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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 UEFI

The P8Z77-I Deluxe/WD comes with the latest version of ASUS' UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) BIOS. UEFI has freed motherboard vendors to provide much more graphically rich and capable BIOSes, and ASUS' is one of the better ones out there. The BIOS defaults to "EZ Mode", which gathers most of the important items you'd want to see or alter in a single interface as shown below.

uefi_bios_main.jpg

Most Benchmark Reviews readers, of course, will want to switch to "Advanced Mode" (and you can configure this as the default if you wish). In Advanced Mode, you click on one of a series of tabs across the top of the screen to select the area you're interested in. This shot shows the Onboard Devices Configuration screen.

uefi_bios_advanced.jpg

The SATA Configuration subscreen is where you'd set IDE or AHCI mode, enable or disable S.M.A.R.T., and turn on hot pluggability. You can also see which devices are plugged into which SATA port.

uefi_bios_sata.jpg

You kids these days, you don't know how good you've got it. When I was your age, you had to create and boot from a specially configured floppy to update your BIOS, and if you screwed it up, you turned your motherboard into an expensive place mat. Now it's easily done from a USB key inside the BIOS as shown below, and even if you totally screw it up, ASUS' USB BIOS Flashback feature can flash a good BIOS onto a munged BIOS chip even if the motherboard has no processor or memory installed. By the way, you can see in this shot that ASUS has switched to using the ".CAP" format for their BIOS updates. According to ASUS, this is a more advanced and secure format that allows some optimizations (such as choosing not to initialize onboard controllers as opposed to disabling them) that can improve POST and boot times.

uefi_bios_flash_util.jpg

The Monitor tab collects voltage and temperature information on the components of your system. This is also where you can set the way the fans work, although with only two fan headers on the motherboard, there's not a lot going on here. Just turn on Q-Fan control and be done with it. You can make more detailed fan settings using AI Suite II from within Windows.

uefi_bios_monitor2.jpg

There are quite a few sections in this BIOS-- modern UEFI systems allow for much more than was possible with the old BIOS system-- but a quick press of F3 invokes a popup you can use to jump directly to a specific place:

uefi_bios_shortcut.jpg

ASUS philosophy is to give you every setting in the UEFI, but more elaborate control from within their Windows utilities. It's good to have this stuff in the UEFI since changes made here will work with any OS. For example, take the EPU setting shown below. This applies simple undervolts to the CPU when possible, reducing power without affecting performance. However, this is distinct from the EPU settings in AI Suite in Windows, which offers more options.

uefi_bios_epu.jpg

Let's take a look at the AI Tweaker part of 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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