ASUS P8Z77-V PRO Motherboard
By Gabriel Torres on April 17, 2012


Introduction

The ASUS P8Z77-V PRO is a top mid-range socket LGA1155 motherboard targeted to the forthcoming “Ivy Bridge” processors (third-generation Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 processors) and also supporting the current “Sandy Bridge” models (second-generation Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 processors). Let’s see what the ASUS P8Z77-V PRO will have to offer.

The Intel Z77 will be an upgraded version of the Z68 chipset with the same basic features (Intel Smart Response Technology and Virtu video switching technology), plus native support to four USB 3.0 ports. It will also include the addition of two new technologies: Smart Connect (allowing the computer to receive emails and refresh webpages while it is in sleep mode) and Rapid Start (faster boot times).

In addition, the ASUS P8Z77-V PRO supports the Virtu Universal MVP, which allows you to combine the performance of the integrated graphics processor available in the CPU with the performance of any video card installed. This is similar to what occurs with the Hybrid SLI and ATI Hybrid Graphics technologies, with the notable difference of not being limited to GPUs from a specific manufacturer.

ASUS has launched 12 different motherboard models based on the Intel Z77 chipset. In the tables below, we compare their main specifications.

Specification

P8Z77 WS

P8Z77-V DELUXE

SABERTOOTH Z77

P8Z77-V PRO

Form Factor

ATX

ATX

ATX

ATX

Memory Sockets

4

4

4

4

PCI Express x16

4 (x16/x16/x0/x0 or x16/x8/x8/x0 or x8/x8/x8/x8)

3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)

3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)

3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)

PCI Express x1

2

4

3

2

Standard PCI

0

0

0

2

CrossFireX

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

SLI

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

SATA-300

4

4

4

4

SATA-600

4

4

4

4

eSATA-300

0

0

0

0

eSATA-600

2

2

2

0

USB 2.0

9

8

10

10

USB 3.0

6

8

6

8

FireWire

0

0

0

0

Bluetooth

No

Yes, 4.0

No

No

Gigabit Ethernet

2

2

1

1

Wi-Fi

No

Yes (a, b, g, n)

No

Yes (b, g, n)

VGA

0

0

0

1

DVI

1

0

0

1

HDMI

0

1

1

1

DisplayPort

0

1

1

1

Audio

ALC898

ALC898

ALC892

ALC892

Voltage Regulator

16+4

16+4

8+4+2

12+4

Price

NA

USD 275

USD 240

USD 225


Specification

P8Z77-V

P8Z77-V LE

P8Z77-V LK

P8Z77-V LX

Form Factor

ATX

ATX

ATX

ATX

Memory Sockets

4

4

4

4

PCI Express x16

3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)

2 (x16/x4)

3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)

2 (x16/x4)

PCI Express x1

2

2

2

2

Standard PCI

2

3

2

3

CrossFireX

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

SLI

Yes

No

Yes

No

SATA-300

4

4

4

4

SATA-600

4

3

2

2

eSATA-300

0

0

0

0

eSATA-600

0

1

0

0

USB 2.0

10

10

10

10

USB 3.0

6

6

6

4

FireWire

0

0

0

0

Bluetooth

No

No

No

No

Gigabit Ethernet

1

1

1

1

Wi-Fi

Yes (b, g, n)

No

No

No

VGA

1

1

1

1

DVI

1

1

1

1

HDMI

1

1

1

1

DisplayPort

1

1

1

0

Audio

ALC892

ALC892

ALC892

ALC887

Voltage Regulator

8+4

6+2

4+1+1

4+1+1

Price

USD 210

USD 165

USD 145

USD 140


Specification

Maximus V GENE

P8Z77-M PRO

P8Z77-M

P8Z77-I DELUXE

Form Factor

microATX

microATX

microATX

Mini-ITX

Memory Sockets

4

4

4

2

PCI Express x16

2 (x16/x0 or x8/x8)

3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)

2 (x16/x4)

1

PCI Express x4

1

0

0

0

PCI Express x1

0

1

1

0

Standard PCI

0

0

1

0

Mini PCI Express

2

0

0

0

CrossFireX

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

SLI

Yes

Yes

No

No

SATA-300

2

4

4

2

SATA-600

4

2

2

2

eSATA-300

1

0

0

2

eSATA-600

0

2

0

0

USB 2.0

8

8

10

8

USB 3.0

6

6

4

6

FireWire

0

0

0

0

Bluetooth

No

No

No

Yes, 4.0

Gigabit Ethernet

1

1

1

1

Wi-Fi

No

No

No

Yes (a,b,g,n)

VGA

0

1

1

0

DVI

0

1

1

1

HDMI

1

1

1

0

DisplayPort

1

0

0

0

Audio

SupremeFX III

ALC892

ALC887

ALC898

Voltage Regulator

8+4

6+2

4+1

8+2

Price

USD 200

USD 160

USD 140

NA

Figure 1 shows you the ASUS P8Z77-V PRO motherboard.

ASUS P8Z77-V PRO motherboard
click to enlarge
Figure 1: ASUS P8Z77-V PRO motherboard

Slots

The ASUS P8Z77-V PRO comes with two PCI Express 3.0/2.0 x16 slots, one PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot, two PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots and two standard PCI slots.

The two PCI Express 3.0/2.0 x16 slots are controlled by the CPU, with the first slot working at x16 when only one video card is installed, and with both working at x8 when two video cards are installed. Since these slots are controlled by the CPU, they will offer PCI Express 2.0 bandwidth (8 GB/s at x16) when a “Sandy Bridge” CPU is installed, but PCI Express 3.0 bandwidth (16 GB/s at x16) when an “Ivy Bridge” CPU is used.

The third PCI Express x16 slot is 2.0 and always workss at x4 speed. If you want to install a dual-slot video card in this slot, you will need a computer case with at least eight expansion slots. (Computer cases usually have seven.)

ASUS did a great job by using different colors at each PCI Express slot, so you can easily identify their speeds: blue for x16/x8, gray for x8, and black for x4.

The PCI Express x16 slots support both SLI and CrossFireX technologies.

Since the Intel Z77 doesn’t support standard PCI slots, this motherboard uses an ASMedia ASM1083 chip to connect them to PCI Express x1 lanes.

ASUS P8Z77-V PRO motherboard
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Figure 2: Slots

Memory Support

Intel socket LGA1155 CPUs have an embedded memory controller, meaning that it is the processor, not the chipset, which defines what memory technologies you can have and the maximum amount of memory that is possible. The motherboard, however, may have a limitation as to how much memory can be installed.

The integrated memory controller from socket LGA1155 processors supports DDR3 memories up to 1,333 MHz (“Sandy Bridge” CPUs) or up to 1,600 MHz (“Ivy Bridge” CPUs). According to ASUS, the P8Z77-V PRO supports memories up to 2,600 MHz.

The ASUS P8Z77-V PRO has four memory sockets. Since DDR3 memory modules can be found in capacities up to 8 GB, you can have up to 32 GB with this motherboard if you use four 8 GB modules.

In order to enable the dual-channel mode, you must install two or four memory modules. On the ASUS P8Z77-V PRO, the first and third memory sockets are blue, while the second and fourth are black. When installing two memory modules, use the blue sockets.

ASUS P8Z77-V PRO motherboard
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Figure 3: Memory sockets; install two or four modules for the best performance

As with other motherboards from ASUS, the P8Z77-V PRO comes with the “MemOK!” feature, which allows you to test the compatibility of the memory modules that are installed by pressing the button shown in Figure 4.

ASUS P8Z77-V PRO motherboard
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Figure 4: The MemOK! button

On-Board Peripherals

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.

ASUS P8Z77-V PRO motherboard
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Figure 5: The four SATA-300 ports (light blue), the two SATA-600 ports controlled by the chipset (gray), and the two SATA-600 ports controlled by the additional chip (dark blue)

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.

ASUS P8Z77-V PRO motherboard
click to enlarge
Figure 6: The Wi-Fi module

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.

ASUS P8Z77-V PRO motherboard
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Figure 7: Motherboard rear panel

Other Features

The BIOS Flashback button, shown in Figure 8, allows you to easily flash the motherboard BIOS with the computer turned off and without having to load any BIOS flashing program. With the computer turned off, simply install a USB memory on a USB port containing the file to be flashed, press the button for three seconds, and voilà! The location of this button, however, is not convenient, as you will have to open your computer case in order to access it. On the DELUXE version of this motherboard, this button is located on the motherboard rear panel, which makes more sense.

ASUS P8Z77-V PRO motherboard
click to enlarge
Figure 8: The BIOS Flashback button

The motherboard has two switches, labeled TPU and EPU. The EPU switch enables or disables the power-savings features available, while the TPU switch enables or disables automatic overclocking.

ASUS P8Z77-V PRO motherboard
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Figure 9: The TPU and EPU switches

In Figure 10, you can see all of the accessories that come with the ASUS P8Z77-V PRO.

ASUS P8Z77-V PRO motherboard
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Figure 10: Accessories

Voltage Regulator

The CPU voltage regulator circuit of the ASUS P8Z77-V PRO has 12 phases for the CPU main voltage (Vcc a.k.a. Vcore), one for the CPU VSA voltage (memory controller), one for the CPU VTT voltage (PCI Express and DMI interfaces), and four for the CPU integrated video controller (VAXG). Therefore, it uses a “12+1+1+4” configuration.

ASUS P8Z77-V PRO motherboard
click to enlarge
Figure 11: Voltage regulator circuit

The voltage regulator is controlled by ASUS’s Digi+ EPU (ASP1000C) integrated circuit, using a digital design.

The ASUS P8Z77-V PRO uses solid electrolytic capacitors. All coils on this motherboard are ferrite-core models, which can provide up to 20% improvement in efficiency.

If you want to learn more about the voltage regulator circuit, please read our tutorial on the subject.  

Overclocking Options

The ASUS P8Z77-V PRO has a few overclocking options. Below, we list the most important ones (0906 BIOS):

ASUS P8Z77-V PRO motherboard
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Figure 12: CPU overclocking options

ASUS P8Z77-V PRO motherboard
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Figure 13: CPU overclocking options

ASUS P8Z77-V PRO motherboard
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Figure 14: Voltage options

Main Specifications

The main specifications for the ASUS P8Z77-V PRO include:

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this First Look article.

Conclusions

The ASUS P8Z77-V PRO is a top mid-range motherboard, and therefore targeted to the user who wants more features than mainstream motherboards provide, such as three PCI Express x16 slots, eight USB 3.0 ports, a Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11b/g/n card, and an above-average voltage regulator circuit.

The only feature that we didn’t like about the P8Z77-V PRO was the choice of audio codec. Since it is a top mid-range product, we’d expect it to use a high-end codec such as the ALC898 or the ALC889, which provide a higher signal-to-noise ratio. On the other hand, if you are not going to work professionally with audio editing or converting analog audio to digital format, that won’t be a problem for you.

If you want even more features, you may consider the ASUS P8Z77-V DELUXE, which brings the following advantages over the PRO model and costs USD 50 more:

The PRO model, however, has VGA and DVI-I outputs, connectors not available on the DELUXE model.

Of course, if you don’t need all the extra features available on the ASUS P8Z77-V PRO, such as additional USB 3.0 ports, a third PCI Express x16 slot, and a Wi-Fi card, you can pick a more affordable product.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/ASUS-P8Z77-V-PRO-Motherboard/1529


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