|ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe Motherboard Components|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Monday, 23 April 2012|
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P8Z77-V Deluxe Components
Starting at the left, the back panel I/O comprises four USB 2.0 ports, the WiFi Go! module, two USB 3.0 ports atop two eSATA ports, an optical audio port above HDMI and DisplayPort connectors, two Ethernet/USB 3.0 panels divided by a "BIOS Flashback" button, and a standard analog audio port. Combined with the internal USB 3.0 header, the USB 3.0 headers on the back provide a full eight USB 3.0 ports! Four are provided courtesy of the Z77 Express chipset, and a pair of ASMedia ASM1042 chips provide two more each. This is the most USB 3.0 ports I've ever seen on a motherboard and it's really nice to have them.
As a high-end ASUS motherboard, the P8Z77-V Deluxe comes stuffed with third party and custom chips, some of which I've collected in the collage below. In the top row below are custom ASUS ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits) that control the motherboard's power subsystems and automatic overclocking. In the second row, the Nuvoton NCT67790 is probably a sensor/controller chip for fan control and thermal sensors, the Realtek ALC898 provides sound capabilities, and the Intel 82579 and Realtek RTL8111F chip each handle one of the board's two Ethernet ports.
You might have noticed I've left the center chip for last. This is because it's one of the most interesting: a PLX Technology PEX8608. This is an 8-lane, 8-port PCI-E Gen 2 switch that ASUS uses to supply more PCI-E lanes to support the third PCI-E x16 slot in case you want to run three graphics cards, as well as the extra USB 3.0 and SATA 6G ports this board sports. It's not an inexpensive part and it complicates board layout, so you'll only see this in the top-end boards.
At the lower left edge of the board, we see the SPDIF out connector just above the front panel audio connector. Continuing to the right brings us to the EPU switch, which activates ASUS' power-saving feature: it will lightly undervolt the CPU (not affecting the clock speed) for a power savings of 3-10 watts. Following it are the on-board power and reset switches, and a mysterious "TB_HEADER" that's not mentioned in the manual (psst: it's for a future Thunderbolt add-in board). The clear CMOS button, helpfully molded in bright red plastic, is next, followed by an internal USB 2.0 header.
Continuing along the edge of the board brings us to the next USB 2.0 header, a fan header, a POST code readout, and the front panel header. Speaking of fan headers, the P8Z77-V Deluxe has seven of them, and they're all four-pin PWM enabled headers.
By the main ATX power connector are another fan header and the TPU switch, which activates the automatic overclocking feature. This provides a quick, predefined overclock that will take a 3770K CPU to about 4.2GHz. Just above the TPU switch is the Mem OK! button, which forces the board to use default memory timings should you render your board unbootable with an overly aggressive memory overclock or voltage setting.
The two rightmost SATA ports (in dark blue) implement ASUS' SSD Caching feature (although you can use them for standard SATA devices as well) and are connected to a separate Marvell SATA 6G controller. The two white ports to the left are the Intel SATA 6G ports, and the remaining four ports are the Intel SATA 3G ports. Just to the right of the SATA ports is the internal USB 3.0 header.
The two ASMedia USB 3.0 controllers are just behind the first three PCI-E slots.
In the next section I'll list the features of this motherboard. There are a lot of them!