ASUS P8Z77-V Premium BIOS

The ASUS graphical BIOS interface is now steadfast in a reviewers mind.  It utilizes a dual system of an ‘EZ’ (that is ee-zee rather than the British ee-zed) mode and an advanced mode to tailor the options to the type of user.  When a user enters the BIOS, the EZ mode should be presented.

The EZ mode screen is a single interface which contains key valuable information – the name of the motherboard, the version of the BIOS, the CPU model and speed, the memory size and speed, temperatures, voltages, fan speeds, system modes and a boot priority.  This is all key information that any system builder, or problem solver, would love the instant we get into the BIOS, so kudos to ASUS for providing this interface.  Within the scope of the graphical BIOS, it would be possible to include innovative ways to display this data.

The EZ mode screen allows users to select one of three performance modes - energy saving, normal, or boost.  The boost function performs the OC Tuner or 'Fast' overclock settings, as described in the Overclocking section.  In addition we have the boot priority menu, were users can slide the device of their choice as first boot device.  The Boot Menu allows users to boot from a specific device for just that boot (useful for reviewers installing new OS from USB stick), and the shortcut/Advanced options will take a user to the Advanced Mode menus.

The Advanced Mode menus are more akin to the typical BIOS interface that prevailed before Sandy Bridge and the P67 chipset.  With the ASUS P8Z77-V Premium, the first screen in this mode has some more data related to the system, but the main point of the advanced mode is the overclocking section, AI Tweaker:

As you can see in the images above, we have selected XMP, which causes MultiCore Enhancement to be enabled.  This MultiCore Enhancement option lets the processor use the top turbo mode of the processor at all times, giving (at stock) a small performance boost under heavily multithreaded workloads.

AI Tweaker contains all the main tools for normal overclocking - the CPU multiplier is adjustable (1-Core Ratio Limit option), as well as the memory and the voltages.  In order to change the load line calibration, navigate to the DIGI+ Power Control Menu:

Memory timings can also be adjusted through the DRAM Timing Control menu:

Users can double check to see how the GPU lanes are configured on their multi-GPU setups by navigating to Advanced -> System Agent Configuration -> NB PCIe Configuration:

The Thunderbolt options for the Premium also have their own menu.  I did notice that in the beta release BIOS I had with this board compared to the BIOS we are using for this review (1401) that some of these options are different.  However, with the 1401 BIOS, ASUS give various options related to the TB port and explanations with them:

Always of note on an ASUS motherboard is the depth of the fan controls that are available.  In the BIOS, we have the in-depth options for the fans in the form of Q-Control, which gives either preset profiles or manual adjustment in terms of percentages of fan power and temperatures - something which other motherboards sometimes refuse to do.  All the fan headers are controllable through the BIOS.  However, with the graphical BIOS being what it is, I would like to see some sort of graphical representation of the fan speeds (similar to that done in the OS) and gradients.

ASUS also offer a BIOS Flash Utility in the BIOS, for users wishing to download the latest BIOS via USB stick on a different machine.  The ASUS P8Z77-V Premium also supports USB BIOS Flashback, where users can update the BIOS without the need for a CPU, a video card or memory.

ASUS P8Z77-V Premium Overview, Visual Inspection, Board Features ASUS P8Z77-V Premium Software
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  • ASUSTechMKT - Tuesday, August 14, 2012 - link

    It offers considerably better performance first generation 9128 and 9120 and 9130 were not bad controller just limited in peak throughput but keep in mind the controller was put to market before Intel even had SATA6G PCH. Also keep in mind performance for real world usage ( boot time, application launch performance, copy performance is pretty similar between then it is only in benchmarks you will see a measurable difference. That being noted the x2 interconnect offers twice the throughput for considerably improved performance vs the x1 interconnect 9128 type solutions. This allows newer SATA6G drives to generally perform on about the same level as the Intel PCH ( peak performance being at / near or above 500MBs on fast controllers ). Additionally it has some specific advantages not noted in the review such as stacked SSD caching. This allows up to 3 SSDs to be stacked on a mechanical drive to continue to enhance its performance.

    Hope this clarifies it for you.
    Reply
  • infoilrator - Monday, August 13, 2012 - link

    On any top price product certain features are necessary, useful or not, on a "has" basis.
    Minor omissions (in the would be nice category) would be a card reader in the front USB3.0 Device, and a PCIe expansion card with 2 firewire and 2 USB2 or USB3 plugs.

    After all, too much is not enough, $450 should not require further shopping for minor add ins.
    The price, if you have full use for the "package" seems acceptable, not that I'll ever have it.
    Reply
  • TimoKyyro - Monday, August 13, 2012 - link

    I would have liked to see GPU rendering benchmarks with SmallLuxGPU or Blender. This board would be perfect for animation rendering with 2 x PCIe 3.0 x16 for dual GTX 690 or 4 x PCIe 3.0 x8 for quad GTX 680.

    The price doesn't matter if I get faster GPU rendering and better support for new technologies like PCIe 3.0 and Thunderbolt.
    Reply
  • IanCutress - Monday, August 13, 2012 - link

    Unfortunately I do not have access to those GPUs.

    Ian
    Reply
  • rahvin - Monday, August 13, 2012 - link

    Are the eSATA ports port multiplier capable? Reply
  • mayankleoboy1 - Monday, August 13, 2012 - link

    it would be great to see a PCIE3.0 SSD for tests and if it can take advantage of the extra bandwidth. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Monday, August 13, 2012 - link

    There is no "extra bandwidth". You're still limited to the x16 connection to the CPU. Reply
  • jwcalla - Monday, August 13, 2012 - link

    $450???

    If you want to set yourself apart, how about supporting something useful like ECC RAM and 10 GbE?

    Until you can do ethernet over Thunderbolt, I don't really see the point of TB on a motherboard like this.

    And 10+ SATA ports... that would only be used in a file server context. But that requires ECC RAM. So it doesn't add up.

    JMO.
    Reply
  • jwcalla - Monday, August 13, 2012 - link

    * Ahh yes I forgot that desktop Intel chipsets don't support ECC RAM so they can charge more for their server-based motherboards and processors.

    Even Cortex A-15 supports ECC. *sigh*

    This space needs some serious competition. It's just the same boring features rehashed and multiplied.
    Reply
  • Kevin G - Monday, August 13, 2012 - link

    There are a few TB -> Ethernet solutions out there, including an adapter from Apple. Though with two NIC's on the board, I'm not really use-case scenario for TB on this particular motherboard. I can only fathom fast external storage and at that point the user would be better off with a solid SAS card with external connectivity.

    As for ECC, Intel does indeed limit their desktop processors. A handful of motherboards will support ECC if a socket 1155 Xeon is utilized. Though if ECC is critical, AMD's FX line supports ECC and up to the motherboard manufacturers to support it.
    Reply

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