The Intel Z77 chipset is a single-chip solution, which is also known as a PCH (Platform Controller Hub). This chip supports two SATA-600 ports and four SATA-300 ports, supporting RAID (0, 1, 10, and 5). This motherboard has two additional SATA-600 ports, controlled by an ASMedia ASM1061 chip (no RAID support). These ports are located at the motherboard’s edge and rotated 90°, so video cards won’t block them. Thankfully, ASUS used different colors to identify which SATA ports are SATA-300 (light blue), SATA-600 controlled by the chipset (gray) or SATA-600 controlled by the additional chip (dark blue). See Figure 5. There are no eSATA ports.
The Intel Z77 chipset supports 14 USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports. The ASUS P8Z77-V PRO offers 10 USB 2.0 ports, two available on the motherboard rear panel and eight available through four headers located on the motherboard; and eight USB 3.0 ports, four located on the motherboard rear panel and four available through two headers located on the motherboard. The four additional ports are controlled by two ASMedia ASM1042 chips.
The ASUS P8Z77-V PRO doesn’t have FireWire ports.
This motherboard supports 7.1+2 audio format, i.e., eight channels plus two independent channels for audio streaming. On this motherboard, the audio is generated by the chipset using the Realtek ALC892 codec, which is a mainstream-grade product, providing a 97 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog outputs, 90 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog inputs, and up to 192 kHz sampling rate for both inputs and outputs, with 24-bit resolution. These specifications are good for the average user, but if you want to work professionally with audio editing or converting analog audio sources into digital format, you will need to pick a motherboard with at least 100 dB signal-to-noise ratio for its inputs.
The motherboard has on-board optical SPDIF output. A header labeled “SPDIF_OUT” also provides SPDIF output for you to install a coaxial SPDIF output or to route digital audio to older video cards that require this physical connection in order to have digital audio output in their HDMI connectors.
The analog audio outputs are independent, so you won’t need to use the “mic in” or the “line in” jacks when installing an analog 7.1 speaker set.
The portrayed motherboard has one Gigabit Ethernet port, controlled by the chipset using an Intel WG82579V chip to make the interface with the physical layer.
The ASUS P8Z77-V PRO also comes with a module supporting Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b/g/n), which is to be installed on a special connector on the motherboard rear panel. This module, however, is a single-band device working at 2.4 GHz, so motherboards with a dual-band radio, such as the ASUS P8Z77-V DELUXE will achieve a higher transfer rate on IEEE 802.11n networks.
In Figure 7, you can see the motherboard rear panel with a shared PS/2 connector for keyboard and mouse, four USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, the Wi-Fi module installed, optical SPDIF output, HDMI output, DisplayPort output, VGA output, DVI-I output, Gigabit Ethernet port, and the analog audio jacks.