ASUS Z77 LGA1155 Motherboards Preview

Author: MAC
Date: March 13, 2012
Product Name: ASUS Z77
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P8Z77-V PRO / P8Z77-V / P8Z77-M PRO

As you can see, ASUS are continuing the P8-moniker used on all their current LGA1155 motherboards, and although we were only show models based on the Intel Z77 chipset, we expect motherboards based on other upcoming H77 and Q77 chipsets to follow a similar naming scheme. The P8Z77 series are the mainstream models that ASUS have designed around the new Intel Z77 chipset, optimized for the the 3rd generation Intel Core processors but also perfectly compatible with Sandy Bridge chips.

Without further ado, here are some of the models that you will have to look forward to:

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First and foremost, we have to start with the model that will ostensibly be the most popular, the P8Z77-V PRO. Like all ASUS PRO motherboards before it, this model comes with just about every feature that we would want in motherboard, but without breaking the bank. This full-sized ATX model features a 12 + 4 + 2 digital phase power design, three PCI-E x16 slots with 2-Way SLI / 2-Way CrossFireX / LucidLogix Virtu MVP support, DisplayPort/DVI/HDMI/VGA outputs, four USB 3.0 ports, two USB 3.0 headers, eight SATA connections, one Intel-powered GbE LAN port, 8-channel HD audio codec, etc. Single-band Wi-Fi 802.11n will also come standard, but Bluetooth support is missing on this model.

Like all models from this series, the P8Z77-V PRO features the new USB 3.0 Boost technology. Basically, some of the supplied USB 3.0 ports are courtesy of a new ASMedia controller that supports the USB Attached SCSI Protocol (USAP), which ASUS claim offers better performance than native USB 3.0 solutions, particularly at higher queue depths. Speaking of USB ports, one USB 3.0 port on each motherboard will feature USB Charger+ functionality, which can supply up to 1.5 amps and will allow you to charge your mobile devices quicker, and even when the system is shutdown.

When the system is off, you can also update the bios via the USB BIOS Flashback feature, which can read the .ROM file from a thumb drive and flash the BIOS all with the touch of one button.

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The P8Z77-V is a more entry-level model compared to the PRO, but not my much. It features a slightly simpler 8 + 4 + 2 PWM and one less USB 3.0 header, but otherwise it is basically identical to its higher-end sibling. ASUS have not cheapened out anywhere, and even this model comes with an Intel Gigabit LAN controller instead of a cheaper Realtek unit. You can manage the onboard LAN interface with Network iControl, which allows you to assign and control packet priority, traffic shaping, and bandwidth.

On the audio front, both P8Z77-V models come with the usual Realtek ALC892 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC, albeit now enhanced with support for DTS Ultra PC II and DTS Connect. Nothing to rival a discrete sound card, but every little bit helps, especially if you have an elaborate multi-channel speaker system connected to your computer.

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Thankfully, the compact micro-ATX P8Z77-M PRO doesn't lose much during the shrinking down process. It has a simpler PWM and two less SATA ports, but it still packs in three full-sized PCI-E x16 slots. On the rear I/O panel, there are four USB 3.0 ports, and while the DisplayPort is missing it has been replaced by two eSATA connections.

Not pictured here is the ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe, a diminutive mini-ITX model that features everything that you have read above, just in a much smaller package. This model features a very unique riser card on which all the DIGI+ VRM elements are located , which ASUS claim will allow this motherboard to overclock as well as the larger models. We are definitely anxious to put that statement to the test!

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