Articles: Mainboards

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Design and Functionality

The ASUS P8Z77-V can please with eye with its classic design. There’s nothing extraordinary about it, yet we can find a number of divergences from the top-end ASUS solutions like the P8Z77-V Premium or P8Z77-V Deluxe as well as from the entry-level P8Z77-V LK and P8Z77-V LX.

Compared to the less advanced models, the power system is reinforced, incorporating eight CPU power phases. There are four more phases for the CPU-integrated graphics core and two phases for system memory. The hottest components are cooled with heatsinks which are securely fastened with screws. This SMART Digi+ voltage regulator works together with Dual Intelligent Processors 3: TurboV Processing Unit and Energy Processing Unit. As a result, there is a large number of setup options in the BIOS’s Digi+ Power Control page.

The mainboard’s disk subsystem capabilities are enhanced, too. Besides the chipset’s four SATA 3 Gbit/s (blue connectors) and two SATA 6 Gbit/s (gray connectors) ports, an additional ASMedia ASM1061 controller is responsible for two more SATA 6 Gbit/s ports (dark-blue). The two PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 slots support multi-GPU configurations based on AMD CrossFireX and Nvidia SLI technologies, sharing 16 CPU-integrated PCIe lanes. The black-colored PCIe 2.0 x16 slot can be used for a graphics card, too, but at x4 speed. There are also two PCIe 2.0 x1 and two PCI slots for expansion cards.

As opposed to its more advanced cousins, the ASUS P8Z77-V has no additional PCIe switches, so there are certain limitations concerning its PCIe lanes. For example, the additional ASMedia ASM1061 controller is attached to the same PCIe lane as the second PCI Express 2.0 x1 slot, so you can use either one or another, but not both of them simultaneously. That’s not a big problem, though, because a discrete graphics card is going to block the second PCIe 2.0 x1 slot with its cooler anyway. The third PCIe 2.0 x16 slot (black) can work at x4 speed but defaults to x1 because it shares its PCIe lanes with the PCIe 2.0 x1 slots and the additional ASMedia ASM1061 controller. You should be aware of these restrictions if you’re going to build a multi-GPU configuration.

The ASUS P8Z77-V is shipped with a Wi-Fi GO! module which is not available at all with entry-level models. Top-end ASUS mainboards come with a different version of it, which supports 2.4 and 5GHz frequency bands at speeds up to 300 Mbps and additionally provides Bluetooth. The Wi-Fi GO! module of the P8Z77-V only works at 2.4 GHz and supports data-transfer rates up to 150 Mbps using Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n. It’s easy to tell the two versions of the wireless module apart: the more advanced module has two external antennas while the other, only one.

The following connectors are available on the mainboard’s back panel:

  • Universal PS/2 connector for keyboard and mouse;
  • 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;
  • Two USB 2.0 ports, another eight ports are laid out as four onboard pin-connectors;
  • Wi-Fi GO! Module;
  • D-Sub, DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort video outs;
  • A local network port (network adapters are built on Gigabit Intel 82579V controller);
  • An optical S/PDIF and six analogue audio-jacks provided by eight-channel Realtek ALC892 codec.

Like many other ASUS mainboards, this model has broad and handy Q-Slot latches on its graphics slots and single-sided Q-DIMM larches on the memory slots. As opposed to the more advanced models, 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 mainboard doesn’t offer a POST indicator, but the Q-LED indicators (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device) can help you quickly understand at what stage the startup process has been halted.

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 mainboard offers five fan connectors, all of which are of the 4-pin variety. Two of them are meant for CPU fans and can only regulate 4-pin fans. The system fan connectors can lower the speed of both 4-pin and 3-pin fans.

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

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