ASUS P8Z77-V Pro LGA 1155 Motherboard Review

The P8Z77-V Pro is a perfect example of how powerful the ASUS P8xxx series is and what it has to offer. While many would consider it a stripped down model, it is anything but. While not as feature rich as some in the series, the P8Z77-V Pro does have a lot to offer, especially given its price point.

Introduction

ASUS is one of the world's largest motherboard manufacturers. While it has diversified over the years into laptops, monitors, graphics cards, and other things, motherboards have always been the forefront of its business. Its reputation is generally solid and well deserved. And while the highest end motherboards are usually the most drool-worthy, and gain the most attention and fanfare, it is the P8xxx series which is the bread and butter of its motherboard lineup. These workhorses range from fairly stripped down to feature packed solutions and even branch out into niche markets with mini-ITX offerings and the like.

The P8Z77-V Pro is a perfect example of the P8xxx series and what it has to offer. While many would consider it a stripped down model, it is anything but. While not as feature rich as some in the series, the P8Z77-V Pro does have a lot to offer, especially given its price point. ASUS is often the go-to motherboard manufacturer for many enthusiasts and with good reason. They tend to offer solid overclocking and a fantastic user experience out of the box. I'm constantly amazed by their consistency in regard to that. I've rarely ever had issues with their driver installation software or utilities. Many other manufacturers offer great hardware, but the software leaves a lot to be desired.

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The ASUS P8Z77-V Pro is based on Intel's Z77 Express chipset and due to that, it supports the features offered by that chipset. 32GB of DDR3 RAM, PCIe 3.0, 2.0, SATA 3Gb/s, SATA 6Gb/s, RAID 0, 1, 5, 10, Intel's Rapid Storage Technology, Smart Response Technology, Rapid Start Technology and more. The P8Z77-V Pro is also certified by both AMD and NVIDIA for multiGPU solutions like Quad-SLI and Quad-GPU CrossfireX. It is also certified for 3-Way CrossfireX technology, but not 3-Way or 4-Way SLI. So people looking for that might want to look at the higher end P8Z77-WS or P8Z77-V Premium.

Like all ASUS motherboards today, the P8Z77-V Pro supports UEFI, ASUS' MemOK feature, Smart DIGI+ Power control, BIOS Flashback, USB Boost, and more. The P8Z77-V Pro uses a 16 phase power design (12 CPU, 4 iGPU) plus a dual phase configuration for the DIMM slots. And like every other board in the current P8xxx line, the P8Z77-V Pro is built with Intel's VRD12.5 specifications. This is a forward thinking move which not only maximizes the power savings capabilities of the board, but also allows compatibility for CPUs down the line which will be built to this specification. This particular example of the P8Z77-V Pro is actually the WiFi version.

Main Specifications Overview:

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Detailed Specifications Overview:

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Packaging

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The board ships in the usual P8xxx packaging. Though some boards have fancier flaps which open and tell you more about the board. The P8Z77-V Pro isn't that high up in the lineup and as a result doesn't have that. It does ship with the usual items though. User guide, driver disc, Q-connectors, SLI bridge, I/O shield, SATA cables, USB 3.0 expansion slot bracket, and a Wi-Fi GO! adapter with antenna.

Board Layout

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When it comes to the motherboard layout, ASUS has few excuses they could ever use with me. They've got tons of models (probably more than any other company) and obvious design expertise. So when things go wrong with a board's layout, I tend to grill them harshly. Fortunately, the P8Z77-V Pro gets a pass here. Other than having too many legacy PCI slots and not being a fan of the two fan headers right in front of the front panel USB 3.0 plug. That being said I don't see any reason why this wouldn't work, or cause major issues, but I'd prefer one of these headers to be somewhere else. It is a minor issue in the grand scheme of things.

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The CPU socket suffers from the same problem all Z77 and X79 boards suffer from and that's having the DIMM slots too close to the CPU. Though this is becoming less of a problem with so many people transitioning to self-contain water cooling unit's like Corsair's H60 and H100. Low profile DIMMs also exist so even those of you who choose to use larger air coolers do have some options.

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As expected ASUS chose their standard single sided retention setup for their DIMM slots and their normal color coding scheme for this product line. The color coding indicates proper dual-channel memory mode operation and the P8Z77-V Pro supports up to 32GB of RAM using 4x 8 gigabyte DIMMs. Module clock speeds up to DDR3 2600MHz are supported through overclocking.

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The Z77 Express chipset is located directly in front of the expansion slot area between the two PCIe x16 slots. It's also directly in front of the boards onboard SATA ports. The Z77 Express chipset isn't all that demanding heat wise and is cooled with a flat, passive heat sink.

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The expansion slot area is well thought out. I'm not sure why anyone would need more than one legacy PCI slot at most, but at least this setup doesn't come at the cost of too many PCIe slots.

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The I/O panel is packed on this one. 4 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 legacy PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports, 1 optical output, RJ-45 LAN, 6 mini-stereo jacks and of course all your various display options. These include D-Sub (VGA), HDMI, displayport, and DVI-D. I'd like to have seen more USB here, but 6 ports are probably more than most people typically use.