ASUS P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt Preview
Category : Z77
Published by Marc B├╝chel on 01.02.13
With the P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt, ASUS has a motherboard in its portfolio, which - like the name already suggests - features a Thunderbolt interface. Furthermore this board has been equipped with plenty of video-outputs, therefore is seems to be perfectly suitable for a multimedia PC. On the following pages we will have a closer look at the layout and design aspects of this board.



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The P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt is ASUS' mid-range performance motherboard regarding Intels latest Z77 chipset. Therefore we're really curious what they've come up with from the layout and design as well as feature perspective.

Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Layout
Page 2 - Specs and Delivery Page 5 - Connectors and I/O
Page 3 - Features Page 6 - Conclusion



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Specs and Delivery

CPU Intel Socket 1155 3rd/2nd Generation Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron (22/32nm)
Chipset Intel Z77 Express
Memory Dual Channel
4 x DIMM, Max. 32GB, DDR3 2600(OC)/2400(OC)/2200(OC)/2133(OC)/2000(OC)/1866(OC)/1800(OC)/1600/1333
Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory,
Intel XMP
Multi-GPU NVIDIA SLI, Quad-GPU SLI
AMD CrossFire, 3-Way, Quad-GPU CrossFireX
LucidLogix Virtu MVP Technology
Slots 3 x PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (x16, x8/x8, x8/x4/x4)
2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1
2 x PCI
Audio Realtek ALC892 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
Storage 2 x SATA3 6.0 Gbps (Intel Z77)
4 x SATA2 3.0 Gbps (Intel Z77)
2 x SATA 6.0 Gbps (ASMedia ASM1061)
Wireless Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
LAN 1 x Gigabit LAN (Intel 82579V)
I/O internal
  • 1 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s) (19-pin)
  • 5 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 10 USB 2.0 port(s)
  • 1 x TPM connector(s)
  • 1 x COM port(s) connector(s)
  • 4 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
  • 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connector(s)
  • 1 x CPU Fan connector(s) (4 -pin)
  • 1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s) (4 -pin)
  • 3 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (4 -pin)
  • 1 x S/PDIF out header(s)
  • 1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
  • 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
  • 1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
  • 1 x System panel(s) (Q-Connector)
  • 1 x MemOK! button(s)
  • 1 x TPU switch(es)
  • 1 x EPU switch(es)
  • 1 x CPU/DRAM overvoltage jumper(s)
  • 1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)
  • 1 x USB BIOS Flashback button(s)
  • I/O Back Panel
  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s)
  • 1 x DVI-D
  • 1 x D-Sub
  • 1 x Thunderbolt port(s)
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x Optical S/PDIF out
  • 6 x Audio jack(s)
  • 1 x WLAN connector(s) for ASUS wireless module
  • Forfactor ATX (30.5cm x 24.4cm)
    On the manufacturer's website P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt



     
      


  • User's manual
  • ASUS Q-Shield
  • 2 x SATA 3Gb/s cable(s)
  • 2 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
  • 1 x SLI bridge(s)
  • 1 x Q-connector(s) (2 in 1)
  • 1 x 2-port USB 2.0 and eSATA module(s)
  • 1 x ASUS Wi-Fi GO! card(s)
  • 1 x Wi-Fi Ring Moving Antenna(s)



  • Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Layout
    Page 2 - Specs and Delivery Page 5 - Connectors and I/O
    Page 3 - Features Page 6 - Conclusion



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    Features

    Digi+ Power Control Since quite some time ASUS has been equipping its boards with digital power designs. Using the right software it is not only possible to adjust voltages while being in Windows one can now also control impedances.

     
    Thunderbolt ASUS ships the P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt with native Thunderbolt support. Utilizing the x4 lanes of PCI Express together with the iGPU integrated DisplayPort output, the P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt is capable of delivering a simultaneous bi-directional throughput of 10 Gbps data via this Thunderbolt port. This port is also capable of displaying video content with up to 2560 x 1600 resolution. Fruthermore it is also possible to realize a triple display solution using only the iGPU.

     
    Wi-Fi GO! ASUS ships the P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt with Wi-Fi support thru a physical layer (PHY) that is being connected to the board. An antenna is also bundled to increase wireless range.

     
    EPU If you activate the EPU this chip monitors all possible voltages and clock speeds and automatically sets them to guarantee an energy efficient operation of you system.

     
    TPU As soon as one activates the TPU this chips monitors all possible voltages and clock speeds using the according software. The difference to the EPU is that TPU will provide as much performance as possible. Therefore it can increase clock speeds and voltages.



    Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Layout
    Page 2 - Specs and Delivery Page 5 - Connectors and I/O
    Page 3 - Features Page 6 - Conclusion



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    Layout

    Already at a first glance the ASUS P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt looks very good with it harmonic design. The colors look suite nicely and the different blue tones on a black PCB are calming. The layout itself is well thought and there is for example plenty of space around the CPU socket to install even todays largest CPU coolers.


    ASUS equipped the P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt with a 8+4+2 phase power design whereas the CPU can rely on eight phases, the integrated graphics unit gets four phases and the memory gets its own two phases. Furthermore ASUS put a digital power design on the board, which comes meanwhile in the third generation. With their digital power design they promise that it emits less electromagnetic radiation than its analogue counterpart. Therefore ASUS claims that the system stability can be enhanced even further, especially during extreme overclocking.


    Totally you'll find four DIMM-slots on the P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt. Officially supported are DDR3 - 2600 (OC) / 2400 (OC) / 2200 (OC) / 2133 (OC) / 2000 (OC) / 1866 (OC) / 1800 (OC) / 1600 / 1333 MHz with up to 32 GB capacity. The DIMM-slots are quite close to the CPU socket which might cause some compatibility problems with big coolers especially when you choose to install RAM with big heatspreaders.


    The power design is being held at adequate temperatures via passive cooling blocks. The Southbridge is also being covered by a passive cooling block. The aluminium blocks around the CPU socket aren't disproportionate therefore there is plenty of space to easily install even todays biggest air coolers. The design of the coolers isn't really attractive and is cheap looking.

      


    Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Layout
    Page 2 - Specs and Delivery Page 5 - Connectors and I/O
    Page 3 - Features Page 6 - Conclusion



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    Connectors and I/O

    Totally ASUS provided the P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt with eight angled SATA ports which should be enough for any office PC, gaming system or enthusiast build. The Intel Z77 chipset drives the four light blue ports (SATA2 3Gbps) and the two grey ports (SATA3 6Gbps). Last two - dark blue ones - are controlled by an ASMedia ASM1061 chip. There is no debug display which might have been very useful if you should once experience issues with one of the components in your system. You find the EPU and TPU switchs at the bottom board and the MemOK button located at the top right of the board. The audio of the board is powered by a Realtek ALC892 chip.

     

    Totally you'll find five fan headers on the P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt which is more than enough to provide a well equipped midrange or high-end-system with fresh air. The fanheaders are located at the top and middle edges of the board.

      

    Looking at the external connectors directly at the back-panel ASUS equipped the P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt with four USB 3.0 ports, one gigabit ethernet ports, a PS/2 combo port, an optical out as well as an analogue audio panel. As for the video outputs you get an HDMI, a DVI and a VGA connector. Like the name of the board suggests there is also the new Thunderbolt port.



    Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Layout
    Page 2 - Specs and Delivery Page 5 - Connectors and I/O
    Page 3 - Features Page 6 - Conclusion



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    Conclusion

    Allgemein   + -
    At a first glance ASUS leaves a good impression with its P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt. Once more we very much like the design of this P8-Series motherboard. The color scheme has a high value of recognition but the cooling blocks. We think that they have a cheap looking. In other hand they are not too big therefore they leave plenty of space to easily install a big CPU cooler.   - Design
           
    Layout   + -
    Generally the ASUS P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt's layout is well thought. Once more very practical are the angled SATA connectors that allow better cable management. The two main PCIe_16x connectors have been well spaced (two PCI space inbetween) to allow a dual graphics card setup breath well. Furthermore there are plenty of video outputs (HDMI, VGA and DVI), with this many outputs and a Thunderbolt port this board has been clearly designed for a multi-display setup using only the IGP. Unfortunately ASUS didn't equip the P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt with any debug display nor Clear_CMOS button. That's too bad because they are very useful to diagnose/solve a boot issue.   - Angled SATA connectors - Thunderbolt - No Clear_CMOS Button
    - No Debug Display



    Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Layout
    Page 2 - Specs and Delivery Page 5 - Connectors and I/O
    Page 3 - Features Page 6 - Conclusion


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    Author: m.buechel@ocaholic.ch