Articles: Mainboards
 

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Design and Functionality

The ASUS P8Z77-V LE PLUS has a standard form-factor measuring 305x244 mm. Its PCB layout is close to classic examples, which makes it user-friendly. This model is actually similar to the P8Z77-V LK and P8Z77-V we reviewed earlier, yet we can spot a number of discrepancies on closer inspection.

Like its senior cousin, this mainboard features a digital power system SMART DIGI+ which works together with the Dual Intelligent Processors 3 technology (TurboV Processing Unit and Energy Processing Unit). It includes six power phases for the CPU and two more for the CPU-integrated graphics core. This is in between the senior and junior models which have 8+4 and 4+1 power phases, respectively. Some of its hot components are covered with a heatsink on spring-loaded latches. The chipset heatsink is fastened more securely with screws. The temperature of the mainboard’s components wasn’t very high even at high loads and overclocked settings, though.

Like the rest of ASUS mainboards, this model can take in up to 32 GB of DDR3 SDRAM. It supports memory frequencies from 800 to 3200 MHz with Ivy Bridge CPUs. Interestingly, the three ASUS mainboards all have the same selection and layout of expansion slots.

 

The mainboard can share 16 PCI Express 3.0/2.0 lanes between the blue and gray graphics slots as x8/x8, so you can build a SLI or CrossFireX configuration with it. For a CrossFireX subsystem, the black-colored slot can be used as well. It works in PCIe 2.0 x4 mode but disables the two PCIe 2.0 x1 slots. Besides that, there are two PCI slots for expansion cards. Like its senior cousin, this mainboard has enhanced disk connectivity. The four SATA 3 Gbit/s (blue) and two SATA 6 Gbit/s (gray) ports provided by the chipset are complemented with one SATA 6 Gbit/s (dark-blue) and one back-panel eSATA 6 Gbit/s port based on an additional Marvell 88SE91xx series controller.

Here is a list of the back-panel connectors:

  • Universal PS/2 connector for keyboard or mouse;
  • Two USB 2.0 ports, another eight ports are laid out as four onboard pin-connectors;
  • D-Sub, DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort video outs;
  • eSATA 6 Gbit/s port implemented via Marvell 88SE91xx controller. Another internal SATA 6 Gbit/s port supported by the same controllers is located in the lower right corner of the board;
  • Four USB 3.0 ports (blue connectors), two of which are implemented via ASMedia ASM1042 controller. Another two ports and one more internal pin-connector for two additional USB 3.0 ports are provided by Intel Z77 Express chipset;
  • A local network port (network adapter is built on Gigabit Realtek RTL8111F controller);
  • An optical S/PDIF and six analogue audio-jacks provided by eight-channel Realtek ALC889 codec.

Like many other ASUS mainboards, this model has broad and handy Q-Slot latches on its graphics slots but the memory slots has ordinary latches. It lacks Power, Reset and Clear CMOS buttons, but has a USB BIOS Flashback button (which enables the namesake BIOS update feature) and a MemOK! button (which allows the mainboard to start up successfully in case of problems with system memory).

The TPU (TurboV Processing Unit) switch can be used to overclock the CPU automatically while the EPU (Energy Processing Unit) switch enables power-saving modes. The diagnostic DRAM LED is complemented with Standby Power, BIOS Flashback, EPU and TPU indicators.

The mainboard offers four fan connectors, all of which are of the 4-pin variety. The CPU fan connector can only regulate 4-pin fans whereas the other connectors can lower the speed of both 4-pin and 3-pin fans.

For your convenience all technical specifications are summed up in the following table:

 

 
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