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||