|ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe Features Overview|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Monday, 30 April 2012|
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The extra features of the ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe motherboard depend to a large extent on extra components-- ASICs, third-party controllers, and other hardware on the motherboard. The image below shows some (not all!) of the extra chips ASUS adds. Starting at the top left, we have the custom chips ASUS provides for their power control including the power-saving EPU and performance-enhancing TPU chips, that work with the BIOS and the Windows-based Turbo V Evo utility. In the next row is a Nuvoton sensor controller, the very nice PLX PEX8608 chip which provides an extra eight lanes of PCI-E 2.0 goodness, and Realtek ALC898 sound chip, and last the Intel 82579 and Realtek 8111F chips, both of which are gigabit Ethernet controllers.
Intel's Z77 Express chipset gives users integrated Superspeed USB 3.0 for the first time, with four integrated ports that don't require PCI-E lanes. But ASUS adds two more ASMedia USB 3.0 controllers to give this board a total of eight USB 3.0 ports.
The WiFi Go! module is a separate item that plugs into a dedicated slot on the motherboard. The two black things you see poking out to the right are connectors for the WiFi and Bluetooth antennas. As you can see from the specs on the side of the unit, it doesn't matter what WiFi or Bluetooth networks or devices you have, this pretty much supports them all.
A Marvell 9128 SATA6G controller chip provides two extra SATA6 ports, for a total of four when combined with the two supplied by the Z77 Express chipset. These ports can be used for regular storage, but their primary function is to implement ASUS' SSD caching feature, courtesy of Marvell's HyperDuo firmware. Unlike Intel's "Smart Response Technology" (which this board also has and you can use if you wish), you don't have to set your SATA controllers to RAID mode and configure a pseudo-RAID with your hard disk and its cache SSD, nor are you limited to a 64G cache: just connect your primary hard disk and an SSD of any size you want to these two ports, enable Caching Now! in the Turbo V Evo program, and you're good to go. You can turn caching on or off at any time, which is really handy if you want to do something like upgrade to a larger SSD.
Thankfully, ASUS has gone to all PCI-E slots with the P8Z77-V Deluxe. The slot layout is identical to that of the MSI Z77A-GD65 motherboard Benchmark Reviews looked at recently. However, ASUS' setup is more useful since you can actually run a graphics card in the third (darker grey) slot for triple-card SLI or CrossFireX, thanks to the PLX chip. Stiil, the PLX chip's main function is not so much to provide the capability to run a third video card as to assure that there are enough PCI-E lanes to support all the board's ports and devices. Many enthusiasts don't realize that the limited number of PCI-E lanes inherent in LGA1155 systems sometimes means that you can't use all of a board's features at once: with lanes required for extra USB and SATA ports as well as other devices, users are surprised to find out that plugging a device into one port might disable another one. This won't happen on the Deluxe.
I'll start looking at ASUS' unique features in the next section.