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ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe Motherboard

A high-class home PC mainboard with extended functionality and overclocking capabilities.

September 6, 2012



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Today we shall review ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe motherboard. As a part of the ASUS Deluxe series traditionally aimed at multimedia and home desktops it has a large number of extra controllers.

Design

The mainboard is based on black ATX PCB (305x244 mm) and mounted with nine screws. There's just a little free space near the LGA1155 socket, but the PCIe x16 slot for video is the second in order, so installation problems are unlikely. Also, the distance between the center of the socket and the second RAM slot is 65 mm so you can install most coolers.

The mainboard has four RAM slots supporting up to DDR3-2600 and higher, using T-Topology. Our test modules started working at 2133 MHz after we'd changed the UEFI settings. The MemOK! technology should also help with RAM not mentioned in the manual.

As for expansion slots, the mainboard has two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots working as either 16+0 or 8+8, so users can install two tri-slot video adapters. However, in this case they'll have only one PCI x1 slot left for other extension cards. The third PCIe x16 slot uses four chipset PCI 2.0 lanes and can be useful for expansion as well. The mainboard supports Crossfire, SLI, and LucidLogix technologies.

Taking into account chipset limitations, ASUS installed the PLX PEX8606 switch that allows using almost all mainboard's outputs simultaneously, except for the second PCIe x1 slot usually obstructed by the videocard cooler and the Marvel SATA 6 Gbps controller. Bear in mind that a switch can't 'expand' the PCIe bus, it just increases the number of hardware devices which can be used at the same time.

The mainboard supports USB UEFI Flashback for upgrading UEFI right from a USB flash drive, without CPU or RAM necessary. The upgrade process is launched from the back panel. Just make sure you've plugged the flash drive in the right port. Besides, you can monitor the booting procedure by means of red LEDs and/or POST codes.

There are Power and Reset buttons near the TB_HEADER connector. Due to a large number of connectors on that part of the mainboard the buttons may be hard to reach. The same goes for the Clear CMOS button. The standard buttons and indicators are situated much better. By the way, the TB_HEADER connector is the only one not described in the manual. We suppose it's meant for Thunderbolt peripherals.

Power and cooling

The mainboard has 24+8-pin PSU connectors (the 24+4 mode is supported as well) at the edge. The Digi+ CPU VRM has 16 phases for CPU, 4 for GPU, and 2 for RAM. Given this many phases, power parts will hardly get hot with CPU working in the nominal mode.

For cooling, we have two main heatsinks and a supplementary one connected to the main by a heatpipe. Chipset cooling is provided by a wide, low-profile aluminium plate with an illuminated ASUS logo. In our open testbed, these were enough to cool down the motherboard, with liquid-cooled Intel Core i7-3770K in the nominal mode under load provided by LinX.

There are 6 well-situated 4-pin fan connectors onboard: 2 for the CPU and 4 for the enclosure. All support automatic speed control through UEFI Setup and Fan Xpert II.

Also, the motherboard has a lot of power control tools: an onboard TPU switch for "intelligent power control", EPU and Digi+ Power Control utilities in the AI Suite II toolkit. It's hard to say how well they interact with each other though.


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