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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 UEFI: AI Tweaker

The most interesting section in the Advanced Mode of the P8Z77-I UEFI BIOS is the AI Tweaker. It's similar to what we've seen in previous ASUS motherboards, and its presence here reinforces the fact that ASUS sees this as an enthusiast level board rather than something to simply be stuffed into an HTPC box and forgotten about. AI Tweaker offers very detailed control of clock speeds, timings, and voltages. This is the screen most overclockers will start with. Here you can control the turbo ratio, which is the main overclocking mechanism for Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors. You can select different ratios depending on the number of cores in use, or force all cores to run at the same ratio. ASUS Multicore Enhancement will, when enabled, force all cores to run at the maximum boost speed under load, rather than ramping up more gradually.

uefi_bios_ai_tweaker2.jpg

Of course, simply cranking clock speeds and voltages won't guarantee a stable overclock, so ASUS gives you the ability to adjust a number of power supply parameters. Scrolling down the settings in the main AI Tweaker screen, we come to the power controls. This is where some of the real magic occurs, especially in the CPU Power Management and DIGI+ VRM sections.

uefi_bios_ai_tweaker.jpg

Generally speaking, cranking these settings up trades off power efficiency for performance. Some settings, like CPU Current Capability, really let you push the boundaries of what's safe. It's fairly hard to smoke a modern CPU just with overclocking, as built-in thermal limits will drop (throttle) the clock speed or even shut down the CPU entirely if necessary. But pushing the current capability, while it doesn't change anything in and of itself, disables some of the protections Intel builds into its CPUs and lets you run more power through it than you'd normally be able to do, so tread carefully.

uefi_bios_ai_tweaker3.jpg

Serious overclockers will want to adjust memory timings as well, and ASUS gives you more ways to do this than most of us will ever use, or even understand.

uefi_bios_ram_timing.jpg

This is only a sample of the screens and capabilities built into this BIOS; there's a lot more than what you see here. Having all these capabilities in the BIOS is especially useful if you're using a non-Windows OS like Linux or Mac OS X since changes here apply regardless of the OS you're using. However, if you are using Windows, there's even more control available through ASUS' suite of utility software, which I'll cover 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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