Our mainboard reviews often cover flagship or special models that stand out among the rest, and there’s a good reason for that. The manufacturers are willing to provide such products for us to test as they can exhibit the entire range of cutting-edge technologies available from the particular brand. Reviews of functionally rich mainboards are interesting to read and, frankly speaking, interesting to write too, but we must admit that products of this kind are no bestsellers. We don't even mean their high price because you can usually afford to spend a larger-than-average sum of money to make sure you've got a mainboard that'll serve you well for the next several years. The problem is that very few users can really utilize all of the features offered by flagship models. For most of us, their capabilities are redundant. And it just doesn't make sense to pay more for what you are not going to use anyway. So, after reading a lot of publications about super-mainboards, the prospective buyer is left confused since he doesn't know much about the regular products that suit him much better.
It doesn’t mean we totally ignore simple and relatively inexpensive mainboards. For example, the latest LGA1155 product we’ve reviewed is ASRock Z77 Extreme3. We’ve also tested such mainboards as ASUS P8Z77-V LX, Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H and Intel DZ77BH-55K. Still, we guess we should improve in this respect, so our today’s review is going to add one more junior model to this list.
ASUS mainboards enjoy high popularity among end-users thanks to their high quality, rich functionality and good technical support. It is easy to recognize entry-level products in the manufacturer’s line-up. They all have the letter L in their model name, which probably stands for “Lite”. The above-mentioned ASUS P8Z77-V LX is the basic model, its LX suffix fleshing out as eXtreme Lite, obviously. It only has one full-featured graphics slot and lacks any additional controllers. Compared to it, the ASUS P8Z77-V LE (does it mean Lite Edition, we wonder?) features additional USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gbit/s controllers. The P8Z77-V LK (LK = Kind of Lite, maybe?) can share the CPU’s PCIe 3.0/2.0 lanes between two graphics slots but only has one extra controller (for USB 3.0). And the most advanced of the entry-level products is the ASUS P8Z77-V LE PLUS which can share the PCIe lanes between graphics slots and features both USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gbit/s controllers.
Yes, the nomenclature of ASUS mainboards is rather vague. It’s hard to definitely say which model is more advanced than another basing on their names only. Hopefully, it will become clearer in the future. Browsing through P8Z77-V series mainboards, we found a model with the unexpectedly simple name of ASUS Z77-A, which is overall similar to the ASUS P8Z77- LX in its capabilities. So it is possible that we will soon see clear and comprehensible names such as Z87-A, Z87-B, Z87-C or Z87-A, Z87-A2 and Z87-A, etc.
As for today, we are going to review a very ordinary mainboard which is called ASUS P8Z77-V LK.