|ASUS P8Z68V PRO Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Tuesday, 10 May 2011|
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Closer Look: ASUS P8Z68
The box for the P8Z68 lacks the Velcro-secured flap and transparent motherboard viewing window of ASUS' "Extreme" motherboards, but does try to highlight the features of the board. Although a "Virtu" logo is on the front of the box (obscured by the motherboard in this image), what Virtu is isn't explained anywhere. Since this is one of the most important features of the board, I think it should be called out in more detail.
The accessories bundled are two sets of SATA cables (one with locking connectors), an SLI bridge, a rear-panel connector for the native USB 3.0 header on the board, an I/O shield, and a manual. This pre-production review board didn't come with a CD, although the production versions obviously will.
The ASUS P8Z68-V Pro board's appearance and layout are almost identical to the P8P67 EVO board, but that's not a bad thing. Good component layout, attractive colors, and interesting blue-anodized aluminum heat sinks give the board some visual flair. One interesting feature I haven't seen before is dual CPU fan headers, each PWM enabled, which will be handy for handling dual-fan heatsinks without having to resort to a Y-cable. While the board lacks Extreme-level features like voltage measuring points, it does offer on-board power and reset switches, as well as switches to enable or disable the TPU and EPU functions, as well as ASUS' ubiquitous "MemOK!" button.
The slot layout of the P8Z68 is identical to that of the P8P67 EVO: three PCI-E x16 slots, two PCI-E x1 slots, and two "plain" PCI slots. The spacing of the first two PCI-E x16 slots allows some breathing room between two double-slot graphics cards. A double-slot card in the last slot will occlude the on-board power and reset switches as well as most of the USB ports.
The rear ports, from the left, are four USB 2.0; the integrated BlueTooth module, two more USB 2.0 ports, and an ESATA port; an optical audio out and HDMI port; VGA and DVI outputs; gigabit Ethernet and two USB 3.0 ports, and last the analog audio panel. The FireWire (IEEE 1394) port of the P8P67 and P8P67 Evo has vanished, but few will miss it, and there are two FireWire headers on the board should your case support FireWire. ASUS has done away with legacy PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports on its newer boards, and I for one don't miss them.
I'll continue looking at this board in the next section.