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  • DanNeely - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    Are the 3/8" barbs on the waterblock fixed; or can they be unscrewed and replaced with 1/2" ones? Reply
  • noeldillabough - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    I'm actually interested in this question too; can we unscrew them and put in G1/4" fittings? Reply
  • DarkStryke - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    The're fixed, sadly. Reply
  • Razorbak86 - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    I have an MVF board with two rads and 3/8"x5/8" tubing throughout in a mid-tower case (Corsair Obsidian 650D). The 3/8" tubing was easy to route, looks stunning in blood red color, and performs exceptionally well in my system.

    Although it would have been nice to have G1/4" connections instead of barbs, once the tubing is installed, the barbs are barely noticeable, because they are hidden after installation of the tubing. Furthermore, there is very little real-world performance difference (from a thermal efficiency perspective) between 3/8" and 1/2" lines in a water cooling setup. Fractions of a degree, actually. Even with G1/4" connections, I would have still chosen 3/8" tubing throughout my system, simply for the ease of routing in my mid-tower case.
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    Yeah. I bought in for 3/8" 5/8" tubing for ease of routing; but lots of people either decided bigger was better or that the last 0.1C was worth chasing and mixed size tubing looks ugly. Reply
  • noeldillabough - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    I agree the smaller tubing is so very close but I got the larger tubing because it looks badass. Reply
  • EnzoFX - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    I hate how we've devolved in the number of USB Ports. Moreso when there's wasted I/O space. Let alone when it's filled with legacy connections. Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    What exactly on this one are you blaming as a legacy connector? Unless you're complaining that most PC audio is still done via discrete analog hookups instead of via digital connections, or by turning our monitors into TVs I'm not sure what you're complaining about. If that is what you're complaining about, requiring everyone to either buy a tv receiver to break the audio out of their HDMI or to convince monitor makers (that won't spend an extra dollar for a DP input) to add 5.1 audio out to their monitors is delusional.

    Until Intel/Amd either put a lot more USB3 into their chipsets or add several extra PCIe lanes to the south bridge mixed USB2/3 is going to be here to stay because you can't get 10 or 12 USB3 ports in without giving something else up?
  • EnzoFX - Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - link

    Did I say this particular board had legacy connections? No. My gripe is with few usb ports, a simple to grasp concept. You're average intel board has 6-8 usb ports, this was when Sandy Bridge came along I believe, and then we had DVI/VGA ports on there too, when there's already HDMI on board, or when an adapter could be used. With P55 we had 10USB ports on your most common average/budget board, and that's just on the back. This oh so premium board only has 8. Reply
  • Moricon - Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - link

    The bard has 14 USB Ports 2/3, who needs 14 on the back, I want as many coming to the front as possible. Reply
  • stefan from europe - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    Thanks Ian for the review, but imo little late when in 2 months we have z87 on the way. Reply
  • Razorbak86 - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    Take it up with Asus. They just sent him the board for review. Perhaps they should have participated in the Z77 mobo round-up conducted months ago? Reply
  • Jambe - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    Quite the thoroughgoing review! Alas, I don't even consider standard ATX motherboards anymore, let alone EATX monsters.

    Still, it was a nice read, and the photos were lovely. That VRM cooler is neat...
  • Razorbak86 - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    The MVF is only 0.5" wider than ATX, and exactly the same height as ATX. For that reason, it will easily fit in most mid-tower ATX cases. Full-size E-ATX boards (e.g., some server boards) can be up to 3" wider than standard ATX width. Reply
  • Jambe - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    Mm, yes, but as I said, I don't bother with even standard ATX motherboards or chassis these days. I'd wager that mATX can provide what the vast majority of tech DIYers and enthusiasts and I'd further say that mITX can suffice for virtually everyone else.

    From my perspective it's just an economy issue: if one doesn't need and won't use the space and expansion options of standard ATX (or larger) motherboards & chassis, why bother with either?
  • Razorbak86 - Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - link

    I wasn't trying to persuade you to buy the MVF. I was just trying to negate the implication that this board is an "EATX Monster", when it is actually much closer to ATX than EATX. Reply
  • vvk - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    What is the point?
    Maybe I am little confused but considering Haswell is expected to come in 2months what is the point of buying this or any other ivy bridge MB now? Also considering how close all MBs game scores were investing in a better GPU would yield much grater benefits, per dollar.
  • 5150Joker - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    For people like me that built a desktop system a month ago and didn't want to wait on Haswell. Reply
  • scook9 - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    Long time no see 5150Joker! I concur, I am reading this since I built my desktop in October with this board (with complete confidence in Asus) and wanted to see a good AT review to validate my decision :) Reply
  • noeldillabough - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    And there is something to be said about a tested platform over a new unproven one. Bleeding edge causes some bleeding lol. Reply
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    Motherboards are a lot more than just performance. If that's all you are after, then sure, go ahead and invest in a better GPU. I for one like to know which boards are good for audio processing, which ones actually take care on layouts and offer the functionality I want, or overclock the best. New Z77 motherboards are still coming out, and *shock horror* I have a list of motherboards manufacturers still want me to review before Z87. :D

  • vvk - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    Sorry if my comment may have appeared as a criticism for the article. That was not my intent. (The article is great as always on Anandtech and I read it with pleasure). What I was surprised at was that Asus is releasing an enthusiast level MB so close to the Haswell launch. From the comments it seems that the MB has been out for a while it was just that you guys happen to review it now.

    If we are to believe Ecclesiastes there is a time for everything but in terms of your review affecting purchasing decisions I hope you will agree that the potential would have been higher if the review was published 5-6 months ago. That reminds me that while I am still patiently waiting for your Nexus 10 review ... :) (BTW I bought it the first week after launch based on Anandtech's preview and other sites full reviews)
    Now to address the issue of MB features. I agree that layout, size, expansion slots etc. are important for customizing the computer the way you wanted. However, than why even bother with all the performance graphs that if anything just show that Z77 is Z77 and the results are more or less the same? In terms of overclocking there could be a potential difference but my hunch is it is mostly the luck of the draw when purchasing CPU than the MB (stating from upper-intermediate MB price level and above). Also I personally feel that nowadays the OC is providing so few tangible results that I do it mostly out of habit than hoping to gain any real performance advantages.
    So in summary I sympathize with your plight and understand that you guys have to review staff for leaving but my advice is to focus on timely reviews of products like Nexus 10, next Iphone etc, that more people are potentially interested in vs. diligently working on the back-log and reviews of products that have relatively minor audience or have potentially big audience but the product is already in mid or end cycle.
  • IanCutress - Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - link

    One of the big differentiators at stock is MultiCore Turbo, whether the board gives you extra performance in multi threaded load. There's also several boards with USB 2.0 issues, giving 20% less performance, and about 20 different ways split the PCIe layout (including all PLX variations). So yes, some testing does produce similar results - but there are differences between them all. For example, if a motherboard doesn't implement MCT, then how quickly does it respond to variable load changes? Does it stay at the high speed more, or quickly drop down as required? Does it enjoy G.Skill memory, which is quickly becoming the memory of choice for overclocking enthusiasts (it overtook Corsair at HWBot a long time ago). How well does multi-GPU perform, if there's 10 different ways to allocate three lots of PCIe lanes / inc PLX?

    With that being said, different motherboard companies have different priorities. The overclocking boards tend to go to enthusiast websites first that test sub-zero, whereas we tend to get the mid range models first because that is where most of our positive readership seem to lie. Other popular websites that review motherboards are only just getting the Z77A-GD65, or the P8Z77-V Premium for example, which we reviewed almost 6 months ago. The motherboard workload at the minute is mostly Intel as well, with not much interest in Trinity by comparison and nothing that new from Vishera that any manufacturer wanted us to review. If it was full on from all sides, then chances are we may never have got to review this being knee deep in other boards. But I still have four/five more Z77 boards in to review before I start in earnest on Z87, which will require lots of preparation!

    The AnandTech staff is full of people who want to give you the best reviews and the technical side of it all, even if it means we're late to the game compared to some others. But in this review I wrote more about the MVF fan controls, or just the software itself, and went into more detail than some websites write about a whole motherboard. Swings and roundabouts - we could do every board on day 1 when they are released (as long as we get access to it), but the depth of content will suffer.

    If there is ever a motherboard you want me to review next (or a test scenario I can easily fit in), please drop me an email (click my name in the review). I have a good amount of leeway in what I review when, so if there's interest in XYZ then I can go after it. No guarantees (for example a request for B75 reviews came at the wrong time with a big backlog along with not much enthusiasm from manufacturers), but I will certainly take it into account :)

  • kzinti1 - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    Why do you think ASUS has just released this board?
    I checked my purchase records for Newegg for this year and my board wasn't there.
    I then checked my account records for 2012 and found it.
    I bought this motherboard on July 9, 2012.
    How do you reckon that this board has come out too close to the release of Haswell?
    I'm not singling you out, but too many people are acting as if this board is somehow a new release when it clearly isn't.
    In fact, by my own standards, I find it to be quite old. Also my favorite, ATM.
  • Figaro56 - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    Because Sandy Bridge doesn't support PCIx 3.0 or faster memory. USB 3.0 was unstable when supplied outside the chipset. I moved from Z68 to this Z77 board and very glad I did. This is everything that Z68 and Sandy Bridge should have been. Makes no sense to wait on new Z87 because really great boards and fixes for start up problems won't shake out for almost a year just like Z77. Think about it. You pay a price to be cutting edge. Let all the enthusiasts solve the problems first. Reply
  • pandemonium - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    Thanks for the review! Reply
  • UzairH - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    This is the board I want to get EXCEPT I don't get why they have PLX chip that does PCIe3 x8+x8 instead of x16+x16. This does not improve over the standard Z77 x8+x8 functionality, which for me is a bit of a concern. I like to maximize the graphics performance when choosing the system components, so now I will get GTX 670 SLI (Titan is too expensive for being 40% faster), but I would like to get Maxwell SLI (something like GTX 770) in a year or two from now while retaining this board. Reply
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    They do not have a PLX8747 on board, they have a PLX8608 chip, which splits one PCIe x1 lane from the PCH into many x1 lanes, for additional controllers.

  • _Luay_ - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    The most affordable PLX-equipped Z77 motherboard is the $230 Asrock WS. It is a 8-phase motherboard, which is a joke for a work station. Should be called Asrock Z77 games-only and leave the CPU alone.
    For Tri-Fire/SLI, how would non-plx 8x8x4, perform against PLX 8x8x8 using gen 3.0 PCI-E?

    If the perfromance hit is less than %10, I'd settle for a $150 MSI G45 or G65 and invest in a Xonar soundcard and wireless USB adapter. Don't judge my cheapness.
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    With Tri-GPU, there are several ways:

    x8/x8/x4, where the final x4 are from the PCH (Z77 OC Formula)
    x8/x4/x4, where all are from the CPU (MVF)
    x16/x8/x8 via a PLX (Z77X-UP7)

    In tri-GPU, via a PLX performs better, as shown in Dirt3, against the others.
    UP7 with PLX: 191 FPS
    MVF with x8/x4/x4: 185 FPS
    Z77 OC with x8/x8/x4: 134 FPS

    In the UP7 review I do a direct comparison of exact lane layouts with and without PCH with single GPU (because the board allowed me to). So x16 native vs. x16 via PLX, the difference was ~0.7% in frame rates over most titles.

  • UzairH - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    When I researched the effects of x8 vs x16, some games did have tangible framerates hits. I also understand there is some latency from the PLX chip, so the question is: does the MVF utilize the PLX when two graphics cards are deployed, or only when 3 are in use? Reply
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    The PLX chip on the MVF works with IO as it is a PCIe 2.0 switch. It is not the PLX8747 commonly used to dissect PCIe 3.0 lanes for GPUs. Reply
  • UzairH - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    Thanks for clearing that up Ian :) I take it then that there is NO latency from the PLX chip since it doesn't do anything with the PCIe slots.

    Overall, I am trying to decide between this board or the ASRock Z77 OC Formula. Ian, which of these two would you use yourself in a gaming build with GTX 670 SLI and a standard overclocked (4.2~4.4 GHz) 3570k? One important value-add is of course the "SupremeFX IV" audio solution on the MVF - I was considering getting one of Asus' Xonar cards for sound, how would you say the SupremeFX IV compares to the DX or Essence STX when paired with good headphones?
  • hurrakan - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    I wish they would stop using the Intel 82579V NIC, or at least fix it - it's been horrendously broken for years. Search Google for "82579v" and you'll see.

    It constantly disconnects every minute unless you force it to 100Mbps. I wish I had bought a motherboard with dual LAN. And I'm going to make sure my next motherboard does not have Intel 82579V!
  • vailr - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    The Intel 82579V NIC has performed fawlessly on my Gigabyte Z77-UD5H board.
    Maybe your board's NIC has a defect?
  • hurrakan - Sunday, April 14, 2013 - link

    It was fine for a few months, then started disconnecting and reconnecting every 2 minutes - extremely annoying and made playing MMOs impossible. Now it only works by forcing to 100MBps instead of 1GBps.

    Apparently a very common problem - there's a 13 page thread on Intel community forums.
    I saw one place suggest it is caused by the Gigabit Ethernet region of the motherboard BIOS getting corrupted.
  • Sabresiberian - Tuesday, April 02, 2013 - link

    I would rather they add a PLX chip than spend the money on beefing up the audio capabilities of the mainboard. I mean, they did a good job as far as they went, but its still not as good as, say, one of their own Xonar solutions, which is what I'm going to use anyway. To me, either you care about better sound and you are going to spend a little money to get it, or you're happy with what comes on mainboards and so aren't; an in-between solution is a solution for a kind of person that I don't think really exists. Reply
  • Nivin - Thursday, May 02, 2013 - link

    Just wondering. Does this motherboard come with a liquid cooling system of its own or is it just optimized for one. I am planning to buy this for my gaming pc but i also am going to buy a Cooler Master Seidon 240m if the motherboard doesnt have its own liquid cooling system. Also, if it does come with a LCS, is it good compared to getting one yourself.
    Thanks, Nivin

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