Z68 Motherboard Roundupgotdamojo06 - September 25, 2011
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Looking at the packaging for the ASUS P8Z68-V motherboard, you are going to see the ASUS logo printed in the top right-hand corner with the "Inspiring Innovation Persistent Perfection" tag line printed below it. In the top right-hand corner of the package, you will find the Digital Power Design logo printed to let you know that not only do you have DIGI+ VRM, but the EPU and TPU on the ASUS P8Z68-V as well. Along the bottom of the package, you will find a list of the main features that ASUS wants to point out, such as the DIGI+ VRM, GPU Boost, BT GO!, USB 3.0, UEFI BIOS, Virtu, Intel Smart Response Technology, and Quad GPU support. The ASUS P8Z68-V logo is printed in the center of the package so you know exactly what you are getting inside. When you flip the box over, you are going to find a detailed image of the board itself with the main features listed out, as well as a nice description of what the TPU, EPU, and DIGI+ VRM are. You are also going to be able to find out more about the BT GO! and the UEFI BIOS EZ Mode, all of which we will get into later in the article. Once you open up the package, you are going to find the motherboard covered up in an anti-static bag to keep it safe while it is being packaged and un-packaged, as well as all the accessories under the cardboard holder that the motherboard sits on.
ASUS has included a drivers CD as well as a user manual to go along with the ASUS P8Z68-V motherboard, so that you are aware of exactly how to install it and all the features that the motherboard has. You are going to find a nice and simple rear I/O panel protector that is going to allow you to see exactly what it is that you are trying to plug into. You have four SATA cables, two of which are SATAIII and the other two are designed for SATAII. ASUS also included the two EZ connectors for your USB Header, as well as for all of your front panel connectors so they can be plugged into the board in one simple click.
Once you get the ASUS P8Z68-V out of the packaging, you are going to see that the layout of the board is nice and clean. The color scheme has is black with black, blue, and grey accented features all over the board. You are also going to see that the entire board has a very simple and clutter-free layout, which is helpful when you are installing a larger graphics card on the board, as they can be quite long nowadays. Looking at the bottom of the ASUS P8Z68-V, you are able to see the back plate for not only the CPU socket, which is manufactured by LOTES, but you are also able to see that the longer blue heatsink on top of the PWM components has a back plate to help keep the heatsink in place.
When you look at the rear I/O panel on the ASUS P8Z68-V, you can see that ASUS has placed a total of six USB 2.0 ports, a Bluetooth module, eSATA port, S/PDIF, HDMI, DVI, and VGA output for the IGP. You are also going to get two blue USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit RJ45 port, and the five audio out ports and an audio in. The Gigabit LAN on the board does comply with 802.3az EEE standard and reduces power consumption during normal operation and enhances faster transfer speed through dual interconnection between the integrated LAN controller and the PHY. When it comes to expansion slots on the ASUS P8Z68-V, ASUS has given it a total of seven slots. The smaller dark blue slots are the PCI-E 2.0 x1, while the longer dark blue slot is the PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot, which will work single at x16 or dual at x8/x8 mode. ASUS also has two light blue slots, which are the PCI expansion slots. The grey slot is the PCI-E 2.0 x16, which functions at x8 mode, while the black slot is the PCI-e 2.0 x16 slot that functions at x4 mode and is compatible with PCI-E x1 and x4 devices. Looking at the edge of the motherboard closest to the black PCI-E slot, you are going to see the digital audio connector and the front panel connector with the system power-on button next to that. Further down on that same edge of the board, ASUS has the three USB 2.0 headers.
ASUS' included Q-connector plugs into the system panel connector, which has the power switch, reset switch, system speaker, and front panel lights; it allows you to easily connect the wires to the Q-connector then quickly connect that to the motherboard. There are a total of four SATA ports on the ASUS P8Z68-V; the four light blue ports are used on the Intel Z68 SATA 6.0 Gb/s, while the two grey ports are the Intel Z68 SATA 6.0 Gb/s connectors. ASUS' ASUS P8Z68-V receives a majority of the power from the 24-pin ATX Power Connector, which is positioned in front of the RAM slots.
Speaking of the RAM slots, the ASUS P8Z68-V has four of them on the motherboard. They all are DDR3 DIMM slots, with Channel 1 being colored black and Channel 2 being the blue-colored slots. The installation of the 240-pin modules is slightly different than previous boards. On the left-hand side, all the clips are stationary with slits that you slide the module in and then apply pressure on the module toward the right-hand side, where the clips will lock into place. Directly below the left-hand side of the RAM slots, you will find the USB 3.0 header.
When it comes to the BIOS installed on the ASUS P8Z68-V, you are going to find the 64 MB Flash ROM chip sitting next to the USB 3.0 header close to the RAM slots. This chip is designed as a removable chip in case it needs to be replaced. It is an EFI AMI BIOS that supports Pnp, DMI2.0 WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 23.5, ACPI 2.0a, Multi-languages, ASUS EZ Flash 2, ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3, and F12 PrintScreen Function. Up toward the right-hand side of the RAM slots, you are going to find two switches; the one on the left is the EPU switch and the one on the right is the TPU switch. ASUS' EPU allows you to tap into the world's first real-time PC power saving chip; you should get total system-wide energy optimization by it automatically detecting current PC loadings and moderating power consumption. The EPU is also going to help reduce fan noise and extend component longevity. The TPU is ASUS' TurboV Processor Unit, which will allow you to unleash your performance. The TPU chip offers precise voltage control and advanced monitoring through Auto Tuning, GPU Boost, and TurboV functions. Auto Tuning offers a user-friendly way to automatically optimize the system for fast, yet stable clock speeds, while TubroV enables unlimited freedom to adjust CPU frequencies and ratios for optimized performance is diverse situations. There is an 8-pin ATX power connected located toward the top corner of the board as well as 4-pin PWM fan headers located along the edge of the motherboard. These two fans are designed to be used as your CPU fan, while other Chassis/System fans are located around the board.
When we are looking at the components that give the board power, they are located right around the CPU socket itself. The new generation of Dual Intelligent Processors 2 with DIGI+ VRM provides precise Vcore PWM, integrated graphics voltages, and frequency module adjustments with minimal power loss through BIOS tuning, as well as an exclusive user interface to increase the board's overclocking range. A board's VRM or voltage regulator modules are considered among the most essential motherboard design components. They supply the voltage demanded by the CPU, and a good VRM must intelligently detect actual CPU power draw to provide precise power accordingly. ASUS' DIGI+ VRM is an innovative, industry-leading technology that fully integrates Intel VRD12 specifications on a native level, greatly enhancing power to go far beyond the limits of analog designs. A few features of the ASUS DIGI+ VRM is that you are going to get faster sensing and response, better cooling, and 2x CPU power supply. Looking at the cooling solution on the ASUS P8Z68-V, you can see that there are not only heatsinks installed atop all the power components around the motherboard, but there is also a nice heatsink sitting atop the Intel Z68 chip.
Now that we have taken a look at the ASUS P8Z68-V, it is time to look at the ASUS P8Z68-V PRO.