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Product Listing

ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe - An Intel Z77 Mobo Preview

By Wong Chung Wee - 8 Mar 2012

22nm or 32nm, It is Your Choice

22nm or 32nm, It is Your Choice

ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe and all other Intel Z77 chipset based boards are designed to work with either the current Sandy Bridge processors fabricated from the 32nm process technology or the upcoming Ivy Bridge processors using the 22nm fabrication process. So even without an Ivy Bridge CPU, we would be able to insert a Sandy Bridge processor and put it through its paces with our slew of benchmarking tools. However, most of the upgraders will ultimately want to pair the newest CPU with the newest chipset, we'll save performance results when Ivy Bridge processors are made available.

Back to the ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe model on our hands, the board reminds us of the ASUS P8Z68-V PRO because of its similar board layout as well as its familiar color scheme of different hues of blue set against a black PCB.

The ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe motherboard bears the hallmark of a high-end board. There are a number of accompanying components like ASUS Wi-Fi GO! card as well as ASUS front panel USB 3.0 box to give owners of the board a certain level of perceived value for their hardware purchase.

Based on our past experience with ASUS P9X79 series motherboards, we believe that this new series will soon be fleshed out with Pro and Basic models in the near future.


New Chipset, New Features

At a glance, Intel Z77 Express chipset represents  a slight improvement over the current Z68 chipset. For starters, Z77 chipset supports the third-generation Intel Core processors. As a result of their support for these new processors, they also inherit the need to support PCI Gen 3.0 bus standard on the motherboards. Since the last generation of mainstream Intel processors, the graphics PCIe controller has been embedded within the CPU die, and as such the upcoming Ivy Bridge CPUs have official support for PCIe Gen 3.0 bus standard. On a side note, Intel's Sandy Bridge-E CPUs launched in November 2011 can also support PCIe Gen 3 standards as their controllers are 8 GT/s-capable.

There are two PCIe Gen 3.0 PEG slots (blue and grey) which are auto-configured at x16 mode (single) or x8/x8 mode (dual). The black x16 PEG slot is configured for PCIe 2.0 at x4 mode (maximum) and the rest of the 4 slots are PCIe 2.0 x1.

Finally, there is also native support for USB 3.0 on the Intel Z77 Express chipset; however, the ASUS board still features third-party USB 3.0 controllers, courtesy of ASMedia, that supports ASUS USB 3.0 Boost UASP mode. Because of the limited number of native USB 3.0 ports, we'll continue to see several boards feature third party controllers to boost the number of ports supporting the speedier transfers.


The Usual Suspects

ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe sports 4 memory DIMM slots and it support dual-channel DDR3 memory kits of up to 32GB in capacity. The board features three Digi+ power controllers that control power regulation for both the CPU and DRAM. With separate power controllers, such a feature translates to better performance especially when overclocking the system.

The PLX PEX 8608 offers eight additional PCIe 2.0 (5GT/s) lanes to the board.

Like the previous generation chipset Z68, the board sports video output ports and the PCIe lane configuration to support up to quad-GPU SLI or CrossFireX setup. Besides the hardware support, ASUS P8Z77-V comes bundled with LucidLogix Virtu MVP software that is touted to dynamically assign tasks to either the integrated graphics processor of the CPU or the GPU of the discrete graphics card. This will certainly help leverage the best of either GPUs and keep the board power efficient.