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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

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.

digi+vrm.jpg

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.

fan_expert.jpg

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.

usb_boost.jpg

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.

sensor_recorder.jpg

In the meantime, let's start with the actual testing 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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