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ASUS P8Z68-V PRO Z68 Sandy Bridge Motherboard Review

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Eldonko

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Hardware Installation

Hardware Installation


To show you how hardware is going to fit on the P8Z68-V Pro we installed a Zalman CNPS10x Flex, a 4GB kit of G.Skill memory, and two GTX 460 video cards. The Zalman is an average-sized aftermarket CPU cooler so it should provide a good reference and the G.Skill kit is taller than most so we can see if there any clearance issues.


As you can see, there are no clearance issues whatsoever when it comes to this particular CPU cooler and the motherboard’s heatsinks. The only issue a user may run into is if all four memory slots are occupied and their CPU cooler has two fans installed. This would however be quite rare and could be worked around by simply removing the fan on the side of the memory slots.


Adding two video cards really shows how much space there is between the PRO’s slots. The video cards don’t block anything you need to get at and since the SATA ports are mounted at right angles. We also really like how ASUS uses GPU release buttons that are pushed down and are accessible from both sides. This avoids having to remove the first video card to get at the second one.
 
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Eldonko

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BIOS Rundown

BIOS Rundown

The ASUS P8Z68-V Pro has the latest in BIOS technology: the UEFI BIOS. UEFI is a user-friendly interface that goes beyond traditional keyboard-only BIOS controls to enable mouse input. Users can easily navigate the UEFI BIOS with the same smoothness as their operating system. UEFI not only is easier to navigate, it also features capabilities such as support for boot drives above 2.2TB and the potential for faster boot times.

The BIOS version used at the time of these screenshots is version 0221, dated 04/06/2011. This is a pre-release BIOS version but the retail version will be very similar in terms of layout.


The UEFI BIOS can be used under two modes: EZ Mode and Advanced Mode. You can change modes from the Exit menu or from the Exit/Advanced Mode button in the EZ Mode/Advanced Mode screen.

By default, the EZ Mode screen appears when you enter the BIOS setup program and provides an overview of the basic system information, and allows you to select the display language, system performance mode and boot device priority.

The Advanced Mode naturally provides more fine tuning options which will allow experienced end-users to configure the BIOS settings and system performance. The main menu within the Advanced mode provides you an overview of the basic system information, and allows you to set the system date, time, language, and security settings.


The Ai Tweaker (an area where most users will spend their time) allows for configuration of overclocking-related items such as clock speeds and voltages. The target CPU and memory speed are displayed in yellow and the first setting is Ai Overclock Tuner.

If the AI OC Tuner is enabled, BCLK and multi adjustments become available along with a whole slew of other options. Other items like DRAM configurations, Load Line Calibration, VRM frequency and phase control are also found within the first part of this section.


The next section contains voltage adjustments for the CPU, memory, VCCIO, PLL and PCH.

CPU voltage has two modes, Manual Mode in which you set an exact vCore and Offset Mode in which you set a CPU offset voltage. DRAM voltage is your memory voltage (self-explanatory) and VCCIO voltage helps to improve the overclocking capability of the IMC / DRAM..


Above is a table of voltage ranges along with corresponding warning text colors. Use extreme caution when using those red voltages.

The CPU Power Management submenu has your Enhanced Intel Speedstep Technology setting and CPU Ratio. Naturally, you can disable Enhanced Intel Speedstep Technology to stop the multi from dropping under idle.
 
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Eldonko

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BIOS Rundown p.2

BIOS Rundown


The last submenu page of the Ai Tweaker is DRAM Timing Control. Here is where you set main and subtimings for your memory.

Moving over to the Advanced menu we have several submenus which allow you to change the settings for the CPU and other system devices.


The first submenu of the Advanced menu is CPU Configuration. The items in this menu show the CPU-related information that the BIOS automatically detects as well as several adjustable items. CPU Ratio allows you to set the ratio between the CPU Core Clock but the BCLK Frequency and we would have much rather seen this in the AI Tuner section. All of the other items in this section are pretty much self explanatory.


The System Agent Configuration page is where you find graphics modes. Initiate Graphic Adapter allows you to decide which graphics controller to use as the primary boot device. To use the onboard video ports required for Virtu this must be set to iGPU. iGPU Multi-Monitor must also be enabled for Virtu to work. Meanwhile, if the monitor is plugged into the discrete graphics card, Virtu will still work but the Initiate Graphic Adapter should be set to PCIE to avoid BSODs.

Finally, the SATA Configuration page allows you to set up SATA devices and modify the storage configuration.


Next up we have USB and Onboard Devices Configuration screens. When benchmarking you can disable any unneeded device to utilize fewer resources and thus improve overall scores.


Moving over a menu to the Monitor section we have the system temperature/power status and adjustable fan settings. Since we are running a fanless watercooling system fan controls were all set to ignore or disable.

The Boot menu allows (of course) for the ability to modify how the system starts up and change the default UEFI BIOS mode to either EZ or Advanced.

We found one issue related to this page though: even if the fans are set to Ignore you a CPU fan error will appear every time during POST. If you don’t have a fan installed and you have to disable F1 stop on error in order to actually boot. This will likely be resolved with an upcoming BIOS update that will hopefully make it into the retail boards.


The Tools menu contains EZ Flash 2, OC Profiles, and SPD Information for your memory. EZ Flash 2 is a handy tool to flash a BIOS from a flash drive or similar. This is much safer than flashing from Windows. SPD information reads the SPD from your memory modules including JEDEC and XMP profiles.

In our opinion the best part of the Tools menu is the ASUS OC Profiles page (shown above right). Here you can save various BIOS profiles which saves a ton of time when overclocking. The only issue is if you flash your BIOS, these will all be erased.
 
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Eldonko

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Test Setup and Testing Methodology

Test Setup and Testing Methodology

Test Setup


Our test setup consists of an Intel i7 2600k Sandy Bridge CPU, ASUS P8Z68-V PRO motherboard, and a kit of G.Skill memory. Here are a few shots of the setup and hardware:


First we have the whole test bench up and running. As you can see we used watercooling (Apogee XT) for the CPU along with two heatercores. A second GTX 460 was also added for SLI testing.


Above you can have a closer look at the CPU and memory. The 2600k used for testing was from batch L040B165.


Overclocking Methodology

At Hardware Canucks, we understand we have a diverse reader base and to represent a variety of user types, we put the P8Z68-V PRO through a number of overclocking tests.
  • Beginner Overclocker - To represent a beginner overclocker or a mainstream user that wants to have a quick and easy way to get some extra performance we used the OC Tuner setting found in the BIOS.
  • Experienced Overclocker - To represent an experienced overclocker that is looking for the optimal 24/7 overclock to maximize system performance while keeping voltage and temperatures in check we overclocked the P8Z68-V PRO manually and stopped when we started to get concerned with voltage levels.
  • Advanced Bencher - To represent the bencher that is looking for short benchmark runs at absolute maximum CPU and memory clocks we tested with sub-zero cooling and higher than recommended voltages. More on this is found in the sub-zero testing section.

We did stability testing a little differently for the Sandy Bridge platform than usual. The main stability test used was Linpack (LinX version 0.6.4) with memory usage set to 2,560MB and 25 loops run. In the enthusiast world, Linpack is a benchmark designed to measure performance on Intel CPUs in GFlops. However, it's also a very useful tool for checking the stability of a CPU and memory. LinX picks up very quickly and if you are able to complete a 25 loop test with the specifications above your system is likely stable or very close to it. Typically we would run LinX much longer than 25 loops and add in Prime95 and OCCT; however there have been reports of degrading Sandy Bridge CPU overclockability with running these types of torture tests for long periods.

To avoid risking damage to the processor, after LinX stability was achieved, 3 runs of 3DMark Vantage and 3 runs of 3DMark 11 were run to test 3d stability. Once an overclock passed these tests, this is the point deemed as “stable” for the purposes of this review.

Windows 7 Service Pack 1 was installed to take advantage of the Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) with Sandy Bridge processors. Intel AVX is a 256-bit SIMD floating point vector extension of Intel architecture. The BIOS used for overclocking and benchmarking was version 0221, dated 04/06/2011. This is a pre-release BIOS version however the retail version will be very similar in terms of layout. For Virtu tests version 8801 was used.


Benchmarking Methodology

Benchmarks in the System Benchmarks section will be a comparison of the i7 2600k at stock speed, at auto overclock speed as set by OC Tuner, and at maximum 24/7 overclock to give an idea of how much performance a user can gain when overclocking the P8Z68-V PRO. For SLI tests, the 24/7 overclocked speed was used to test performance between one and two GTX 460 video cards in 3D benchmarks and games.

For stock testing, optimized defaults were loaded putting the CPU at 3511Mhz (35 x 100.03) and memory at 669Mhz and 9-9-9-24 2T timings. The auto overclocked speed on the i7 2600k for OC Tuner was 4430Mhz (43 x 103.0) with memory at 961Mhz and 9-9-9-24 2T timings. The overclocked speed on the i7 2600k for 24/7 stability was 5000Mhz (50 x 100.0) with memory at 1067Mhz and 9-9-9-28 1T timings. Nvidia ForceWare 270.61 drivers were used for 3D along with Windows 7 Premium 64 bit SP1.
 
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Eldonko

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Overclocking Results

Overclocking Results

Throughout the course of testing, we put the P8Z68-V Pro through countless hours of overclocking; from auto overclocking to manual overclocking to sub-zero benchmarking where we used more voltage than most people should try. In this section we will go over our overclocking experience with the OC Tuner overclock and then our manual overclocking results.

The OC Tuner utility is found in the BIOS and all you have to do is click ok and the system reboots with an auto overclock applied. The P8Z68-V Pro uses an algorithm based on the CPU it detects and sets an appropriate overclock. For our 2600K, OC Tuner boosted the CPU speed to 4430Mhz (43 x 103.0) and memory to 961Mhz @ 9-9-9 2T. A 1000Mhz overclock with the click of a button is as easy as it gets. We threw every stability test we had at the OC Tuner overclock; [email protected], 3D, gaming, LinX, nothing ever picked up an error.

However, when we tried a 2500K, OC Tuner was not giving quite enough voltage and the system would freeze up on occasion. That said, OC Tuner works well, but with our pre-release BIOS, it wasn’t perfect. ASUS can easily resolve this in the future with a BIOS update, and the retail board BIOS may have already addressed this issue.


Next we went straight for the 5Ghz milestone with manual overclocking. 5Ghz is quite a jump over our chip’s reference speed of 3.4Ghz so we weren’t quite sure if this was an unrealistic goal but in the end it was almost too easy to achieve.

Starting with a CPU overclock without touching the memory we went right for 50x multi and 100.0 BCLK. We booted into Windows with offset set to +0.1v and played with LLC until we saw the level of vdroop we were looking for. Setting LLC to High and offset to +0.1v was close to stable but we got a few errors and had to increase offset to +0.11. In terms of actual voltage readings these settings gave 1.456V idle and 1.416V load, a droop of 0.04v. Load temperatures hovered around 60C with our water cooling setup and after completing all stability tests we deemed this the optimal voltage for 5Ghz on this chip.


You really can use a variety of settings to achieve your overclocking goals with this board and DIGI+ VRM in AI Suite II makes tweaking easy and painless. The DIGI+ VRM section has LLC levels as well as CPU Current Capability and DIGI+ VRM Frequency. TurboV EVO also gives you every voltage at your fingertips. We also advise you to keep the onboard EPU and TPU switches off when overclocking so throttling doesn’t occur.

Next up we aimed to optimize our memory to go with the 5Ghz on the CPU. Since our modules are rated for 1067 @ 9-9-9 and 1.65V which was easily achieved. Further reducing the timings was also possible and we ended up at 7-9-7.

After achieving a great overclock with very minimal effort we have to say that this Z68 board clocks just as well as its P67 brother.
 
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Eldonko

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Sub-Zero Overclocking Results

Sub-Zero Overclocking Results

Intel dropped a bombshell on the benching community with the release of Sandy Bridge since overclocking these processors doesn’t carry the simple equation of higher volts + cooler temperatures = higher CPU speed. BCLK is hardly overclockable at all, generally capping out at 107 or 108 at the most and overclocking is all done based on multiplier changes. This makes unlocked K-series chips like the 2600K desirable for overclockers while lower-end models won’t have the ability to drastically increase their clock speeds.


The phase change cooler used is these tests a large single stage unit with a 10,500 btu rotary compressor, a mix of r410a and r22a gasses, and a 5 foot flex line. The cooler is tuned for a 300W heat load at -30C so it can handle Sandy Bridge with ease. Temps were low -50s idle and around -42C loaded at 1.60v. The 2600K we tested had no cold bug and it reacted normally to the sub-zero temperatures.


The P8Z68 worked flawlessly with sub-zero operation and exhibited no cold bugs, boot issues or anything else out of the ordinary. Overall, the board was very easy to work with.

In the end we were able to match our test CPU’s max of 5758Mhz; a speed achieved with a few other boards in the past. Regardless of voltage or multi, Sandy Bridge chips have a speed cap, and we were lucky enough to get one that approaches 5800Mhz. The point of testing the max CPU speed with this board was to see if we could max out the chip.


Above are the best SuperPI 32M, SuperPI 1M, and Pifast runs we could manage with the P8Z68-V Pro and 2600K. We actually managed to achieve personal best times for 1M and PIFAST with fairly minimal effort as the P8Z68-V Pro allowed us to bench our chip at its max speed of 5758Mhz.
 
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Eldonko

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System Benchmarks


SuperPI Benchmark

SuperPi calculates the number of digits of PI in a pure 2D benchmark. For the purposes of this review, calculation to 32 million places will be used. RAM speed, RAM timings, CPU speed, L2 cache, and Operating System tweaks all effect the speed of the calculation, and this has been one of the most popular benchmarks among enthusiasts for several years.

SuperPi was originally written by Yasumasa Kanada in 1995 and was updated later by snq to support millisecond timing, cheat protection and checksum. The version used in these benchmarks, 1.5 is the official version supported by hwbot.



A 26% increase in SuperPI 32M is noted going from stock speed of 3511Mhz (Turbo is on by default) to OC Tuner speed of 4430Mhz on the i7 2600k and ASUS P8Z68-V Pro. Jumping up to the manual overclock speed of 5000Mhz we see a higher 29% gain.


CINEBENCH R11.5

CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer's performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation.

In this system benchmark section we will use the x64 Main Processor Performance (CPU) test scenario. The Main Processor Performance (CPU) test scenario uses all of the system's processing power to render a photorealistic 3D scene (from the viral "No Keyframes" animation by AixSponza). This scene makes use of various algorithms to stress all available processor cores. The test scene contains approximately 2,000 objects which in turn contain more than 300,000 polygons in total, and uses sharp and blurred reflections, area lights, shadows, procedural shaders, antialiasing, and much more. The result is displayed in points (pts). The higher the number, the faster your processor.



The CINEBENCH R11.5 results show an impressive increase in performance in rendering moving from a stock system to two levels of an overclocked system.


Sandra Processor Arithmetic and Processor Multi-Media Benchmarks

SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility. The software suite provides most of the information (including undocumented) users like to know about hardware, software, and other devices whether hardware or software. The name “Sandra” is a (girl) name of Greek origin that means "defender", "helper of mankind".

The software version used for these tests is SiSoftware Sandra Professional Home XII.SP2c and the two benchmarks used are the Processor Multi-Media and Processor Arithmetic benchmarks. These three benchmarks were chosen as they provide a good indication of three varying types of system performance. The multi-media test shows how the processor handles multi-media instructions and data and the arithmetic test shows how the processor handles arithmetic and floating point instructions. These two tests illustrate two important areas of a computer’s speed and provide a wide scope of results.





Sandra processor arithmetic and multi-media show very impressive improvements on an overclocked system, with 42-43% gains in performance across the board in arithmetic and multi-media for the manual overclock and 27% gains for the OC Tuner overclock.


MaxxMem Benchmark

Created by MaxxPI², the MaxxMem benchmark tests your computer’s raw memory performance, combining copy, read, write and latency tests into one global score. This memory benchmark is a classic way to measure bandwidth of a memory subsystem.
MaxxMem uses continuous memoryblocks, sized in power of 2 from 16MB up to 512MB, starting either writing to or reading from it. To enable high-precision memory performance measurement, they both internally work with multiple passes and averages calculations per run.

Further, the main goal was to minimize (CPU) cache pollution on memory reads and to eliminate it (almost completely) on memory writes. Additionally, MaxxMem operates with an aggressive data prefetching algorithm. This all will deliver an excellent judge of bandwidth while reading and writing.





Moving from stock speed to OC Tuner speeds of 4430Mhz and 961Mhz on memory we see impressive gains of 28-37% in memory read, write, and copy and things naturally improve further as higher frequencies are achieved.
 
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Eldonko

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SLI Benchmarks


This section will put the P8Z68-V Pro to the test and provide an overview of single card vs. SLI performance. The objective here is to see how much we gain by adding a second GPU to the system. For SLI testing, two GTX 460s were used, both running at a speed of 763/950. All tests were completed using Nvidia ForceWare 270.61 drivers and Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit. In the following tests, Virtu was disabled and all SLI comparisons were ran at manual overclock settings (5000Mhz/1067Mhz 9-9-9 1T).


3DMark 11 Benchmark:

3DMark 11 is the most recent release by Futuremark, creators of the 3DMark suite. 3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world’s most popular benchmark for measuring the graphics performance of gaming PCs. Designed for testing DirectX 11 hardware running on Windows 7 and Windows Vista the benchmark includes six all new benchmark tests that make extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading.

After running the tests 3DMark gives your system a score with larger numbers indicating better performance. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

For our testing, we will use the Performance setting with all other settings at default. The build version is the latest Advanced version of 3DMark 11.



Results: If you want that extra 3D performance, SLI results are really where the P8Z68-V Pro shines with gain in 3DMarks (performance preset) of 3,009 or an improvement of 85%!


3DMark Vantage Benchmark:

3DMark Vantage is a recent release by Futuremark, creators of the 3DMark suite. This program was the first Futuremark version of 3DMark designed exclusively for Windows Vista. 3DMark Vantage consists of 2 CPU and 2 GPU tests as well as and 6 feature tests all of which are very hardware intensive. Four presets are available to allow for those with older PCs to benchmark just as easily as those with cutting edge hardware. For our testing, we will use the Performance setting with all other settings at default. The build version is the latest patched version of Vantage v1.0.1.


Results: Similar to 3DMark 11, the P8Z68-V Pro shows an excellent improvement in Vantage with a gain of 82% when a second GTX 460 is added.


World in Conflict Benchmark:

The World in Conflict in-game benchmark is a great test to show video card performance in real gaming situations. Under the Graphics menu in options, you can choose a variety of video settings and there is a "Run Benchmark" button. The actual benchmark uses all of the game’s graphic capabilities and is a good indication which settings will be optimal for a user’s system. For the tests below resolution was set to 1920x1080 and graphics was set to “Very High” which gives fullscreen anti-alias at 4x and anisotropic filtering at 4x.


Results: In a gaming benchmark that simulates gaming situations, the performance gained when running SLI vs. a single card is on par with 3DMark improvements. When adding a second GTX 460, FPS improves 83%!


Street Fighter IV Benchmark:

This benchmark tool from Capcom was originally released for users to test the capabilities of their PC for the release of Street Fighter 4. The benchmark contains several bouts, filled with hadoukens and kicks to the face and provides users with a score and average frames per second. For our tests we are more concerned with FPS as this is a good indication of how SLI will run in a gaming situation. Settings used were C16xQAA and a resolution of 1920x1080.


Results: Yet another gaming benchmark with huge gains in FPS from SLI. A second GTX 460 improves FPS by a whopping 90%!


Far Cry 2 Benchmark:

Far Cry 2 is the popular first-person shooter from Ubisoft's Montreal studio, and the first game to utilize the new visually stunning Dunia Engine. The Benchmarking is excellent and does a great job in giving an accurate measurement of gaming situations. We ran the Long Ranch demo in DX10 mode at 1920x1080 with all settings set to very high and anti aliasing set to 4x.


Results: The Far Cry 2 DX10 Benchmark is very graphics dependant and shows how the P8Z68 gets the best out of a second video card. FPS almost doubles with a second GTX 460 with an improvement of 86%.

As you can see from the tests above, the P8Z68-V Pro is great for running SLI as we have seen gains in 3D of 82 to 90% simply by adding a second GPU.
 
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Eldonko

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Load-Line Calibration

Load-Line Calibration

Load-line Calibration is defined by Intel’s VRM spec and affects CPU voltage. In short, the CPU’s working voltage will decrease proportionally to load so higher load-line calibration nets higher voltage and better overclocking performance. The P8Z68-V Pro has five levels of load-line calibration: 0% (Regular), 25% (Medium), 50% (High), 75% (Ultra High), and 100% (Extreme). In this section we will test each level of LLC so we can give users an idea of what to expect from each level.

First let’s take a look at our testing equipment and methodology.


The tiny resistors between the CPU socket and the chokes are the best spot to read vCore from. We soldered a read point to the board and grounded it to a nearby fan header.


We taped it down to keep it in place and put the digital multimeter probes into the corresponding leads on the Molex connector. This gives the most accurate reading possible and saves trying to poke at a spot that is covered from a water block.


For these tests the system was set at 4.5Ghz and vCore was set to 1.4v in the BIOS. The results of the testing are found in the above table.


As you can see, LLC set to Ultra High or Extreme actually gives more voltage under load than you set in the BIOS while Regular gives over 0.1V less (under load) than what’s set in the BIOS. We found that the Ultra Setting was quite well done since vDroop is essentially eliminated.
 
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Conclusion

Conclusion

New chipset launches are always among the most anticipated events for enthusiasts. Essentially, we all want to see innovation, a good pricing structure for new motherboards and some new features thrown in for good measure but the Z68 only partially achieves these goals.

Intel’s RST caching technology can provide a huge step forward for overall system performance but it requires the purchase of another -somewhat expensive- component to achieve any kind of functionality. But when that extra money is invested in an inexpensive SSD to work alongside a large capacity hard drive, a Z68-based system can really fly.

Meanwhile, Lucid’s Virtu looks great on paper but its somewhat complex setup process and limited compatibility when in iGPU mode will likely make it a hindrance as opposed to a useful tool for most users. It could however become a real game changer as the software matures and more companies hop on board to support it.

Another issue for some users will likely stem from the pricing structure as most Z68 boards (including the P8Z68-V Pro) will retail for $20 to $40 more than their comparable P67 siblings. Nonetheless, we feel like ASUS has done a bang up job with the P8Z68-V PRO and has actually added value to its product rather than pricing it too high.

Other than a hefty $30 price premium, it may seem like there isn’t all that much to distinguish the P8Z68-V Pro from its competitor in ASUS’ P67 lineup but that’s far from the truth. The repositioning and redesign of the onboard power / reset switches was a welcome change and the new 16 phase power design didn’t so much as flinch when faced with a 5.8Ghz CPU overclock. The UEFI has also undergone some much needed maturity lessons and is an absolute joy to use.

Speaking of overclocking, we were able to hit personal bests with our 2600K in a matter of hours rather than days. This was likely due to a combination of the highly intuitive UEFI design and some good old fashioned engineering excellence on ASUS' part. Honestly, the attention to detail for overclockers which ASUS has put into this board belies its $209 asking price and makes us wish some higher-end P67 boards behaved this well under stress.

Nearly every aspect of the P8Z68-V Pro feels refined. ASUS’ overclocking software suite in particular needs to be singled out since it has finally become a viable alternative to using the BIOS. Granted, there was a small hiccup where we received a CPU Fan error every time the system booted without a 4-pin fan plugged in but that was the only minor annoyance in an otherwise great experience.

As far as Z68 boards go, ASUS’ P8Z68-V Pro should be at the very top of your list since we feel it offers a great mix of performance and user friendliness. At $209 this is not an out of this world value by any stretch of the imagination but it does offer one of the most well-rounded motherboard experiences currently available. In our opinion the P8Z68-V Pro is a competent motherboard that’s priced at just the right level to make it very appealing for people who didn’t jump onto the P67 bandwagon.



Pros

- Great board layout, plenty of space between PCI-E slots
- Auto overclocking takes a click of a button and provides a 1000Mhz boost
- Manual overclocking was very easy
- Hassle free sub-zero overclocking
- Lots of power saving options
- Top of the line NIC with Intel Gigabit LAN controller
- 4 USB 3.0 ports and 4 SATA6G ports
- Ai Tuner II is a very handy tool
- Attractive and user-friendly UEFI BIOS
- Power and Reset buttons present on the PCB for ease of use with test bench


Cons

- $40 more than a comparable P67 board for limited additional features
- Had some stability issues with OC Tuner and a 2500K
- Minor BIOS bug causing a CPU fan warning


 
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