We decided to build the new gaming test bench with just a little overkill and after our experience with the P8-Z68-V Pro /Gen 3 motherboard in the Fractal R3 home server build, we decided to go one better and check out the ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe motherboard. So, to make it clear guys, we purchased this board for our own gaming test bench with high expectations. For the purposes of gaming, we could have opted for something mid to entry level and still achieved similar performance/experience for less expense but at the end of the day, we are enthusiasts here at PCGamers.net.au. Ultimately, it came down to a combination of curiosity, indulgence and the fact that there were so many features to test out for a review.
Asus 'Deluxe' series boards have been around for a while and this wasn't the first time I'd worked with one (my last 'Deluxe' was a P35 based version about 5 years ago). According to www.dictionary.com , the word "Deluxe" when used as an adjective means "of special elegance, sumptuousness, or fineness; high or highest in quality, luxury". Let's see if the product lives up to its name.
In the spirit of 'Deluxe-ness' we decided to feed the board with an Intel i7-3770K CPU and 16GB of corsair low profile RAM in the matching blue finish. There are no excuses for poor performance in this build.
Above: The ASUS promotional shot of the motherboard done by a professional photographer
Above: The PCGamers.net.au shot of the motherboard in our STRYKER build with the Corsair H100 and Corsair Vengeance LP Blue memory
What's in the box?
Aside from a feature packed motherboard, ASUS have also included:
- The manuals (yes, more than one booklet)
- SATA 2 Cables x2
- SATA 3 Cables x 4
- SLI Bridge - flexible type
- ASUS Wi-Fi GO card (needs to be attached to the motherboard prior to installation)
- 2 magnetic antennas for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- Asus Q-Shield IO backplate
Ok - this is straight from the ASUS website and the ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe packs a massive list of features, we talk about the key ones on the next page.
|CPU||Intel® Socket 1155 for 3rd/2nd Generation Core™ i7/Core™ i5/Core™ i3/Pentium®/Celeron® Processors
Supports Intel® 22 nm CPU
Supports Intel® 32 nm CPU
Supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
* The Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 support depends on the CPU types.
|Memory||4 x DIMM, Max. 32GB, DDR3 2600(O.C.)/2400(O.C.)/2200(O.C.)/2133(O.C.)/2000(O.C.)/1866(O.C.)/1800(O.C.)/1600/1333 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel Memory Architecture
Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
* Hyper DIMM support is subject to the physical characteristics of individual CPUs.
* Refer to www.asus.com or user manual for the Memory QVL (Qualified Vendors Lists).
|Graphic||Integrated Graphics Processor
Multi-VGA output support : HDMI/DVI/RGB/DisplayPort ports
- Supports HDMI with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz
- Supports DVI with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz
- Supports RGB with max. resolution 2048 x 1536 @ 75 Hz
- Supports DisplayPort with max. resolution 2560 x 1600 @ 60 Hz
Supports Intel® HD Graphics, InTru™ 3D, Quick Sync Video, Clear Video HD Technology, Insider™
|Multi-GPU Support||Supports NVIDIA® Quad-GPU SLI™ Technology *1
Supports AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX™ Technology
Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX™ Technology
Supports LucidLogix® Virtu™ MVP Technology *2
|Expansion Slots||2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8) *3
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4 mode, black)
2 x PCIe 2.0 x1 *4
2 x PCI
|Storage||Intel® Z77 chipset :
2 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), gray
4 x SATA 3Gb/s port(s), blue
Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology, Intel® Rapid Start Technology, Intel® Smart Connect Technology *5
ASMedia® PCIe SATA controller : *6
2 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), navy blue
|LAN||Intel® 82579V, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s)
Intel® LAN- Dual interconnect between the Integrated LAN controller and Physical Layer (PHY)
|Wireless Data Network||Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Supports single band frequency 2.4GHz
|Audio||Realtek® ALC892 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
- Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
Audio Feature :
- Absolute Pitch 192kHz/ 24-bit True BD Lossless Sound
- DTS Ultra PC II
- DTS Connect
- Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel
|USB Ports||ASMedia® USB 3.0 controller : *7
4 x USB 3.0 port(s) (2 at back panel, blue, 2 at mid-board)
Intel® Z77 chipset : *7
4 x USB 3.0 port(s) (2 at back panel, blue, 2 at mid-board)
Intel® Z77 chipset :
10 x USB 2.0 port(s) (2 at back panel, black, 8 at mid-board)
|Overclocking Features||Overclocking Protection :
- ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
|Special Features||ASUS Dual Intelligent Processors 3 - SMART DIGI+ Power Control :
SMART DIGI+ :
- Smart DIGI+ Key- quickly delivers higher VRM frequency, voltage and current for superior CPU/iGPU/DRAM overclocking performance with one switch.
- Smart CPU Power Level (Intel® VRD 12.5 Future Power Design)- provides the best digital power saving conditions.
ASUS TPU :
- Auto Tuning
- GPU Boost
- TPU switch
ASUS EPU :
- EPU switch
ASUS Digital Power Design :
- Industry leading Digital 16 Phase Power Design
(12 -phase for CPU, 4 -phase for iGPU)
- Industry leading Digital 2 Phase DRAM Power Design
- CPU Power Utility
- DRAM Power Utility
ASUS Wi-Fi GO!
- Wi-Fi GO! Function: DLNA Media Hub, Smart Motion Control, Remote Desktop, Remote Keyboard & Mouse, File Transfer, Capture & Send *8
- Wi-Fi GO! Remote for portable Smartphone/Tablet, supporting iOS & Android systems
- Wi-Fi Engine for network sharing and connection: Client Mode, AP Mode
ASUS Exclusive Features :
- USB BIOS Flashback
- AI Suite II
- Ai Charger+
- USB Charger+
- ASUS UEFI BIOS EZ Mode featuring friendly graphics user interface
- Network iControl
- USB 3.0 Boost
- Disk Unlocker
ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution :
- Stylish Fanless Design Heat-sink solution
- ASUS Fan Xpert 2
ASUS EZ DIY :
- ASUS O.C. Tuner
- ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
- ASUS EZ Flash 2
ASUS Q-Design :
- ASUS Q-Shield
- ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
- ASUS Q-Slot
- ASUS Q-DIMM
- ASUS Q-Connector
|Back I/O Ports||1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s)
1 x DVI-D
1 x D-Sub
1 x DisplayPort
1 x HDMI
1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
4 x USB 3.0
2 x USB 2.0
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
6 x Audio jack(s)
1 x WLAN connector(s) for ASUS wireless module
|Internal I/O Ports||2 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 3.0 port(s) (19-pin)
4 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 8 USB 2.0 port(s)
4 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
4 x SATA 3Gb/s connector(s)
1 x CPU Fan connector(s)
4 x Chassis Fan connector(s)
1 x Optional Fan connector(s)
1 x S/PDIF out header(s)
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
1 x System panel(s)
1 x MemOK! button(s)
1 x TPU switch(es)
1 x EPU switch(es)
1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)
1 x USB BIOS Flashback button(s)
2 x SATA 3Gb/s cable(s)
2 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
1 x SLI bridge(s)
1 x Q-connector(s) (2 in 1)
1 x 2-port USB 2.0 and eSATA module(s)
1 x ASUS Wi-Fi GO! card(s)
1 x Wi-Fi Ring Moving Antenna(s)
|BIOS||64 Mb Flash ROM, UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.5, ACPI 2.0a, Multi-language BIOS,
ASUS EZ Flash 2, ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3, F12 PrintScreen, F3 Shortcut Function and ASUS DRAM SPD (Serial Presence Detect) memory information
|Manageability||WfM 2.0, DMI 2.0, WOL by PME, PXE|
Anti-virus software (OEM version)
|Form Factor||ATX Form Factor
12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )
|Note||*1: With 2 PCIex16 graphics card.
*2: LucidLogix Virtu MVP supports Windows 7 operating systems.
*3: PCIe 3.0 speed is supported by Intel® 3rd generation Core™ processors.
*4: The PCIe x1_2 shares bandwidth with SATA6G_E12. SATA6G_E12 is enabled by default for system resource optimization.
*5: Supports on Intel® Core™ processor family with Windows 7 operating systems.
*6: These SATA ports are for data hard drivers only. ATAPI devices are not supported.
*7-1: Supports ASUS USB 3.0 Boost UASP Mode.
*7-2: The USB 3.0 ports only support Windows® 7 or later versions.
*8: Available with V1.01.00 or later.
*9: Due to Intel® chipset limitation, P8Z77, P8H77 and P8B75 series motherboards do not support Windows® Vista operating system.
The board has the same blue theme as the P8Z68-V Pro motherboard from our Fractal R3 build . There is also a blue LED in the chipset heat sink that lights up which is a nice touch. If you are running a discrete graphics card, (and it would be a crime not to with this motherboard), then the bright blue ASUS logo may be obscured but the glow is still visible.
The heat pipes and heat sinks are well proportioned and didn't get in the way when doing a system build with this board. It's also worth noting that there is clearance behind the top PCIe x1 slot on the motherboard for a standard length PCIe Card. The layout has been well thought out and the ASUS designers have managed to fit a lot of technology onto this platform without making it look over crowded.
In our build, we were able to easily fit an ASUS Xonar DX sound card in the top slot and the GTX 670 in the PCIe 16x slot immediately below it.
As all full size Z77 motherboards, there are 4 DDR3 memory slots. These can take up to 32GB of RAM and have only one locking clip on the side to worry about. It's worth checking the ASUS QVL list to make sure that the memory you intend to use is compatible but we didn't notice any obvious omissions from the list when we looked. It's also good to see the use of 100% Japanese solid capacitors and on a board at the upper end of the price range it should be expected.
The TPU (TurboV Processing Unit) switch and MemOK buttons can be found in the top right corner of the board. The MemOK! button can be used to help resolve memory issues but we didn't need it so we can't really comment on how well it works. The TPU switch is a way of automatically overclocking the CPU without needing to go into the BIOS but we will test that a little later on.
The USB 3 header is in the usual place for a Z77 board and the only thing we would say here applies to most Z77 motherboards at the moment. We wish the USB 3 internal header was angled flat/90 degrees so that the cable for the front USB3 ports could go in from the side of the motherboard like the SATA ports. This is a really minor gripe and applies to every Z77 board we've seen so far.
There are 8 SATA ports - 2xSATAIII 6Gb/s ports (grey), 4 SATAII 3Gb/s ports (blue) from the Z77 chipset and 2 SATAIII 6Gb/s (navy blue) ports from the Marvel PCIe 9128 SATA controller.
The Z77 chipset supports RAID 0,1,5,10, whilst the Marvell Controlled supports RAID 0, 1.
When it comes to Fan connectors, ASUS really came to the party. While there is a dedicated 4 pin CPU fan connector, an optional 4-pin connector sits right next to it at the top edge of the motherboard. We were able to plug in our pair of Noctua NF-F12 fans fitted to our H100 cooler and control them as one 'unit' through the software despite them being on 2 different physical connections. The designers have also spread another 4 fan points around the board which was also really useful - we'll come back to these later when we look at the Fan Xpert 2 software.
Along the bottom edge of the P8Z77-V Deluxe we find the usual front panel connections, USB, and Audio. These are well placed and make cable routing neat and simple. There are also power and reset switches along the bottom edge, the ASUS Q-Code display, Clear CMOS button and EPU switch. These switches are of limited use once your build is setup and your rig squared away ready for gaming but during the build and initial testing phase, these features can be really convenient.
Back in the day of Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake, we depended on counting beeps to troubleshoot errors but the ASUS Q-Code display gives you a code to look up in the manual. Nice.
Quad SLI and Quad Crossfire are supported but only with 2 Dual GPU cards. SLI, Crossfire, and 3 way crossfire are also supported. The Lucid Virtu MVP technology allows you to plug your monitor into the motherboard video headers but still use the power from the discrete GPU. Whilst this worked a treat for us, it still felt really strange seeing our $500 graphics card working overtime without anything connected to the video ports on the back of it.
The PCIe slot layout includes:
- 2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16, x8)
- 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4 mode, black)
- 4 x PCIe 2.0 x1
The spacing of the 2 PCIe 3.0/2.0 slots will allow for 2 dual slot graphics cards to be used with a 1 slot gap in between.
The PLX PEX8608 chip can be found in the middle of the board under the PCIE 16x slot. This chip provides the motherboard with switching capabilities that allow you to use all of the features without having to manually disable anything or compromise. On 1155 boards without a PLX chip (so not this one!), that PCIE 4x slot might be physically there, but if you want to use it, you will need to disable some of the other features on the motherboard that use the PCIE lanes.
Although there is a TB (Thunderbolt) header present we don't have either an add-on card to plug into it or a Thunderbolt device to test it with. It's there but at this stage, and sadly, of little value.
Last and most certainly least - we'd like to point out something that we couldn't find on the board. Older technology that we never use. On a board like this, we were glad to see the available space taken up with modern technology and the legacy items like the older PCI slots, PS/2 mouse and keyboard port plus the VGA port left out. We hunted through our bone yard of old stuff and found:
- a PCI sound card that isn't supported under the current versions of windows
- a SCSI card for a tape drive without any tapes
- and a TV Tuner card that is analogue
None of the above components should be seen in the same build as this motherboard - ever. If you are going to pay a premium price, you want to get as many features and gadgetry as possible, not shell out for long obsolete connectivity.
Our Test Configuration consisted of:
- Intel i7-3770K
- at stock settings
- 16GB DDR3 1600 Corsair Vengeance Low Profile memory
- Corsair H100 cooler with 2x Noctua NF-F12
- 240GB SanDISK Extreme SSD
- ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe Motherboard
- Corsair AX-850W PSU
- Gigabyte GTX 670 OC Windforce 3 graphics card
- ASUS Xonar DX sound card
- Cooler Master STORM STRYKER case
10 USB ports on the rear I/O Panel is overkill, but having 2 RJ45 LAN connectors and the WIFI/Bluetooth combination is just downright showing off. The BIOS flash button is a great addition and 2 e-SATA ports in addition to the standard audio offerings is as expected. This is what can happen if you don't need to find space for Firewire, DVI and VGA connection.
As per the specifications:
1 x DisplayPort
1 x HDMI
2 x eSATA 6Gb/s
2 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
6 x USB 3.0
4 x USB 2.0
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
6 x Audio jack(s)
1 x Bluetooth V4.0 connector(s) for ASUS Wi-Fi GO! card
1 x USB BIOS Flashback Button(s)
Having 'bricked' a motherboard in the past with a dodgy BIOS flash, the USB BIOS Flashback is a welcome sight. The fact that you just plug a USB stick in the port with the green outline and press the BIOS button without even booting the PC makes it seem too good to be true. Looking at the download section of the ASUS website, BIOS updates are released every month or so with stability and compatibility improvements. We should note that we didn't have any issues with the 0906 version released 30/3/2012.
Disclaimer: I am not an audiophile.
The ALC898 is a at the higher end of onboard sound offerings these days and it's not a bad sound solution by any means - unless you are an audiophile. For the purposes of gaming, general music and movies, it's generally pretty good. The onboard sound offering has jack sensing technology and can automatically mute your speakers when you plug headphones into the front panel jack. The audio software is pretty intuitive, reliable and bug free in our experience.
Although the average user would probably be happy with the ALC898 analogue output – we are not all average users... enthusiasts are a different beast altogether. Despite having a respectable Signal to Noise Ratio of 110dB (playback) and 104dB (recording), the analogue output via the Realtek® ALC898 is not the same as a decent discrete sound card. Having used an ASUS Xonar DX previously, I can notice the difference when gaming, especially in Battlefield 3 and Skyrim. The discrete sound card sounds clearer where the onboard analog output can sound more 'mashed' together when there are a lot of different sounds coming through.
Digital audio (optical) via my errrm... "re-purposed" 5.1 channel home theatre system is another story. As far as my ears could tell, the ALC898 digital output is the same when compared to my discrete Xonar.
As with all audio, there are many variables like speakers, the source of the audio, the room you are listening in and of course a person's ears. If you have a PCIE sound card already and are considering upgrading your motherboard just re-use it. On the other hand, if you don't have a discrete soundcard now and you are looking to upgrade, this onboard solution is probably better than what you have at the moment if not equal.
Wireless and Bluetooth
General WiFi worked really well and the only time connectivity felt sluggish was when doing file transfers which is normal for wireless LAN. Media Streaming was perfectly fine and we couldn't tell the difference when gaming online. We were genuinely surprised in our Battlefield 3 testing. We played Battlefield 3 over a week using only the WiFi connectivity with the wireless router in the same room, then in the next room separated by a plaster stud wall and our latency was in line with a wired connection. My score/KDR was consistent when using either wireless or wired connectivity - to be sure, we repeated the tests over a month and the only time we really noticed the wireless connection was when backing up to our home server.
The designers have implemented wireless connectivity flawlessly on the P8Z77-V deluxe - although it would have been nice to see the Wi-Fi Go! card attached by default. It took about 3 minutes to fit the WiFi Go! module to the motherboard, it actually took longer to attach the antennas than it did to install the module.
While we're talking antennas, there are 2 of them and they have magnets in the base of the rings. The magnetic base is great for attaching to the exterior of a PC case or a filing cabinet or whatever - so long as it's metal. As far as we could tell, they are very effective in terms of reception.
The Wi-Fi Go! software bundle alows you to share media via DLNA and has other cool features like Android and iOS smart phone apps for file transfer, remote keyboard and mouse as well as remote desktop. The Wireless adapter can also function as an access point. As handy as Access Point mode is, we do have to question how often this would be used.
Network iControl allows you to setup prioritisation for your bandwidth which is also a good feature to have but in my own personal experience, of limited value due to my software configuration. That said it's available if you want it and kudos to ASUS.
The dual LAN ports is another added bonus but we doubt most people will maximise their inclusion. It's handy for LAN parties when you can manually configure one port for LANs and leave the other for home use.
ASUS Fan Xpert 2
This was a feature that we were really eager to test. I'm one of those people that are more sensitive to noise than average. When I build a rig, I want it to perform but I also want it to be quiet. The ASUS Fan Xpert 2 software allows you to run your fans in either an auto tuning mode or in a fixed RPM mode.
We liked how you could set different profiles and rename the fans. The stock profile is really well balanced and when paired with the Noctua fans, it provides a barely audible setup. We attached the H100 pump speed connector to one of the fan headers on the motherboard (using the 1 wire adapter) and renamed the fan via Fan Xpert 2 to say "H100 Pump" - this meant that we could monitor it without needing to remember what fan header it was connected to. you can also identity the location of the fan and it gets a graphical representation.
The Fan Xpert 2 software also controlled both the CPU and CPU_OPT fan headers as one device which mean that the H100 fans were kept in sync.
The software is able to determine the capabilities of the fan during a test cycle so you can set thresholds linked to temperatures and have the PC quiet when idle and have it ramp up when under load.
Fan Xpert 2 is easily our pick of the ASUS software package available here
The AI Suite II is useful and ties all the application in well together. AI Probe II is a handy monitoring tool, allowing you to set alerts and alarms on voltage, temperature and fan speeds. We only set the alert for our H100 pump and had to disable the alerts on our NF-F12 fans because they spin so slowly when the CPU is idle.
The UEFI BIOS was one of the other reasons we chose an ASUS board this time around. Our previous experience with the P8-Z68-V Pro /Gen 3 was a positive one and it was easy to navigate. We also wanted to confirm that we didn't have any issues with our Logitech G110 keyboard or Corsair M60 mouse being recognised by the UEFI.
Overclocking on the P8Z77-V Deluxe couldn't be much easier. If you sort of know what you're doing, you can overclock via the UEFI or the TurboV EVO windows application.
We tested overclocking on this board using Windows 7 64 bit with the TurboV EVO software and was flawless.
Our i7 3770K hit:
We also tested the physical TPU switch on the top right corner of the motherboard.
Temperatures with our 'customised' H100/NF-F12 combination were respectable and we probably could have overclocked it higher again. As with most CPUs, the luck of the silicon lottery as to if you get a good overclocker or not. For the average gamer, these overclocking results with delta CPU temperatures in the mid to high 50's would be considered a good day at the office. See our H100 and NF-F12 PART II reviews for the full details.
Simply switching the TPU switch on the mother board to "on" gave us a 4.2GHz overclock at 1.15v with the temperatures in the normal range. Whilst it was so easy and a nice mild overclock, we liked the ASUS TurboV EVO solution better. If you want to overclock but you're not keen on fiddling with multipliers etc, then the TPU switch is your new best friend here.
What is this and why is it cool?
SMART DIGI+ allows you to change the power draw of your system in a way that we haven't seen before. The software gives you the choice of how many Watts you want your CPU to use and lets you either save the planet and potentially your wallet or increase your and system performance and carbon footprint.
It doesn't stop there, DIGI+ Power control allows you to tweak the CPU power settings further and is aimed at overclockers and enthusiasts. You can also have increased control over the DRAM settings. See the interface shots below.
Other features worth mentioning are:
Ai Charger+ will apparently charge devices that support BC 1.1 up to 3 times faster than a standard USB port. A quick search on Google reveals that the BC 1.1 stands for Battery Charging Specification 1.1 and allows compatible devices to draw up to 1800mA when charging without using data, up to 1500mA in low speed data transfer mode and up to 900mA when transferring data at high speed. In comparison, between 100mA and 500mA can be drawn from an older USB port that doesn't support BC 1.1
USB Charger+ will charge USB devices even if the PC is hybernating, in a sleep state or turned off. It will also charge devices up to 3 times faster than a standard USB connection due to a dedicated onboard controller.
ASUS SSD Caching
We didn't test this out because our SSD is the boot drive but in future reviews, we plan to give this a whirl on other boards that support it. The ASUS SSD Caching means you can pair a mechanical HDD with an SSD without rebooting to cache files and increase performance. So maybe there's a bit more life in that old 1TB Samsung F3 yet, besides, my Steam library is over 300GB and I don't play everything.
The SSD Caching works via the Marvell ports, requiring both one SSD and one mechanical HDD to be connected to the Marvell (navy blue) SATA ports.
USB 3.0 Boost
The USB 3 ports support UASP (USB Attached SCSI protocol) which means that the data transfer speed can be increased by up to 170% of a standard USB 3 connection if your device is compatible.
Features and Finish
The build quality is excellent, the accessories are also of high quality and nothing about this board feels cheap. The software was as well polished as the physical hardware - and as feature packed. With the number of rear USB ports, you won't need a USB hub anytime soon; we also liked the fact that you can charge devices with the PC turned off or in sleep mode. The board layout was well considered and it's easy to build a tidy rig with the slot and header positioning.
ASUS look like they have tried really hard to take the awkward parts of PC ownership out of the equation here as well - BIOS updates and overclocking. The one touch BIOS should all but eliminate the anxiety some of us feel when we have a need to do a BIOS update, it's as simple as download to USB, plug it in and press the button - no need to even have the PC turned on.
The PWM support for fans is fantastic, you can customise the fan thresholds and names to get your own personal noise / performance ratio. We were also pleasantly surprised by the Wi-Fi performance when gaming online and streaming.
If I was to criticise anything about this product, it's going to be the onboard analogue audio but most motherboards have inferior audio chipsets unless you increase your budget. That said, the ALC898 on-board audio is one of the better offerings going around and if you've never used a discrete sound card, then it's unlikely to bother you.
Overclocking has never been this easy and you can:
- overclock like a pro via the BIOS (I was going to say 'old school' but it's UEFI and feels like cheating)
- use the TurboV EVO windows application if BIOS isn't your thing
- or go via the worry free TPU switch on the motherboard
After going over this motherboard, looking at every feature and testing them out, we kept talking about how it seemed like good value, despite it being over the $300 mark. For this reason, we decided to list the price of the board as a both pro and a con.
At the time of writing, the price for this board is $305 but if you are looking for a 'keeper' then it might be worth the extra money over the ASUS P8Z77-V Pro. It really depends on how much you value the Deluxe's superior PCIE connectivity, extra LAN port, e-SATA connectivity, sound chip and USB ports. The PLX chip is also a point of difference and for the $90 gap with the P8Z77-V Pro, we can see the benefits of taking the next step up - if you can afford it.
Our final comment is that after purchasing a feature packed Z77 platform like this and pairing it with an i5-3570K or i7-3770K, the above average user is unlikely to grow out of it anytime soon. There is enough storage capacity for 8 internal drives plus 2 e-SATA connections. The USB connectivity is borderline obsessive so peripherals are unlikely to share a USB hub. LAN, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity will keep everything online and the board layout is easy to work with. When the CPU eventually gets a little long in the tooth, overclocking it to extend its usefulness is a snap. We envisage that we will have upgraded the graphics card(s) in our rig a couple of times or more before the ASUS P8Z77 Deluxe gets retired. We hoped this product was going to be a solid platform for the future that would extend beyond performance gaming and we were not disappointed.
Pros and Cons
|Overclocking for everyone, from the novice to the mad scientist||Price may restrict access to the masses|
|The quality and versatility of software package included|
|ASUS Fan Xpert 2|
|USB Charger+, USB Boost and AICharger+|
|Price point is probably the sweet spot for the number of features included|
|WiFi and Bluetooth||