A few weeks ago we took a look at an ASUS ROG product, the ASUS Maximus V Gene, yet the Republic Of Gamers line-up isn't all that ASUS has to offer, so today we take a look at a more affordable option from ASUS, the ASUS P8Z77-V. Built from within the "mainstream" product line, the ASUS P8Z77-V is full of features, including customizable fan controls and WiFi connectivity, as well as power saving features boasting the ability to lower power consumption by half. With more affordable pricing, a different color scheme, and slightly different features, the ASUS P8Z77-V is quite the departure from what is offered by the Republic Of Gamers line-up, but does it really pale in comparison? We find out.
2nd & 3rd Gen Intel Core i3/i5/i7 processor family for the LGA 1155 Socket
2 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (x16/x0 or x8/x8) 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 slots (max x4 electrical) 2 x PCI slot 2 x PCIe 2.0 x1 slots
2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s (Intel Z77) 4 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s (Intel Z77) 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s (ASMedia 1061)
1x Intel WG82579V PCIe Gigabit LAN
10 x USB 2.0 ports (2 at back panel, 8 at front panel) 6 x USB 3.0 ports (4 at back panel, 2 at front panel) 1 x RJ45 LAN connectors 1 x Audio port with 6 audio jacks 1 x SPDIF Output(Optical) 1 x HDMI port 1 x DisplayPort 1 x DVI-D port 1 x RGB port 1 x WiFi Antenna 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port
Realtek ALC892 HD CODEC
5 x 4-pin PWM
ATX Form Factor (305 mm x 244 mm)
ASUS Dual Intelligent Processors 3
ASUS Wi-Fi GO! card
ASUS USB 3.0 Boost
ASUS USB Charger+
ASUS AI Suite II
ASUS Anti Surge
ASUS Fan Xpert 2
ASUS EZ DIY
Precision Tweaker 2
Intel Z77 Express Chipset
Intel launched their latest desktop platform in the first half of April 2012, just a little while ago, beginning with board products. The Intel Z77 Express platform is an incremental upgrade from previous platforms, adding additional features and providing a wider level of functionality, while adding full support for the 3rd Generation Core i5/i7 family of CPUs, commonly called Ivy Bridge in enthusiast circles.
The Ivy Bridge CPUs are made using a new 28nm process technology that lowers power consumption as well as offering a bit more performance-per-clock than previous Intel 2nd Generation Core i5/i7 products. Also changed is the onboard GPU that's part of the Ivy Bridge silicon, which now takes up more of that slice of silicon that sits under the integrated heatspreader.
The integrated PCIe bus on the CPU is also upgraded, and can be split differently than with Sandy Bridge CPUs, with Ivy Bridge natively supporting three devices over a single bus with 16 lanes of PCIe 3.0 connectivity, compared to the two devices and PCIe 2.0 link that is found inside Sandy Bridge products. Taking advantage of that added PCIe functionality requires a motherboard design change from previous Sandybridge-supporting motherboards, yet backwards and forwards component compatibility for both Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge platform products including CPUs and chipsets is possible with updated firmware for older Socket 1155 board products. Using a new IvyBridge CPU with an older P67 Express or Z68 Express motherboard may limit PCIe functionality, and naturally, with SandyBridge only supporting two devices, the tertiary slot provided on some Z77 Express boards will not work on some products when a SandyBridge CPU is installed.
The ASUS P8Z77-V offers three PCIe slots, but the lower slot is connected to the Intel Z77 Express PCH, meaning that even Sandybridge CPU users can make use of all the offered PCI Express connectivity. At the same time, this indicates that the bandwidth for some of the PCH-connected devices is affected by that slot. However, at the same time, it also means that you can get an optimal x8/x8 link when dual VGAs are installed, and perhaps even add in a RAID card in the bottom slot, if that tickles your fancy. The P8Z77-V has its advantages, obviously.
Like a mid-range product should, the ASUS P8Z77-V comes in a rather small, but very black box, like the rest of the "regular" ASUS branded boards. The front has very little going on; the board's name stands out in green and white lettering on one side, with just a few technology logos across the bottom. There is also a very large " Smart Digi+" logo in the upper right corner just under a "PCIe 3.0 Ready" banner that hints at IvyBridge upgrade options. The back of the box has far more going on, but really, there's just a picture of the board with some specification listings, and then several breakdowns of what ASUS-specific features the P8Z77-V contains.
Upon opening the box itself, we find ourselves looking at the board right on top, nestled in its own protective cardboard tray. Lifting the board's tray out, we find the included accessories below, contained within separate compartments made from a cardboard divider on the board wrapper that helps ensure the huge amount of goodies makes it to your door intact. Moving this divider to the board's tray has drastically reduced the amount of paper needed to contruct the box, which not only helps on overall cost reductions, but also is a bit more environmentally friendly. Kudos for that, ASUS!