ASUS P8Z77-V Pro – Overview

ASUS has a lot to live up to with its Ivy Bridge Pro board.  Both the ASUS P8P67 Pro and ASUS P8Z68-V Pro have been top class sellers in their respective chipsets meaning that ASUS has to deliver.  By just looking at the board, it seems that ASUS is keen to innovate and offer a complete package.

In terms of features, by default ASUS has a setting to give a ‘MultiCore Enhancement’.  In the real world, this means that by default ASUS will overclock your processor to its maximum turbo mode no matter what the CPU load.  For comparison with the 3770K, the CPU should be at 39x during single and dual core mode, 38x when using three cores, and 37x under full load.  Using MultiCore Enhancement, you get 39x on all cores no matter what the load.  Therefore, in our multithreaded benchmark suite, ASUS has a 200 MHz advantage per core over other products that do not enable this feature by default.

This is obviously on top of the large assortment of features ASUS already provides.  The AI Suite software is bolstered by a revised version of Fan Xpert, which can test each fan individually for RPM and allows greater fan configuration.  USB 3.0 Boost implements the USB-attached SCSI Protocol on USB 3.0 ports (both Intel [in Windows 8] and ASMedia) to allow greater read-write speeds, especially under high queue depths (if that happens to be your usage scenario).  ASUS also plan for the future in giving a Thunderbolt header for use with their Thunderbolt add-in card due for a separate release soon.

I found one issue with the design of the board, relating to CPU coolers.  The cooler I use for these reviews is the Intel All-In-One liquid cooler, which uses a standard backplate for multiple sockets.  However, with the ASUS Pro, there were placement issues of this backplate due to onboard components:

In order to get the backplate on, I had to bend this pin.  This is generally not advised, but it is a shame that this was not caught when the board was designed.  It seems that perhaps this board should be paired best with a pushpin cooler to avoid this issue, or something a little newer than my solution.  On a more positive note, the board comes with a WiFi module and antennae, which bolt in to the IO panel, and uses an Intel network controller.  For audio outputs, we have the full spread of analog and digital that Ivy Bridge can provide.

Visual Inspection

The ASUS P8Z77-V Pro sports a blue and black livery synonymous with their channel / non-ROG products.  The VRM heatsinks cover a lot of surface area in their jagged fashion, and around the socket itself, we have access to five main fan headers.  Two of these are CPU 4-pin headers just north of the top VRM heatsink, one 4-pin below the left hand side VRM heatsink, and two 4-pin headers below the 24-pin ATX power connector, along with a USB 3.0 port.  A sixth fan header (4-pin) is found on the south side of the board.  All the fan headers are controllable from the BIOS and in the OS, plus the chassis headers offer 3-pin support.

Above the 24-pin ATX power connector, we find the ASUS MemOK! button, which allows memory recovery to default speeds.  Along with the ASRock boards, we have eight SATA ports – four SATA 3 Gbps from the PCH and four SATA 6 Gbps – two from the PCH and two more from an ASMedia controller.  Below this are the TPU and EPU switches, designed for enhanced CPU performance and energy saving modes respectively.

Along the bottom of the board is the standard array of a front panel audio header, another USB 3.0 header, USB 2.0 headers, and a front panel header.  It is also worth noting the Thunderbolt header on the bottom right of the board for that add-in card, and the BIOS Flashback button which allows a user to flash a new BIOS without memory, CPU or VGA required.  In terms of PCIe layout, despite there being three full-length PCIe connectors on board, we are only limited to using two for multi-GPU setups.  In order, we have a PCIe x1, a PCIe 3.0 x16 (x8 in dual GPU), x1, PCI, PCIe 3.0 x8, PCI, and a PCIe 2.0 x4.  Thus in dual GPU mode we can also add in a PCIe x1 and PCIe x4 card.

The chipset heatsink is indicative of the large but low philosophy of many motherboard manufacturers, hiding away the chipset controller.  What is not on these boards, as you may notice, is a combination power/reset pair of buttons, nor a two-digit debug, some of which we used to see on ASUS Pro boards of old.   However, ASUS do have Q-LED, a series of lights on board to show when different stages in the POST process are being initialised - useful for diagnosing POST errors.  

On the back panel, we have a combination PS/2 port, two USB 3.0 ports (blue), two USB 2.0 ports (black), an ASUS WiFi GO! Card, optical SPDIF output, HDMI, DisplayPort, D-Sub, DVI-D, gigabit Ethernet, two more USB 3.0 ports in blue, and standard audio headers.

This means that rather than add in a WiFi module on the board, or use up a mini-PCIe slot with wifi, we have a slot in order to add a WiFi module.  This can be in 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz mode, and updateable as WiFi standards change.  This all comes as part of the package, with magnetic wireless antenna to attach to the case.

Board Features

ASUS P8Z77-V Pro
Price Link
Size ATX
CPU Interface LGA-1155
Chipset Intel Z77
Power Delivery 12 + 4
Memory Slots Four DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 32 GB
Up to Dual Channel
Video Outputs DisplayPort, HDMI 1.4a, DVI-D, D-Sub
Onboard LAN Intel 82579V
Onboard Audio Realtek ALC892 (with DTS Ultra II PC / DTS Connect support)
Expansion Slots 2 x PCIe x16 Gen3 (x16, x8/8)
1 x PCIe x16 Gen2 (x4)
2 x PCIe x1 Gen2
2 x PCI
Onboard SATA/RAID 2 x SATA 6 Gbps (PCH), Support for RAID 0, 1, 5, 10
2 x SATA 6 Gbps (ASMedia)
4 x SATA 3 Gbps (PCH), Support for RAID 0, 1, 5, 10
USB Four USB 3.0 at rear (2 PCH, 2 ASMedia)
Two USB 3.0 headers on board (PCH, ASMedia)
Ten USB 2.0 (2 back panel, 8 on board)
Onboard 4 x SATA 6 Gbps
4 x SATA 3 Gbps
2 x USB 3.0 Headers
4 x USB 2.0 Headers
6 x Fan Headers
1 x SPDIF Header
1 x Front Panel Audio Header
Thunderbolt Header
MemOK! Button
TPU/EPU Switches
USB Flashback Button
Power Connectors 1 x 24-pin ATX connector
1 x 8-pin 12V connector
Fan Headers 1 x CPU Fan Header (4-pin)
4 x CHA Fan Headers
1 x OPT Fan Header
IO Panel 1 x PS/2 Combo Port
1 x DisplayPort
1 x HDMI 1.4a
1 x DVI-D
1 x D-Sub
1 x Gigabit Ethernet
4 x USB 3.0
2 x USB 2.0
1 x Optical SPDIF
1 x WLAN Connector
6 x Audio Jacks
Warranty Period 3 Years
Product Page Link

ASUS is now placing Intel NICs on all their channel motherboards.  This is a result of a significant number of their user base requesting them over the Realtek solutions.  Also to note are a total of six USB 3.0 on board, two on the back panel and four from internal headers.  These USB 3.0 ports can take advantage of the improved UASP USB 3.0 protocol using appropriate hardware and some ASUS software.  As always, we expect ASUS fan control of the six headers to be top notch.  ASUS also include a TB Header for their add-in Thunderbolt card expected for release soon.

ASRock Z77 Extreme4 - In The Box, Overclocking ASUS P8Z77-V Pro - BIOS and Software
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  • hasseb64 - Wednesday, May 09, 2012 - link

    My last build was with a Z68 ATX MB, such a build will never happen again in my house. Next update will have Micro-ATX or maybe even a Mini-ATX.

    During my 15 years of computer building I have never used more than 1 GPU
    In next computer I will probably not use any more expansion, today I have a old SB card installed.
    And 2 slots for memory will do too (2x8 GB)
    All HDDs are in separate WHS2011 box

    ATX feels more and more like a thing of the past, these Taiwan makers are holding on as it seems but the future for them are to deliver smaller packages = less money.
    Reply
  • ggathagan - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    For the vast majority of folks, you are correct, and the board manufacturers are also catering to that market.
    There are, however, plenty of people that *do* have multi-GPU systems.
    Further, there are more uses for PCIe than just GPU's; RAID controllers, 10GbE NIC's, and high end sound cards, to name a few.
    Reply
  • Zoomer - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - link

    To be honest, with GPUs these days, 7 slots seem to be not enough. 2 slots are needed for the GPU, 3 for semi-decent cooling, particularly for these darn open air coolers manufacturers like to use for some reason. Reply
  • Sysiphus - Wednesday, May 09, 2012 - link

    Is it possible to control 3pin fans on this boards? I didnt see a option and the asus board has only 4pins. Chassisfans are normally 3pinned. Reply
  • kstan12 - Wednesday, May 09, 2012 - link

    i own the asus p8z77-v pro. i have plugged my rear chassis & side panel fans into the 4 pin connectors on the mobo and i can control them with fan expert 2.

    i bought a few of these:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...
    Reply
  • Zoomer - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - link

    Can they be controlled via speedfan? Reply
  • mcquade181 - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    You can plug 3 pin fans into 4 pin MB connectors. Reply
  • ggathagan - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    Under the "ASRock Z77 Extreme4 - Overview" section you mention XFast USB twice.
    The second time should be XFast RAM

    Under the "Visual Inspection" section for the MSI Z77A-GD65:
    "Underneath this are the eight SATA ports - two SATA 6 Gbps from the PCH, four SATA 6 Gbps also from the PCH, and another two SATA 6 Gbps from an ASMedia controller."
    I believe it should be "four SATA 3 Gbps also from the PCH...".

    Under "Updates to our Testing Methodology"
    "Also with experience allows us to pick tests ..."
    Should be "Also, experience allows us to pick tests ..."

    Under the conclusion section for the ASRock Z77 Exteme4:
    "The XFast LAN software also shows superior performance in incompressible transfers or real-world transfers compared to standard USB throughput."
    Should be "XFast USB software..."

    All that aside, great review.
    I appreciate the effort you and the rest of the Anandtech staff put in to improving your test processes.
    I especially appreciate this multi-board approach that highlights the key differences across a series of boards that use the same chipset.
    It certainly helps when making purchasing decisions.
    Reply
  • Nickel020 - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    You say in the conclusion that you gain voltage read points by going withe MSI over the Gigabyte - the Gigabyte though does in fact also have voltage read points, just a less convenient implementation

    As for the review: I realize that there are time constraints and you can't do one of the in-depth reviews that we sometimes got in the past, but I would like to see a more convenient user oriented layout, e.g. tables comparing the features of the boards, a table comparing the OC results etc. The way the review is structures i have to take a look at every board seperately, take notes and then compare them. Also some more comments on how the tested models compare to other models of the same manufacturers would be nice. Doesn't take much time, but greatly helps someone shopping around for a board.

    Lastly, I'm highly skeptical of the software voltage readings but I know that many people do take such software readings as absolute truth, not realizing their potential flaws. You seem reasonably skeptical as well, and this is something I think should be mentioned in the review to prevent misunderstandings.
    Reply
  • FozzyofAus - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    Hi guys,

    Any change you could review the:
    AsRock z77 Professional-M

    In addition to the previously requested:
    AsRock z77 Extreme4-m

    Thanks in advance,
    Michael.
    Reply

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