|ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe Motherboard Components|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Monday, 23 April 2012|
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Closer Look: ASUS Z77 Motherboard
ASUS provides a number of accessories with the P8Z77-V Deluxe motherboard: along with the usual manual, driver disk, I/O port back plate, and latching SATA cables, there's an SLI connector, a package of "Q connectors" (which enable you to quickly attach and remove a bunch of wires to a single connector, such as the front panel header connector), two antennas (for WiFi and Bluetooth), and barely visible at the bottom right of this image, the WiFi Go! module, which supplied the WiFi and Bluetooth radios.
The WiFi Go! module is a separate item that plugs into a special connector on the back of the motherboard and is secured with a screw. Two antenna connectors are provided for the Bluetooth and WiFi antennas. ASUS' WiFi implementation fully supports 802.11n in hardware, including 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, and their provided software supplies DLNA streaming, remote control of the computer, Internet sharing including guest networks, and data transfer with iOS and Android devices.
The P8Z77-V Deluxe follows the layout we've seen with previous ASUS mainstream motherboards. Joining a growing number of other vendors, ASUS has eliminated PCI slots, providing three PCI-E X16 slots and four PCI-E x1 slots. Unlike most LGA1155 boards, this motherboard supports triple CrossfireX and quad SLI. How does it manage that given the dearth of PCI-E lanes in a typical LGA1155 system? We'll get to that in a moment...
The CPU socket area is bounded by "abstract cityscape" anodized aluminum heat sinks for the voltage regulator modules. ASUS has a 16-phase power supply for the CPU, four-phase power for the integrated GPU in Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors, and two-phase power for the memory. ASUS has led the industry in advanced power systems, and it's all part of the company's eighth-generation digital power supply, which they call "Smart Digi+". Digi+ provides very fine-grained control of the power circuitry on the motherboard for those who like to dive into the details; it's also used by ASUS' own EPU power-saving feature and TPU and Turbo V Evo overclocking features.
You'll notice ASUS appears to be using normal electrolytic capacitors as opposed to the flat tantalum capacitors some other vendors use. These are actually FPCAPs, or "functional polymer capacitors." These capacitors use a conductive polymer as the electrolytic instead of a fluid. This provides a significant advantage in specs like the capacitor's ability to handle ripple currents, leakage, and ESR (equivalent series resistance), as well as enabling stable performance over a wide temperature range. ASUS claims these capacitors provide overall performance superior to standard polymer or tantalum capacitors.
ASUS lights the underside of the Z77 Express chipset heat sink with blue LEDs for a little bling. At the bottom of this image you can see the POST code display reading "A0", which means that the board has successfully completed all parts of its power-on self test. In addition to the POST code display, ASUS provides separate "QLEDs" for the CPU, DRAM, VGA card, and boot device. Thes QLEDs light up in sequence as the motherboard POSTs; if an LED stays on, there's a problem with that component. Just look for the red glow.
Let's take a closer look at this board in the next section.