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ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe/WD mini-ITX Motherboard E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards
Written by David Ramsey   
Wednesday, 14 November 2012
Table of Contents: Page Index
ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe/WD mini-ITX Motherboard
Closer Look: P8Z77-I Deluxe/WD
P8Z77-I Deluxe/WD Proprietary Features
P8Z88-I Deluxe/WD UEFI
P8Z77-I UEFI: AI Tweaker
Mini ITX Bundled Software
Bundled Software Continued
Motherboard Testing Methodology
AIDA64 Benchmarks
SPECviewperf 11 Tests
Power Efficiency Tests
Mini ITX Overclocking
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Mini ITX Bundled Software

Poring over hardware details is fun and all, but much of the functionality of a modern motherboard depends on its software, whether it's intrinsic like a fancy BIOS or Windows-based applications and utilities. ASUS efforts in this regard have been evolving over the years and the current version of their AI Suite II software merits a multi-page review in its own right. AI Suite II is actually a collection of separate utilities controlled by a common GUI. You select the utility you're interested in via a popup menu from the main utility window, and you can select which items appear in the menu from this screen. Briefly, they are:


TurboV Evo is an automatic performance and overclocking tool comprising detailed controls for CPU, memory, and power circuitry. I used this feature to create my overclocking profile as I'll explain in a later section.

EPU is a power-saving feature. You can select various tradeoffs between performance and power-saving, and the utility even purports to show the milligrams of CO2 emissions you've saved. As a side note, it's interesting to watch the real-time readout of "Current CPU Power" at the lower right of this screen. When overclocked, I saw CPU power readings as low as 4.31 watts idling at the Windows desktop and as high as 99.99 watts running a stress test. Bear in mind that the AI Suite II implementation of this feature goes beyond what the EPU setting in the BIOS can do.


The Probe II panel shows the voltage and temperature of various components, as well as fan speeds. You can set alert thresholds for all of these and the utility will warn you if an alert threshold is triggered.


You can set the WiFi Engine to either "Client Mode", where it simply operates to connect your system to the internet, or "AP Mode", in which you can share a hardwired internet connection with WiFi, making your system a WiFi router.


USB Charger+ and AI Charger+ are intelligent USB charging utilities; extensions to ASUS' original AI Charger, which only worked with Apple devices. Which devices these features work with and which ports they use vary. It's a little complex but ASUS provided a handy chart:

AI Charger (prev. generation) AI Charger+ USB Charger+
Supported Devices Apple Devices Apple & BC 1.1-compliant devices All Devices
Chargeable Power States S0/S1/S3/S4/S5* S0/S1/S3/S4/S5* S0/S1/S3/S4/S5
Supported on ports All USB ports USB 3.0 Ports supplied by Asmedia ASM1042 controller USB BIOS Flashback port
Data transfer while quick charging Yes Yes No

*Charging must begin before the board enters the S5 state.

AI Charger+ implements the USB consortium's Battery Charging 1.1 standard. Previously the official current limit for a USB port was 500 milliamps, and various motherboard vendors came up with their own 1500ma schemes. BC 1.1 formalizes this so that up to 1800 ma can be drawn from a dedicated port (with no data flow), 1500ma in low speed mode, and 900ma in high speed mode. USB Charger Plus is a USB charging solution you can configure for ASUS, Apple, Kindle, or "other" tablets and devices. You can configure this feature to charge connected devices even when the computer is asleep or turned off.


Network iControl lets you prioritize packets and save specific configurations. You can arrange a list of running, network-accessing programs to assign the priority each one has on your network bandwidth. For example, online gamers can give higher priority to packets for a game; alternatively, if you're streaming video content, you'd want to give higher priority to your player application.


There are still a few more AI Suit II items to cover in the next section.



# RE: ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe/WD mini-ITX Motherboardkzinti1 2012-12-26 00:34
WOW! What a nice little board!
I'd like to build one of these just like yours, except for using a spare GTX 690.
Any idea what case to use to house this system? I've never even seen these small boards in person so I have no idea where to start in choosing a case. I guess I could just use a test stand, but it's dusty here at the beach and I really need an enclosure that can handle the Super-Mega cpu cooler. Probably be best to go with an external water system but they're not very portable.
Very good review. It's really got me jazzed!
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# RE: RE: ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe/WD mini-ITX Motherboardwhynotv2 2012-12-26 06:31
Thermaltake and CoolerMaster both make Mini-ITX cases. Not sure if they have one that will allow the use of a large cpu cooler however.
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# RE: RE: ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe/WD mini-ITX MotherboardDavid Ramsey 2012-12-26 08:49
I've reviewed three cases recently that would be a good fit for this board: the Cooler Master 120, and the SilverStone SUGO SG09 and SG08. Check 'em out in our Cases section.
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# Asus p8z77-i DeluxeDavo 2012-12-26 18:54
Will also work fine in Silverstone FT03. I plan to use this mobo, 3570K and an H80i as the basis for my living room Home theatre/Gaming rig.
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# RE: ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe/WD mini-ITX Motherboardkzinti1 2012-12-26 19:21
Thaks for the recommendations everybody. I'd be using it as a tiny overclocking rig.
My computer room looks like a small graveyard full of black obelisks.
This is the 21st century, there's really no need for these giant OC & gaming rigs any longer. Not if these tiny mobo's are as good as reported.
I just hope Intel gets nowhere, fast, with their new mobo's with the soldered on cpu's.
They could end up being the death of overclocking just to save some electricity.
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# Very, very nice reviewDave 2013-03-19 07:53
I was trolling the web for a review of this board and I can honestly say that this is one of the best, most comprehensive component reviews I've ever read. Very, very nice work here sir. I think the only thing you failed to cover is the onboard audio. I'd like to have seen something on that with regard to quality (especially versus a pci-E card), but great work nonetheless. Thanks for sharing this information.
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# RE: ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe/WD mini-ITX MotherboardDavid Ramsey 2013-03-19 08:29
The onboard sound is handled by the ubiquitous Realtek ALC-898 chip. Onboard sound has gotten good enough for all but the audiophiles these days; still, someone using this board to build an HTPC might want to put a sound card in the single slot. Myself, I put in a video card.
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