Asus P8Z77-V Pro review
A broad roster of features, and the inclusion of Wi-Fi, makes the price worth paying for this Asus board
At £145, the Asus P8Z77 is one of the more expensive LGA 1155 motherboards we've seen, but with so many boards coming in at under £100 nowadays, it has its work cut out to justify the price.
It gets off to a good start by offering a single-band 802.11n wireless module, which is included in the box and clips to a small connector on the backplate. And there's plenty to like on the rest of the board: two of its three PCI Express x16 slots run at 8x speed when they're both occupied by graphics cards, which makes dual-graphics card configurations a possibility, and the third runs at 4x speed.
That's one more PCI Express x16 slot than the cheaper MSI Z77A-G43 offers, and they're joined by pairs of PCI Express x1 and PCI slots.
The four DIMM sockets accept up to 32GB of DDR3 RAM. There are four SATA 6Gbits/sec sockets – as many as we've seen on any motherboard - and two more than on the MSI.
Six fan controllers are scattered around the ATX PCB, and there are two USB 3 headers. Only the two VRM heatsinks are of slight concern: they're tall and encroach on the CPU socket more than we’d like, which could rule out some of the more chunky CPU coolers.
The back panel is well-stocked. Four USB 3 sockets are joined by just two USB 2 ports, there's one PS/2 port, and six audio jacks alongside one optical S/PDIF out. If you're planning to use the integrated graphics built into Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge CPUs, there's plenty of choice: DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI-D and D-SUB outputs are all on offer.
The Asus is also the fastest of the boards we've recently tested. With an Intel 3.5GHz Core i7-3770K installed, its application benchmark result of 1.17 was quicker than the MSI's 1.09 with the same CPU in place. In the Low-quality Crysis test the result from the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 was 50fps - 6fps better - and while the gap was narrower in our storage tests, the Asus was still narrowly ahead.
Although the Asus draws a fair chunk of power – 128W to the MSI's 101W – when it comes to high-end motherboards, the P8Z77-V Pro hits all the right notes. It's a significant chunk of money to spend on a motherboard but it is a high-quality piece of kit.
|Price ex VAT||£120|
|Price inc VAT||£144|
|Features & Design||5|
|Value for Money||4|
|Motherboard form factor||ATX|
|Motherboard integrated graphics||no|
|Processor/platform brand (manufacturer)||Intel|
|Processor socket||LGA 1155|
|Motherboard form factor||ATX|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel Z77|
|Number of Ethernet adapters||1|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|CPU power connector type||8-pin|
|Main power connector||ATX 24-pin|
|Memory sockets total||4|
|Internal SATA connectors||4|
|Conventional PCI slots total||2|
|PCI-E x16 slots total||3|
|PCI-E x8 slots total||0|
|PCI-E x4 slots total||0|
|PCI-E x1 slots total||2|
|USB ports (downstream)||2|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||1|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||6|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
Diagnostics and tweaking
|Motherboard onboard power switch?||yes|
|Motherboard onboard reset switch?||yes|