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


View All Comments

  • DarkRogue - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    First off, thank you for the review.

    I am a bit bummed that the UD5H and the Z77 Deluxe were not reviewed, since those were the two I was looking at. Especially since the UD5H can be had for under $200.

    Anyway, the voltage ripple/stability charts were quite interesting for me.
    But my main concern lies with the Gigabyte's chart. It looks good... but in my eyes, TOO good. It's too perfectly straight. On one hand, I thought, "Wow, this board has awesome VRM or something."

    On the other hand, it made me suspicious about why it was so stable. I have to ask, is it measuring the correct voltage?

    The reason is because I had a similar finding when I was looking at the vcore requried to OC an IVB CPU (or any CPU, really) on the new Z77 mobos.
    Per my thread here:

    We found that Gigabyte mobos were incorrectly reporting its VTT voltage as the vCore, which resulted in "vcore" readings in CPU-Z and other programs reporting the same, or very similar, 1.0xx voltages regardless of what the CPU OC'd to.

    I hope to be able to get some clarification on this.

    Only other suggestion I have is to really test more of the features of each motherboard. (mSATA, firewire, audio, etc; how do they compare with other chipsets, how are their drivers, etc..)
    Thank you, and keep up the good work!
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Hi DarkRogue,

    I have the Deluxe on my test bed right now, so keep your eyes peeled for when I finish the review.

    Regarding the voltage reading charts, it merely reads the OS reported voltage. This is loosely a smoothing of what ripple actually happens on board. After consideration, it only serves to show LLC on board, and how the board reacts to requested load by the processor. It's fairly easy for a manufacturer to override this to make sure only a straight line is reported. But, if it is a messy line, then there could be a problem (e.g. check my 990FX review a little while ago).

    I'd love the kit to test more features on the boards (mSATA etc), if you've got any kit spare! :) Though keep in mind that each test can't take 2 hrs, or we would end up with 1 board a month reviewed (as we do this part time)! I'm open to suggestions regarding tests if anyone has a good one with a simple output I can report and analyse.

  • DarkRogue - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Thank you for your response, Ian!

    I wish I had the funds to send in spare items, though. Unfortunately, I'm not quite rich enough, haha. We'll have to be bound by the generosity of the various vendors to this site.

    As far as tests go, I imagine some people would be interested in a quick RMAA test of the various audio chipsets. It's of no concern to me, since I insist onboard solutions are never going to be as good as a dedicated external DAC+amp, but it should be good for a lot of people.

    I'd also be interested in how the eSATA and Firewire performs, as I'm of the camp that says anything firewire related that isn't Texas Instruments is not worthwhile. The eSATA, mainly it's to see if there are any quirks with the drivers from each manufacturer allowing hotswap properly or not, and whether it causes DPC latency issues. My friend's ASUS board was plagued with problems related to eSATA not allowing him to eject drives, BSOD'ing on resuming from sleep, causing massive DPC latency when a drive was connected, etc. It's these little things that really make or break the experience of a board.

    I'd also like to see how well the fan controls are on each motherboard. ASUS' Fan Xpert 2 really drew me in, as it seems no one else can match the level of customization for fans. I dug a bit and found out that Gigabyte's boards not only cannot do this, but it even struggles to stay consistent between its various headers. (One header runs straight +12v no matter what, while the others make the fans spin at different speeds with the same settings.)

    ANYWAY, back to the issue at hand - Gigabyte's voltage readings.
    As I found in my thread linked above, Gigabyte appears to be reporting the wrong voltage, for some unknown reason. This to me seems to invalidate the test result for the Gigabyte board, because it's incomparable to the others.

    I know that the purpose of the test is to test for variation in the voltage to the CPU, not necessarily the exact ripples, but the VTT supplies voltage to a completely different segment than the vcore, unless I'm mistaken. I wouldn't think that the voltage supplied toward the IMC would vary as much when the CPU ramps up and down.

    Is there a way to force that program to probe a specific/different voltage reading, or have you already done this and the chart actually does represent Gigabyte's handling of vcore voltage? I wasn't able to figure that out from the article.

    Thank you again!
  • UltraWide - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    Thank you so much for covering the fan control features on each board! I truly appreciate this as it is often left out in other reviews.

    Keep up the great work!
  • AeroRob - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    I don't know about anyone else, but I'm really sick of seeing VGA and PS/2 ports wasting space on new motherboads.

    I know some gamers might think that PS/2 does the job better than USB, and I can appreciate that, but VGA? Who even uses VGA connections anymore? They should be avoided like the plague.

    And even if you do insist on using a VGA connection, what's the point of putting a DVI-D connector and a VGA together? Chances are you won't be using both, so just make it a DVI-I connector and throw in one of the cheap DVI>VGA adapters, and use the newly freed up space for a connector that isn't an ancient piece of garbage. Let's see HDMI or DP up there. Move things around so you can perhaps throw an eSATA connector on the back, or more USB ports--you can never have too many USB ports!
  • Paapaa125 - Wednesday, May 09, 2012 - link

    PS/2 has one single thing that makes it superior to USB: you can turn your computer on by clicking space bar on a PS/2 keyboard or clicking mouse button on a PS/2 mouse. USB does not have this feature which is a big problem if your computer case is not easily reachable.

    Agree about VGA ports. Nobody uses them anymore. Nobody.
  • AeroRob - Wednesday, May 09, 2012 - link

    As I understand it, gamers feel there's an issue with USB's polling rate, and prefer PS/2 for that reason.

    As for turning on your computer, I never heard about that. I rarely shut my computer completely off, and my wireless USB keyboard can wake it up from sleep just fine. Hell, my computer's so sensitive to any change, just flipping my monitor back on wakes it up (probably due to the built-in USB hub).
  • mcquade181 - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    I know whole organizations that still use VGA, and there are tons of KVM switch boxes in development and testing centres everywhere that only support VGA. Yes I know you can get HDMI and DVI KVM's but most places won't have them yet.
    I still use VGA occasionally and would be annoyed if it wasn't there.
  • Paapaa125 - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    And how many of those organizations are switching to Z77 boards and still keeping their VGA? Reply
  • Ramon Zarat - Tuesday, May 08, 2012 - link

    The latest AXTU version does not include XFastRAM anymore. XFastRAM is a stand alone utility now. Also, XFastRAM is much more than a 32bit 4GB RAM limitation extender. It's in fact a RAM disk on steroid, valid for both 32 and 64bit system. It can do the following:

    1- "Recycle" unused memory beyond 4GB on a 32bit OS into a RAM disk. A RAM disk of up to 32GB can be created on a 32bit OS.

    2- RAM disk of up to 8GB on a 64bit OS. Asrock is working on extending that limit on 64bit OS.

    3- Can choose any available driver letter to assign to your RAM disk

    4- Use part of the RAM disk as a Readyboost drive to accelerate your magnetic boot drive!

    5- Easy transfer of either or both the "user" and "system" temp file to RAM disk. No fooling around with Windows configuration.

    6- Easy transfer of IE and Firefox cache to RAM disk. XFastRAM take care of everything straight from its interface.

    7- Easy transfer of the page file to RAM disk. Again, directly from XFastRAM interface.

    8- Possibility to save the RAM disk to hard drive before shutting the PC down.

    It's fast (10 000MB/s with CrystalDiskMark on a 2500K @ 4.7 and 8GB of 1866 RAM) , it's free, it's amazingly flexible and can both accelerate your PC and prevent premature wear on your SSD by redirecting a lots of small writes to the temp folders and web cache! You can apparently gain 5X performance in some Photoshop operations when you configure it so use the RAM disk as the temp folder!

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