|ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe/WD mini-ITX Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Wednesday, 14 November 2012|
Page 7 of 13
Bundled Software Continued
The Digi+ VRM panel allows very detailed control of ASUS' advanced digital power regulation circuitry. Settings here are critical for serious overclockers, and some time spent with these settings can make the difference between a flakey system that can't make it through a benchmark run and a stable system that runs under full load all day.
Fan Expert is the same software ASUS has been propagating across its motherboard line of late. The latest version can automatically determine the RPM range of your fans and slave the fan response to temperature sensors using either predefined or user defined profiles. It pretty much obsoletes separate fan controllers, but since the P8Z77-I Deluxe/WD is limited to two fan headers (one of which is for the CPU), high performance builds may have more fans than you can connect here.
There's also USB 3.0 Boost, which is actually two strategies for dramatically increasing the speed of USB 3.0 transfers. The first is UASP, or USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP must be supported by the controller in the attached device). The fallback is ASUS' optimized bulk-only transfer, which can provide a dramatic increase in USB 3.0 read speeds. In the screen shot below, notice that UASP is not offered as an option since the attached device-- a SanDisk Cruzer USB key-- does not support it.
Benchmark Reviews has previously tested the performance improvements provided by these enhanced USB 3.0 protocols here.
Sensory Recorder can monitor voltage, temperature, and fan speeds in real time, and graph the results. This is very handy for overclockers who want to keep tabs on system stability. However, on my review sample, the CPU temperature under load was over 50 degrees Celsius cooler than the temperature reported by other utilities such as AIDA64 and Core Temp. In this particular example, taken a minute or so after starting a stress test, the ASUS utility reports the CPU temperature as 41 degrees, while other utilities reported mid-to-high 90s. Since all the utilities merely report the temperature returned by the CPU's internal sensors, I'm not sure what to make of this. I've asked ASUS about it and will update this part of the review when they get back to me. Update: ASUS says that their Probe software is reporting the temperature of a thermistor in the center of the CPU socket, rather than reading the temperature reported by the CPU itself. ASUS says this is "one of the most accurate reporting methods" of measuring the CPU temperature with the obvious limitation of needing more time for the temperature reading to increase under high CPU loads.
In the meantime, let's start with the actual testing in the next section.