Final Words

Looking back on the ASUS P8Z68-V PRO, I can come up with a variety of conclusions. It's a great little board in terms of performance, features and add-ons, even for the $210 asking price. Though at this price, we'd perhaps ask for a little more to be in the boxed product—a few more SATA cables perhaps, or a full USB 3.0 3.5" bay. As much as this was a review about the ASUS board, it's also a first impression of the Z68 chipset through the ASUS P8Z68-V PRO.

The ultimate combination of P67 and H67 was inevitable—if Intel were going to market a series of processors with integrated graphics, it would seem odd not to include connectors on every chipset for those graphics. That's what happened with P67, when Intel decided that enough people wanted discrete GPU performance that the integrated GPU wouldn't get a look-in. Though with the virtues of Quick Sync, there had to be a way of providing one chipset that tried to do everything—overclocking the CPU, overclocking the integrated GPU, multiple discrete GPU setups, the works.

There was a sigh of relief when Lucid developed a software solution to allow them all to work together—the integrated GPU for low throughput graphics, a discrete GPU for gaming, and any situation to be able to use the integrated GPU for highly specialized applications. Virtu is a nice bit of kit, but in terms of power saving, if you're not using Quick Sync, there isn't much to be saved as graphics card manufacturers are pretty good on low power states.

The ultimate question is—should I upgrade to Z68? You may have realized I haven't talked about SSD caching yet—I've left that up to Anand to discuss and report on, but it's a feature worth considering. From my perspective, if you want an all-round computer that plays games and uses Quick Sync and the other specialties that the iGPU can provide, then Z68 is a logical upgrade. However, if you already have a discrete GPU and P67, unless you're really big on video transcoding there's no point in replacing your current board.

I know that prices for Z68 boards will be as low as $120 from some manufacturers, and as high as $350. The price difference in all these boards is similar to that of the P67—stability at high overclocks, features such as more and more SATA ports, increased support for better cooling, etc. Does that mean that the ASUS P8Z68-V PRO is a good buy? At $210, our only comparison so far in the P67 space that we've reviewed is the ASRock P67 Extreme6, which has 10 SATA ports, but minimal RAID, a lot more IO panel USB connectors, more in the box to come with the motherboard, arguably a worse BIOS, better USB performance, and a shorter warranty. It's a tough decision—people will like the ASUS board, of that I have no doubt. It's just a case of if it's got the right features for you as a consumer.

We can't come to any final conclusion with only one Z68 board, of course. I expect to have more Z68 boards to review in the near future, so watch this space. Right now, the ASUS board is a good Z68 offering, but if you're in no rush, wait a few weeks to see if another board can rise to the top—and let's be honest, if you've been waiting for Z68 you can probably wait a bit longer.

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  • AnnihilatorX - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - link

    Short answer, no... Reply
  • mczak - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - link

    IMHO doesn't make a whole lot of sense overclocking the IGP but not the memory. The IGP could potentially benefit quite a bit. Reply
  • Markstar - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - link

    Great review - makes me wish Anandtech had more of these (along with reviews low-capacity SSDs). :p Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - link

    You guys need to stop giving Asus a free pass on their horrible website that you cant even download drivers from. And their horrible bios flashing tools that do not work. Never ever buy asus. Reply
  • sor - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - link

    I'm actually kind of pissed at them myself. my P8P67Pro is a good board, but it has problems with SAS cards. They updated the BIOS to fix some compatibility issues, but my LSI card still does not work. It's a pretty well documented issue, and I think it's sort of ridiculous. I will consider buying a new Z68 of a different brand so I can use my LSI card if they don't have a BIOS fix soon.

    I didn't have any trouble flashing to the latest ASUS BIOS with a DOS boot cd.
    Reply
  • The_Assimilator - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - link

    You're using a piece of server hardware in a desktop board and you don't understand why it doesn't work? Did you perhaps think about that, or about verifying compatibility between the board and the card before purchasing?

    Don't blame the manufacturer for your own ignorance.
    Reply
  • sor - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - link

    Give me a break. That's the most ridiculous comment I've heard in a long while. You're the one showing your ignorance now. Reply
  • sor - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - link

    Sorry, I can't let this go. I'm not sure why you decided to take an antagonstic tone, but apparently hardware is mysterious to you? What makes you think this is a server part? What makes you think it's unreasonable to believe that a card that adheres to the PCIe standard should be able to work in a PCIe slot? Why is it unreasonable to think that a card that worked in an old P35 desktop and my wife's older Q965 should work in my new P67 desktop? I can only imagine you read "SAS" and thought "ooh scary, that's the shiny server stuff, what is this guy thinking? I need to belittle him". Nevermind that they make windows XP drivers for it. Nevermind that I've installed over 300 LSI SAS cards in various hardware over the last year at work.

    Compatibility lists are not exhaustive, and are usually 6-12 months out of date. I still maintain that it's a reasonable expectation that a PCIe card shipping with desktop OS drivers, that works in every other motherboard I can get a hold of, should work in the PCIe slot of my new motherboard, and if not, it's the motherboard's fault.
    Reply
  • L. - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    I would say, let's blame the manufacturers ... So many inconsistencies should not be tolerated, like for example some sticks not working on some boards etc.. or ridiculous PCB design leading to not being able to put a 'standard' modern cooler / ridiculous cooler design the other way around etc. etc. Reply
  • Pneumothorax - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - link

    Does overclocking the IGP help Quicksync speeds? I don't think I've seen testing done on this so far. Reply

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