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The Asus P8Z77-V Pro is one of the rare premium motherboards that gives us little to complain about. The feature-set is stacked, naturally, with SLI/CrossFireX support, four video outputs, eight SATA ports (eSATA via an included breakout panel), two USB 3.0 controllers with internal headers, an Atheros based wireless NIC, and an Intel powered gigabit ethernet adapter. Like Asus' series 6 line, the UEFI options are expansive but the fan control capabilities have been vastly improved.
The presence of five independently controllable headers is great on its own, and FAN Xpert 2 adds more than just a cherry on top at the O/S level. The utility allows users to identify and name fans, scan each one to find their controllable ranges, and then adjust their speed/temperature curves accordingly. The only thing that could improve it is the ability to respond to temperatures other than the CPU. Intel's DZ77GA-70K can do this at the UEFI level, but the interface isn't as straightforward being text only, and controls four fans rather than five.
The only issue we had with the board was somewhat high idle power consumption, something we encountered with both Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors. The Intel DZ77GA-70K used 3~4 watts less, but Intel brand boards always seem to use less idle power than their partners' models utilizing the same chipset. The P8Z77-V Pro makes up for this by being more efficient on load, useful if the machine it's used in is worked hard most of the time, presumably while overclocked.
The Asus P8Z77-V Pro is also priced similarly to the Intel DZ77GA-70K, at about US$220. Of the two, the Asus board offers better value and overall appeal. Its multiple video outputs allows the use of dual/triple displays using the integrated graphics chip, its wireless adapter has an external antenna and doesn't take up a USB header, it has an additional USB 3.0 controller, and FAN Xpert 2 is a pleasure to use. The Intel board has a few extra features like FireWire, a second gigabit ethernet port, a front-mounted USB 3.0 panel, extra temperature sensors, physical power, reset, and BIOS recovery buttons, but we imagine the tradeoff is well worth it for many users.
Our thanks to Asus for the P8Z77-V Pro motherboard sample.
It's rare for us to bestow an award for a motherboard. In fact, it's never been done here before. After all, just how much noise-relevance does a motherboard have? In this case, however, especially with FAN Xpert 2, it's a natural. >
Asus P8Z77-V Pro is Recommended by SPCR
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this article in the SPCR forums.
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