The ASUS P8Z77-V LK is a mainstream socket LGA1155 motherboard targeted to the “Ivy Bridge” processors (third-generation Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 processors). Let’s see what this motherboard has to offer.
The Intel Z77 is an upgraded version of the Z68 chipset with the same basic features (Intel Smart Response Technology and Virtu video switching technology), plus native support to four USB 3.0 ports. It also includes the addition of two new technologies: Smart Connect (allowing the computer to receive emails and refresh webpages while it is in sleep mode) and Rapid Start (faster boot times).
In addition, the ASUS P8Z77-V LK supports the Virtu Universal MVP, which allows you to combine the performance of the integrated graphics processor available in the CPU with the performance of any video card installed. This is similar to what occurs with the Hybrid SLI and ATI Hybrid Graphics technologies, with the notable difference of not being limited to GPUs from a specific manufacturer. ASUS has launched 16 different motherboard models based on the Intel Z77 chipset; we list the differences between them in the tables below. Prices were researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this article.
|Specification||P8Z77 WS||P8Z77-V DELUXE||SABERTOOTH Z77||P8Z77-V PRO||Maximus V Extreme||Maximus V Formula|
PCI Express 3.0 x16
4 (x16/x16/x0/x0 or x16/x8/x8/x0 or x8/x8/x8/x8)
2 (x16/x0 or x8/x8)
2 (x16/x0 or x8/x8)
3 (x16/x0 or x8/x8)
|5 (x16/x0/x16x/x0 or x16/x0/x8/x8 or x8/x8/x8/x8)||3 (x16/x0/x0 or x8/x8/x0 or x8/x4/x4)|
|PCI Express 2.0 x16||0||1 (x4)||1 (x4)||1 (x4)||1 (x4)||1 (x4)|
|PCI Express 2.0 x1||2||4||3||2||0||3|
|Bluetooth||No||Yes, 4.0||No||No||Yes, 4.0||Yes, 4.0|
|Wi-Fi||No||Yes (a, b, g, n)||No||Yes (b, g, n)||Yes (a, b, g, n)||Yes (a, b, g, n)|
|Price||NA||USD 285||USD 240||USD 235||USD 369||USD 270|
|Specification||P8Z77-V||P8Z77-V LE||P8Z77-V LK||P8Z77-V LX||Z77-A||P8Z77-V Premium|
PCI Express 3.0 x16
2 (x16/x0 or x8/x8)
2 (x16/x0 or x8/x8)
|1||4 (x16/x0/x16x/x0 or x16/x0/x8/x8 or x8/x8/x8/x8)|
|PCI Express 2.0 x16||1 (x4)||1 (x4)||1 (x4)||1 (x4)||1||0|
|PCI Express 2.0 x1||2||2||2||2||2||2|
|SATA-300||4||4||4||4||4||3 + 1 (mSATA)|
|Wi-Fi||Yes (b, g, n)||No||No||No||No||Yes (a, b, g, n)|
|Price||USD 210||USD 165||USD 150||USD 140||NA||NA|
|Specification||Maximus V GENE||P8Z77-M PRO||P8Z77-M||P8Z77-I DELUXE|
|PCI Express 3.0 x16||2 (x16/x0 or x8/x8)||2 (x16/x0 or x8/x8)||1||1|
|PCI Express 2.0 x16||0||1 (x4)||1 (x4)||0|
|PCI Express x4||1||0||0||0|
|PCI Express x1||0||1||1||0|
|Mini PCI Express||2||0||0||0|
|Price||USD 210||NA||USD 140||NA|
You can see the ASUS P8Z77-V LK motherboard in Figure 1.
Figure 1: ASUS P8Z77-V LK motherboard
The ASUS P8Z77-V LK comes with two PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, one PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (working at x4), two PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots, and two PCI slots.
The two PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots are controlled by the CPU, with the first slot working at x16 when only one video card is installed, and with both working at x8 when two video cards are installed. Since these slots are controlled by the CPU, it will offer PCI Express 2.0 bandwidth (8 GB/s at x16) when a “Sandy Bridge” CPU is installed, but PCI Express 3.0 bandwidth (16 GB/s at x16) when an “Ivy Bridge” CPU is used.
The third PCI Express x16 slot (the black one) is 2.0 and works at x4 if the second PCI Express x1 slot is disabled, or at x2 if it is enabled. If you plan to install a dual-slot video card in this slot, you will have to buy a case with at least eight slots. (Computer cases usually have seven.)
When installing dual-slot video cards, you “kill” the slot immediately to the left of the slot being used (looking at the motherboard with its rear connectors facing up).
Since the Intel Z77 chipset doesn’t support standard PCI slots, the motherboard uses an ASMedia ASM1083 bridge chip to connect the standard PCI slots to a PCI Express x1 lane.
The PCI Express x16 slots support both SLI and CrossFireX technologies.
[nextpage title=”Memory Support”]
Intel socket LGA1155 CPUs have an embedded memory controller, meaning that it is the processor, not the chipset, that defines what memory technologies you can have and the maximum amount of memory that is possible. The motherboard, however, may have a limitation as to how much memory can be installed.
The integrated memory controller from socket LGA1155 processors supports DDR3 memories up to 1,333 MHz (“Sandy Bridge” CPUs) or up to 1,600 MHz (“Ivy Bridge” CPUs). According to ASUS, the P8Z77-V LK supports memories up to 2,400 MHz.
The ASUS P8Z77-V LK has four memory sockets. Since DDR3 memory modules can be found in capacities up to 8 GB, you can have up to 32 GB with this motherboard if you use four 8 GB modules.
In order to enable the dual-channel mode, you must install two or four memory modules. On the ASUS P8Z77-V LK, the first and third memory sockets are black, while the second and fourth are blue. When installing two memory modules, use the black sockets.
Figure 3: Memory sockets; install two or four modules for the best performance
[nextpage title=”On-Board Peripherals”]
The Intel Z77 chipset is a single-chip solution, which is also known as a PCH (Platform Controller Hub). This chip supports two SATA-600 ports and four SATA-300 ports, supporting RAID (0, 1, 10, and 5). The P8Z77-V LK offers only the SATA ports provided by the chipset. The SATA ports are installed on the motherboard edge and rotated 90°, so the installation of video cards won’t block them.
Figure 4: The two SATA-600 ports (white) and the four SATA-300 ports (blue)
The Intel Z77 chipset supports 14 USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports. The ASUS P8Z77-V LK offers 10 USB 2.0 ports, two at the rear panel and eight through four headers located on the motherboard. It also offers six USB 3.0 ports, four on the motherboard rear panel and two available through one header on the motherboard. The two additional USB 3.0 ports are controlled by an ASMedia ASM1042 chip.
The ASUS P8Z77-V LK doesn’t support FireWire ports.
This motherboard supports 7.1+2 audio format, i.e., eight channels plus two independent channels for audio streaming. On this motherboard, the audio is generated by the chipset using the Realtek ALC892 codec, which is a mid-range solution, providing 97 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog outputs, 90 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog inputs, and up to 192 kHz sampling rate for both inputs and outputs, with 24-bit resolution. These specifications are perfect for the average user. However, if you plan to convert and edit audio from analog sources (such as VHS tapes, vinyl records, and cassette tapes), you will need to pick a motherboard with an input SNR of at least 100 dB.
The analog audio outputs are independent, and the motherboard also comes with an on-board optical SPDIF output. It also has a two-pin header labeled “SPDIF_OUT” where you can install an adapter to have a coaxial SPDIF output, or to connect a cable to older video cards that required a physical connection to have audio on their HDMI outputs.
The portrayed motherboard has one Gigabit Ethernet port, controlled by a Realtek RTL8111F chip.
In Figure 5, you can see the motherboard rear panel with a shared PS/2 connector for keyboard and mouse, two USB 2.0 ports, optical SPDIF output, HDMI output, DisplayPort output, VGA output, DVI-D output, four USB 3.0 ports, one Gigabit Ethernet port, and the analog audio jacks.
Figure 5: Motherboard rear panel
[nextpage title=”Other Features”]
As with other motherboards from ASUS, the P8Z77-V LK comes with the “MemOK!” feature, which allows you to test the compatibility of the memory modules that are installed, as well as automatically tuning memory settings. On this motherboard, the “MemOK!” function is enabled through a button, seen in Figure 6, to the right of the main power supply connector. There is also a switch called “GPU Boost” that increases the GPU clock rate.
Figure 6: “MemOK!” button and “GPU Boost” switch
In Figure 7, you can see all of the accessories that come with the ASUS P8Z77-V LK.
[nextpage title=”Voltage Regulator”]
The CPU voltage regulator circuit of the ASUS P8Z77-V LK has four phases for the CPU main voltage (Vcc a.k.a. Vcore), one for the CPU VSA (a.k.a. system agent) voltage, and one for the embedded GPU (VAXG). Therefore, it uses a “4+1+1” configuration.
The voltage regulator is controlled by an ASUS DIGI+ VRM integrated circuit, which uses a digital design, using PH5030AL and PH9025L MOSFETs as the “low side” and the “high side” transistors.
Figure 8: Voltage regulator circuit
Figure 9: Voltage regulator circuit
The ASUS P8Z77-V LK uses solid electrolytic capacitors. All coils on this motherboard are ferrite-core models, which can provide up to 20% improvement in efficiency.
If you want to learn more about the voltage regulator circuit, please read our tutorial on the subject.
[nextpage title=”Overclocking Options”]
The portrayed motherboard has a few overclocking options. Below, we list the most important ones (0403 BIOS):
- Base clock: From 80.00 MHz to 300 MHz in 0.1 MHz increments
- CPU graphics clock: From 400 MHz to 3,000 MHz in 50 MHz increments
- CPU core voltage: From 0.800 V to 1.990 V in 0.005 V increments
- CPU graphics voltage: From 0.800 V to 1.990 V in 0.005 V increments
- Memory voltage: From 1.185 V to 2.135 V in 0.005 V increments
- Memory controller (“IMC,” “System Agent,” VCCSA) voltage: From 0.735 V to 1.685 V in 0.005 V increments
- Chipset (“PCH”) voltage: From 0.735 V to 1.685 V in 0.005 V increments
- CPU PLL voltage: From 1.80 V to 1.90 V in 0.1 V increments
Figure 10: Overclocking options
Figure 12: Memory timings adjusts
Figure 13: Memory timings adjusts
Figure 14: Memory timings adjusts
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
The main specifications for the ASUS P8Z77-V LK include:
- Socket: LGA1155
- Chipset: Intel Z77 Express
- Parallel ATA: None
- Serial ATA: Four SATA-300 ports and two SATA-600 ports controlled by the chipset (RAID 0, 1, 10, and 5)
- External SATA: None
- USB 2.0: 10 USB 2.0 ports, two soldered at rhe motherboard rear panel and eight available through four headers on the motherboard
- USB 3.0: Six USB 3.0 ports, four controlled by the chipset and two controlled by an ASMedia ASM1042 chip; four soldered on the motherboard rear panel and two available through one header on the motherboard
- FireWire (IEEE 1394): None
- Thunderbolt: None
- On-board video: Controlled by the CPU; VGA, DVI-D, DisplayPort, and HDMI connectors
- On-board audio: Produced by the chipset together with a Realtek ALC892 codec (7.1+2 channels, 24-bit resolution, 192 kHz sampling rate, 97 dB SNR for the outputs, and 90 dB SNR for the inputs)
- On-board LAN: One Gigabit Ethernet port controlled by a Realtek RTL8111F chip
- Buzzer: No
- Infrared interface: No
- Power supply required: EPS12V
- Slots: Two PCI Express 3.0/2.0 x16 slots (x16/x0 or x8/x8), one PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (working at x4 if the second PCI Express x1 slot is disabled or at x2 if it is enabled), two PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots, and two PCI slots (ASMedia ASM1083 bridge chip)
- Memory: Four DDR3-DIMM sockets (up to DDR3-2400, 32 GB maximum)
- Fan connectors: One four-pin connector for the CPU cooler and three four-pin connectors for auxiliary fans
- Extra features: MemOK! button
- Number of CDs/DVDs provided: One
- Programs included: Motherboard utilities
- More Information: https://www.asus.com
- Average Price in the U.S.*: USD 149.00
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
The ASUS P8Z77-V LK is an excellent mainstream motherboard, with a relative low cost but some interesting features.
The portrayed motherboard lacks the extra SATA ports, voltage regulator with several phases, POST diagnostics display, voltage monitoring points, and high-end audio codec seen in more expensive motherboards, but it has three PCI Express x16 slots supporting SLI and CrossFireX, independent analog audio jacks, and a reasonable set of overclocking options.
Because of its features, the ASUS P8Z77-V LK is a very good choice for the cost-conscious user who wants to build a gaming computer.
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