iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






ASUS P8Z68-V Pro Motherboard

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All modern ASUS motherboards feature Digi+ VRMs which are, as far as we know (that's unofficial), rebranded solutions from Chil — in this case it seems to be CHL8328. The CPU VRM has 8 phases, of which 6 (with doublers) handle the CPU part, and the remaining 2 (also with doublers) are responsible for built-in graphics. Each 'virtual' phase powering graphics features two MOSFETs, while each 'virtual' CPU phase has four.

The used PWM controller also features a number of proprietary technologies like T.Probe (load-balancing across phases to equalize the temperatures of VRM parts), or means to fine-tune the controller from AI Suite II. Of course, there are also regular features like disabling inactive phases, and benefits of digital PWM controllers like higher switching frequencies.

The System Agent unit and memory modules are powered by dedicated dual-phase controllers, each with a couple of MOSFETs.

No need to mention that there are only solid, polymer capacitors of Nichicon make, RDS(ON) MOSFETs, and ferrite chokes. In other words, the power curcuitry of this seemingly entry-level model is not entry-level at all. It's just that ASUS considers such elements necessary even in its lower-end boards. Frankly speaking, the price of ASUS P8Z68-V Pro is also rather high above the aforementioned entry level.

One of the benefits of a large number of available CPU VRM phases, doubled or not, is low heating since electric current has more elements to pass through. But since ASUS P8Z68-V Pro is designed for some serious overclocking, built-in graphics included, the CPU VRM is covered by familiar weird aluminium heatsinks which are massive enough to be not completely decorative. The same can be said about the chipset: as simple as the heatsink is, it's capable of dissipating chipset's meager 6 watts, and it also doesn't prevent you from installing long expansion cards. Finally, MOSFETs on the back side of the PCB are also covered by an aluminium plate (to which the top-side heatsink is fastened with metallic screws).

ASUS P8Z68-V Pro has a few extra features typical for expensive motherboards. In fact, the only such extra it doesn't have is a POST indicator, although there's a simplified diagnostic solution instead: corresponding LEDs light up in case of problems with processor, memory, graphics card and bootable drive, respectively. As for onboard buttons, there are usual (and relatively useless) Power/Reset ones and a proprietary MemOK! button. The latter technology attempts to automatically increase memory frequency and timings (firstly, by switching them to a compatible mode by SPD), and even voltage. As a result, the machine is almost guaranteed to start, if you install memory modules partially incompatible with the current BIOS settings, and you won't have to clear CMOS at that.

Advanced overclockers will also be able to manually turn on/off EPU, disabling of inactive phases included, and TPU (automatic overclocking) by means of two switches. Needless to say, both things are easier to do in Windows. The only button lacking is Clear CMOS, which is done by means of a jumper.

Also note as many as six fan connectors of which three can be 4-pin, five can be monitored and four can be controlled both manually and automatically.

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Page 1: Introduction, design

Page 2: Design cont'd

Page 3: UEFI, package, features

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