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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

P8Z77-I Deluxe/WD Proprietary Features

The vertical "DIGI+ VRM for ITX" board is the first thing that catches your eye. For overclocking, you need robust, multi-phase power, and ASUS' DIGI+ digital power supplies have brightened overclocker's days for some years now. There's no space for the components such a power supply needs on a mini ITX board, so ASUS went vertical, moving the extra power supply circuitry to a riser board. This board gives you a full 10-phase power supply (8 phases for the CPU cores and 2 phases for the integrated Intel HD4000 GPU), which should be enough for anyone short of the LN2 crowd. One downside of this board is that it restricts the CPU coolers you can use: in some cases the cooler will physically interfere with the board, while in other cases the board blocks access to the two closest cooler mounting points. This P8Z77-I is an idea candidate for a 120mm sealed water cooling system...of course this will depend on which case you use.

asus_p8z77i_deluxe_wd_rot2.jpg

The wonders of miniaturization allows ASUS to cram both Bluetooth 4.0 and dual-band 802.11n WiFi radios onto a mini-PCIE card. The USB 2.0 and 3.0 headers cluster around it. If you're an overclocker, you'll be glad to know that ASUS supports up to DDR3-2400 memory on this board. Of course pushing your memory beyond the speed it can handle can result in a non-booting system, but ASUS has you covered: pressing this "MemOK!" button visible at the upper right of this image will reset the memory configuration in your BIOS to a bootable state so you can get going again.

asus_p8z77i_deluxe_wd_mpci.jpg

The TPU switch is at the front edge of the board, just to the left of the 8-pin power connector. Flipping this switch enables a small automatic overclock, but you can do a lot better in the BIOS or using ASUS' own Turbo V Evo software, which is included with the board. The TPU chip also handles ASUS' USB BIOS Flashback feature, which allows you to reflash the onboard BIOS at any time, even without a GPU, processor or memory installed.

asus_p8z77i_deluxe_wd_tpu_switch.jpg

There's not much room to cram custom chips onto this board, but there's a Nuvotron voltage/monitor chip, ASUS' own TPU chip, and an ASMedia ASM 1042 USB 3.0 controller visible in this image. Just off the side of this image is an ASM 1442 video controller to support the various video outputs, and an Intel 82579V Ethernet controller.

asus_p8z77i_deluxe_wd_chips.jpg

Then there are the features that you can't easily see, like the 8-layer PCB, which (among other things) allows for optimizing the traces to the DIMM slots, or the "5K" capacitors (visible at the right of the above image), rated to run at 105 degrees Celsius. Most other mini ITX board use lower-rated 2K capacitors; ASUS claims that 5K caps will provide better life and reliability in the typically tighter, hotter environment of a mini ITX case.

Let's check out the UEFI BIOS 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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