CPU,GPU or memory installed. Users just need a USB drive with the BIOS file on it, and the power supply to be hooked up. Pressing the button for three seconds will then automatically flash the BIOS. This is a great feature that should save ASUS and many users from RMA due to bricked boards.
Lastly Realtek provides 8-Channel High Definition Audio through the ALC898 controller. The top two x16 slots are PCIe 3.0, the top being wired x16 and the second being x8 and both run x8/x8 when each is filled. PCIe 3.0 delivers twice the bandwidth of PCIe 2.0 with the x16 link reaching 32Gb/s. PCIe 3.0 is backwards compatible with PCI 2.0. The rest of the ports are PCIe 2.0 with the bottom x16 port wired x4 and the other four are x1. A PLX chip sits between the two PCIe 3.0 ports to provide additional PCIe lanes to support the use of additional controllers on board as well as the bottom 16x PCIe 2.0 slot for a three way CrossfireX configuration. Three way SLI is not supported.
The Realtek controllers are on the bottom left side of the board and can be seen by the little crab logo. The front panel audio sits near the power and reset buttons. A Thunderbolt EX TB_Header pinout sits to the right of the power and reset buttons. To the right of this is a CMOS reset button. Continuing to the right are two USB 2.0 headers and a double seven-segment LED display shows post codes for diagnostics. A PWM fan header sits between the USB headers and LED display. At the bottom right corner is the front panel Q-Connector pinout. Above this is the TPU controller and Nuvoton SMART FAN controller, which also monitors the hardware.
Two SATA 6Gb/s are provided by a Marvell PCIe 9128 controller while another two are provided by the Intel chipset, which also provides four SATA 3Gb/s ports. The Intel and Marvell solutions Support SSD Caching on the SATA 6Gb/s ports whether through Intel IRST or ASUS SSD caching. This allows the user the ability to run RAID through the PCH controlled ports with a pair of SSDs then accelerate a large single mechanical drive using using a dedicated cache drive on the Marvell controlled ports. The PLX PEX8608 chipset provides eight additional PCIe lanes to provide a three way CrossfireX solution.
At the top right of the motherboard near the 24-pin connection is the MemOK! Button and DRAM_LED diagnostic light. This button can be depressed to run the motherboard with more compatible memory settings and allow users to get into the BIOS. The TPU switch is also located here as well as another PWM fan header. Another PWM fan header sits across from the power connection near a USB 3.0 header. The maximum memory supported is 32GB of DDR3 at speeds of up to 2800MHz overclocked! The memory must be non-ECC and un-buffered. The memory slots use a latching system where the memory is inserted into the bottom and then snapped in by the top; only the top latch moves!
There are four PWM fan headers for the case fans and two for the CPU heat sink. The case fan headers are located behind the audio module, 24-pin power connection, and USB 2.0 headers. The 8-pin power connection is located at the top left near the USB 2.0 tower. Each of the fan headers on board, 3 pin and 4 pin, can now be controlled through ASUS Fan XpertII and through the UEFI BIOS.
In total there are four heat sinks. Two for the MOSFETs — the board has a total of 22 Phases for power output: 16-phase for the CPU, four for the iGPU, and two for the memory. There is plenty of space between the heat sinks and CPU socket; large coolers should be easy to use. The center and lower heat sinks have a nice angled knurling on their lettering. This is a growing trend that looks great in my opinion. The lower heat sink has been designed to be low profile and is also shaped to not interfere with the PCIe latches.
After examining the hardware there is only the software and BIOS left.