I’ve been working with Z77 for a while, and most manufacturers offerings around similar price points offer the same features for a comparable cost. So which board do you choose? Often it comes down to “what else are they going to do for me?”
The ASUS P8Z77-V PRO offers everything you can expect from a board at this price point; multiple PCI-E 3.0 slots with support for SLI and CrossFire, additional SATA III ports, good overclocking potential, the list goes on.
What’s different about the ASUS board compared to the others? Firstly, ASUS’ UEFI BIOS is absolutely fantastic. Not only does it offer an incredible amount of tweakability. but it also does it in a clean and visually appealing manner. I had no issue using a mouse and keyboard, and switching between panes and submenus was instantly responsive with an absolutely minimal amount of delay.
Next, a software suite I’d actually be happy to have installed on my system: the Ai Suite is brilliant. Not only is it functional, but it’s not intrusive, doesn’t take a lot of system resources, and doesn’t appear to be a bunch of different suites thrown together in a jumbled mess as I’ve seen in the past. Everything looks like it was made for the Ai Suite, and the consistency here helps make the whole experience enjoyable, or at the very least, not annoying.
ASUS’ hardware innovations in the motherboard space need not go unmentioned. MemOK! saved me from clearing my CMOS numerous times when I was trying to push my RAM farther than it wanted to go, and USB BIOS Flashback is a lifesaver in the event that you brick your board, or is just simply convenient when you want to update. The TPU and EPU switches offer easy overclocking or excellent power saving, with results that speak for themselves.
ASUS’ Wi-Fi GO! module performs slightly better than a mainstream USB wireless adapter, however it does so without taking up connectivity space, and also is able to act as an access point/wireless extender, which is excellent for homes with a larger footprint than your routers range.
So what’s missing? Other boards around this price point have a debug LED; the P8Z77-V PRO doesn’t, but it makes up for it with the LED indicators dotted around the board. These LEDs cycle as the board posts, and if any remain lit, it clearly indicates your problem area. Just as easy as a debug LED; if not more so, given that there’s no manual to reference the specific code.
The P8Z77-V PRO has no mSATA slot. It doesn’t need to, really, as desktop users will more frequently than not utilize a 2.5” SSD via the SATA III interface, but nonetheless it’s nice to have.
One thing that did get me is the lack of power/reset/clear CMOS buttons directly on the board. For easy troubleshooting, these buttons are extremely useful. Other boards in the same price range have these features readily available. MemOK! can be both better and not enough than a clear CMOS button, so for that they do have an alternative solution, and of course there is a clear CMOS jumper.
All in all the P8Z77-V PRO is an excellent board; the performance figures tell you that, with performance beating out most of the competition at stock settings, let alone when overclocked. As I noted before, motherboards in this price segment are all very similar; it all comes down to what you as a consumer want from your purchase. Without a doubt, The P8Z77-V PRO should be in your top three considerations.
The ASUS P8Z77-V PRO is available for $214.99 at my favorite online retailer. This makes it slightly more expensive than many of the motherboards in the mainstream market segment, but it does offer a whole host of extra features for your dollar. With everything in mind, ThinkComputers.org would like to award the ASUS P8Z77-V PRO a 9 out of 10 score.
– Excellent performance
– Easy overclocking
– Included software is great
– MemOK! is a great feature
– USB BIOS Flashback is a life saver
– Looks awesome
– Included Wi-Fi GO! module performs well and saves connectivity space
– No Debug LED
– Power/Reset/Clear CMOS buttons are missing
– mSATA is missing