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ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe/WD mini-ITX Motherboard E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards
Written by David Ramsey   
Wednesday, 14 November 2012
Table of Contents: Page Index
ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe/WD mini-ITX Motherboard
Closer Look: P8Z77-I Deluxe/WD
P8Z77-I Deluxe/WD Proprietary Features
P8Z88-I Deluxe/WD UEFI
P8Z77-I UEFI: AI Tweaker
Mini ITX Bundled Software
Bundled Software Continued
Motherboard Testing Methodology
AIDA64 Benchmarks
SPECviewperf 11 Tests
Power Efficiency Tests
Mini ITX Overclocking
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Mini ITX Overclocking

ASUS does not specifically market this motherboard to overclockers, but it's hard to see why else they'd have such elaborate power circuitry on it. And like many ASUS motherboards, there are a variety of overclocking mechanisms available: you can flip the TPU switch on the motherboard; choose manual or automatic overclocking directly in the BIOS, or choose manual or automatic on-the-fly overclocking inside Windows using TurboV Evo.

This last method is both convenient (you don't have to reboot) and easier to do than BIOS overclocking. Normally, I prefer to overclock manually, but I've used this Core i7-3770K on several motherboards now, and I know that with the air coolers I have available, it's maxed out at 4.7GHz on all cores, running just at the hairy edge of throttling under extended load.

So I decided to see what TurboV Evo could do on its own. I fired up the utility and clicked the "Extreme" button. TurboV Evo works by increasing clocks and voltages in steps, running a short stress test, then bumping the settings up again. It continues this cycle until the system freezes or crashes, and upon the next reboot restores the last good settings.

I have always though that I could do better than any automated overclocker, so I set it to work and did other stuff until the system crashed. Imagine my surprise when after a reboot I saw this:

overclock.png

That's right: 4.842GHz at 1.3V, achieved with a base clock of 103MHz and a multiplier of 47. Pretty impressive! There's just one problem: it turns out that my previous assumed maximum of 4.7GHz was in fact correct for this CPU, since stress tests at these settings revealed some significant throttling, with CPU temperature spiking to over 100 degrees Celsius, causing clocks to drop by several hundred MHz until the CPU could cool down.

A second overclocking run with the "Fast" button (rather than "Extreme") resulted in a more modest result with the same base clock of 103MHz and a multiplier of 41, for 4.223GHz. CPU temps and throttling were not a problem with these settings. TurboV Evo adjusts memory settings up from the SPD defaults (generally 1333 or 1600MHz), rather than from the XMP profile, so my 2133MHz memory was clocked at 1923MHz. This is indeed a nice step up from 1600MHz but if you have high performance memory with an XMP profile, you'll need to enable that manually; but be aware that since TurboV Evo may also raise the bus clock (as it did in this case), you'll be running your memory beyond spec, too.

In both cases TurboV Evo set the memory frequency down slightly from the XMP spec of 2133MHz to 1923MHz. ASUS explained that TurboV Evo starts working up from the SPD settings (the memory's default) rather than using the XMP settings if they exist.

So while the "Extreme" setting produces impressive results, you should check to make sure that it's not pushing things just a little too far. Still, look at the benchmark results: the CPU may have been throttling some, but the scores are still much better than those produced by the "Fast" overclock.

I'll give my final thoughts and conclusion on this motherboard in the next section.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe/WD mini-ITX Motherboardkzinti1 2012-12-26 00:34
WOW! What a nice little board!
I'd like to build one of these just like yours, except for using a spare GTX 690.
Any idea what case to use to house this system? I've never even seen these small boards in person so I have no idea where to start in choosing a case. I guess I could just use a test stand, but it's dusty here at the beach and I really need an enclosure that can handle the Super-Mega cpu cooler. Probably be best to go with an external water system but they're not very portable.
Very good review. It's really got me jazzed!
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# RE: RE: ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe/WD mini-ITX Motherboardwhynotv2 2012-12-26 06:31
Thermaltake and CoolerMaster both make Mini-ITX cases. Not sure if they have one that will allow the use of a large cpu cooler however.
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# RE: RE: ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe/WD mini-ITX MotherboardDavid Ramsey 2012-12-26 08:49
I've reviewed three cases recently that would be a good fit for this board: the Cooler Master 120, and the SilverStone SUGO SG09 and SG08. Check 'em out in our Cases section.
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# Asus p8z77-i DeluxeDavo 2012-12-26 18:54
Will also work fine in Silverstone FT03. I plan to use this mobo, 3570K and an H80i as the basis for my living room Home theatre/Gaming rig.
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# RE: ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe/WD mini-ITX Motherboardkzinti1 2012-12-26 19:21
Thaks for the recommendations everybody. I'd be using it as a tiny overclocking rig.
My computer room looks like a small graveyard full of black obelisks.
This is the 21st century, there's really no need for these giant OC & gaming rigs any longer. Not if these tiny mobo's are as good as reported.
I just hope Intel gets nowhere, fast, with their new mobo's with the soldered on cpu's.
They could end up being the death of overclocking just to save some electricity.
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# Very, very nice reviewDave 2013-03-19 07:53
I was trolling the web for a review of this board and I can honestly say that this is one of the best, most comprehensive component reviews I've ever read. Very, very nice work here sir. I think the only thing you failed to cover is the onboard audio. I'd like to have seen something on that with regard to quality (especially versus a pci-E card), but great work nonetheless. Thanks for sharing this information.
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# RE: ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe/WD mini-ITX MotherboardDavid Ramsey 2013-03-19 08:29
The onboard sound is handled by the ubiquitous Realtek ALC-898 chip. Onboard sound has gotten good enough for all but the audiophiles these days; still, someone using this board to build an HTPC might want to put a sound card in the single slot. Myself, I put in a video card.
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