The Asus P8Z77-V Pro is a full-featured Sandy/Ivy Bridge motherboard with five independently controllable fan headers and Asus’ new FAN Xpert 2 utility.
May 7, 2012 by Lawrence Lee
|Asus P8Z77-V Pro|
LGA1155 ATX Motherboard
An updated set of chipsets was recently pushed out by Intel to compliment the new Ivy Bridge processors for LGA1155. Series 7 brings some minor improvements to the platform including PCI Express 3.0, a native USB 3.0 controller, and the ability to use triple displays with the improved integrated graphics of Ivy Bridge. Though not necessary to enjoy the main benefits of Ivy/Sandy Bridge, the superb CPU performance and energy efficiency, the high-end Z77 consumer chipset is a must to take advantage of all that the platform has to offer. Like the previous flagship Z68 chipset, Z77 allows heavy multiplier overclocking, utilizing small SSDs as hard drive cache, and ability to use integrated graphics features like Quick Sync video encoding while running a discrete graphics card.
The Asus P8Z77-V Pro has all these things, along with a laundry list of other features befitting a high-end motherboard. The first Z77 board we reviewed, the Intel DZ77GA-70K, was similar in this regard, but its versatile fan control system was what stood out most to us. Not to be outdone, the P8Z77-V Pro is equipped with FAN Xpert 2, the newest version of Asus’ fan control utility which is available only on select models. FAN Xpert 2 promises users an easy-to-use interface to customize and make full use of the board’s five independently controllable fan headers, the most of any board we’ve encountered thus far.
The Asus P8Z77-V Pro package is fairly comprehensive. Along with the obligatory SATA cables, I/O shield, manual, and driver CD, Asus includes a 802.11n adapter with external antenna, a SLI/CrossFireX bridge, a rear USB 3.0/eSATA breakout panel, and their famous Q-connectors that make plugging in the tiny cables from the front panel infinitely easier.
Asus P8Z77-V Pro : Specifications
(from the product
Intel® Socket 1155 for 3rd/2nd Generation Processors
|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)
|Accessories|| User’s manual|
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|
|Support|| Disc Drivers|
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 P8Z77-V Pro shares a similar appearance as most of Asus’ previous Sandy Bridge series 6 motherboards, making it difficult to distinguish. The black PCB with mainly blue slots and heatsinks is quite familiar to us by now and the layout follows the same blueprint as the board’s predecessors.
The P8Z77-V Pro’s UEFI sports the same mouse-enabled interface as Asus’ series 6 boards. The advanced mode has a clean, well-laid out UI, and being a Z77 motherboard, there are many options with regards to voltage and frequency manipulation.
UEFI/BIOS Frequency/Voltage Summary: Asus P8Z77-V Pro
|BCLK/PEG Frequency||80 to 300 MHz|
|Turbo Ratio||Up to 65|
|CPU Voltage Offset||+/- 0.005 to +/- 0.635 V|
|CPU Manual Voltage||0.800 to 1.920 V|
|VCCSA Voltage||0.800 to 1.700 V (0.925 V default)|
|CPU PLL Voltage||1.200 to 2.200 V (1.813 V default)|
|PCH Voltage||0.800 to 1.700 V (1.062 V default)|
|Memory Frequency||800, 1066, 1333, 1600, 1866, 2133, 2400 MHz|
|DRAM Voltage||0.800 to 1.920 V|
|iGPU Max. Frequency||Up to 3000 MHz|
|iGPU Offset Voltage||+/- 0.005 to +/- 0.635 V|
|iGPU Manual Voltage||0.800 to 1.920 V|
The voltage options offered are typical for a board of this type with high upper limits. The CPU, integrated GPU, and memory can be pumped up to an 1.92 V, far more than what most enthusiasts would ever dream of using. The BCLK frequency tops out at 300 MHz which is completely unnecessary as the clock generator is tied to other peripherals like the SATA bus. All but the slightest adjustments can cause data corruption and general instability.
The new Fan Xpert 2 is one of the most exciting OS-level utilities of the higher-end models of the P8Z77 series, but things are much simpler at the UEFI level. Fan control is handled in a similar fashion to previous Asus motherboards with fixed, automatic, or manual settings. However, BIOS fan control is still much improved over previous boards, as there are five controllable PWM headers, rather than two or three. Also, each individual header can be controlled independently where as previously all the Chassis fans were grouped together under one setting.
Measurement and Analysis Tools
Video Test Clip
H.264: Crash is a 1080p x264 clip encoded from the
Estimating DC Power
The following power efficiency figures were obtained for the
Seasonic SS-400ET used in our test system:
Seasonic SS-400ET Test Results
DC Output (W)
AC Input (W)
This data is enough to give us a very good estimate of DC demand in our test
system. We extrapolate the DC power output from the measured AC power input
based on this data. We won’t go through the math; it’s easy enough to figure
out for yourself if you really want to.
If available, the latest motherboard BIOS is installed prior to testing. Certain services/features
like Indexing, Superfetch, System Restore, and Windows Defender are disabled
to prevent them from causing spikes in CPU/HDD usage. We also make note if energy
saving features like Cool’n’Quiet/SpeedStep or S3 suspend-to-RAM do not function
properly. If a WiFi adapter is present, it is disabled unless the system lacks wired ethernet.
Our main test procedure is designed to determine the overall system power consumption
at various states (measured using a Seasonic Power Angel). To stress CPUs we
use either Prime95 (large FFTs setting) or CPUBurn depending on which produces higher system power consumption. To stress the IGP, we use FurMark, an OpenGL benchmarking and stability testing utility. Power consumption during playback of high definition video is also recorded.
Before we start, we present the operating voltages of our Core i5-2500K provided by some of the motherboards compared today. Higher voltages don’t necessarily equate to higher power consumption, but in many cases there is a correlation.
Note: WiFi adapter disabled during power testing.
PCs employed for personal use typically set idle or are tasked with simple operations for long stretches of time. This makes the power consumption during these situations often more critical than when the system is on load.
When idle and under light load, the P8Z77-V Pro isn’t particularly energy efficient, edging out only P67 motherboards from Gigabyte and Asus paired with a discrete graphics card. It used 3~4W more than the first Z77 board we reviewed, the Intel DZ77GA-70K.
On load, the P8Z77-V Pro becomes much more frugal, turning the tables on the DZ77GA-70K by the same margin as in the light load test. The board employs a more sophisticated power regulation system which is typically found on enthusiast class models to make power consumption more efficient in the face of high frequencies and voltages.
The difference is noticeable when we look at the amount of energy pulled from the AUX12V/EPS12V connector. On full load, 75% of the DZ77GA-70K’s system power consumption was delivered from 8-pin port compared to 66% for the P8Z77-V Pro.
The power consumption figures using an Ivy Bridge processor mirror those we got with Sandy Bridge. The P8Z77-V Pro is more efficient on load, the DZ77GA-70K at idle.
FAN Xpert 2
Currently only four motherboards in Asus’ entire lineup supports the latest version of their fan speed utility, FAN Xpert 2. This new and improved high-end feature is one of the key selling points for the P8Z77 WS, P8Z77-V Pro, P8Z77-V Deluxe, and the cheapest model, the US$200 P8Z77-V.
Overall, FAN Xpert 2 is incredibly comprehensive, with the only notable missing feature being the ability to make fans react to temperature sensors other than the CPU. This is one area where Intel is superior, or at least the DZ77GA-70K. Its four fan headers can be set to respond to any of the board’s four internal sensors (CPU, PCH, VRM, and RAM). Our favorite third party fan utility, SpeedFan, also has this ability, but it doesn’t currently work on the P8Z77-V Pro (only temperature sensors are detected, no fan speed sensors or controls are available).
To test the board’s cooling, we stress the CPU for ~15 minutes with Prime95/CPU Burn. Temperatures of the boards’ chipset and VRM heatsinks (if applicable) are recorded using a spot thermometer. The highest temperatures are taken for comparison.
As the P8Z77-V Pro has an impressively sized PCH heatsink, it was hardly shocking that the hottest temperature reading we measured was just 18°C above ambient, substantially lower than the other boards compared above. The same can’t be said for the VRM heatsinks, even with the heatspreaders on the trace side of the motherboard lending a helping hand. It’s a bit surprising considering how energy efficient the board is on load.
To test boot time we optimize the BIOS menu by setting the hard drive and other delays set to minimum, taking care not to disable common functionality like USB support, POST messages, etc. and measure the time it takes to reach the Windows loading screen (we stop here because this is the point where the O/S drive speed becomes a factor).
The P8Z77-V Pro’s boot delay was about average for an LGA1155 board, getting to the Windows loading screen in just over 14 seconds.
USB 3.0 Performance
In addition to the native support provided by the Z77 chipset, the P8Z77-V Pro has a secondary ASMedia USB 3.0 controller. They performed similarly in a large file transfer test from
a USB 3.0-connected WD VelociRaptor
600GB to an internal drive. AI Suite has a featured called "USB 3.0 Boost" that Asus claims increases USB 3.0 performance but we found it didn’t make any difference.
The Asus P8Z77-V Pro is one of the rare premium motherboards that gives us little to complain about. The feature-set is stacked, naturally, with SLI/CrossFireX support, four video outputs, eight SATA ports (eSATA via an included breakout panel), two USB 3.0 controllers with internal headers, an Atheros based wireless NIC, and an Intel powered gigabit ethernet adapter. Like Asus’ series 6 line, the UEFI options are expansive but the fan control capabilities have been vastly improved.
The presence of five independently controllable headers is great on its own, and FAN Xpert 2 adds more than just a cherry on top at the O/S level. The utility allows users to identify and name fans, scan each one to find their controllable ranges, and then adjust their speed/temperature curves accordingly. The only thing that could improve it is the ability to respond to temperatures other than the CPU. Intel’s DZ77GA-70K can do this at the UEFI level, but the interface isn’t as straightforward being text only, and controls four fans rather than five.
The only issue we had with the board was somewhat high idle power consumption, something we encountered with both Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors. The Intel DZ77GA-70K used 3~4 watts less, but Intel brand boards always seem to use less idle power than their partners’ models utilizing the same chipset. The P8Z77-V Pro makes up for this by being more efficient on load, useful if the machine it’s used in is worked hard most of the time, presumably while overclocked.
The Asus P8Z77-V Pro is also priced similarly to the Intel DZ77GA-70K, at about US$220. Of the two, the Asus board offers better value and overall appeal. Its multiple video outputs allows the use of dual/triple displays using the integrated graphics chip, its wireless adapter has an external antenna and doesn’t take up a USB header, it has an additional USB 3.0 controller, and FAN Xpert 2 is a pleasure to use. The Intel board has a few extra features like FireWire, a second gigabit ethernet port, a front-mounted USB 3.0 panel, extra temperature sensors, physical power, reset, and BIOS recovery buttons, but we imagine the tradeoff is well worth it for many users.
Our thanks to Asus for the P8Z77-V Pro motherboard sample.
It’s rare for us to bestow an award for a motherboard. In fact, it’s never been done here before. After all, just how much noise-relevance does a motherboard have? In this case, however, especially with FAN Xpert 2, it’s a natural. >
Asus P8Z77-V Pro is Recommended by SPCR
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