Asus P8Z68V Pro review

Intel's newest chipset gets the Asus treatment

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Our Verdict

The Z68 is all the best bits of the Sandy Bridge architecture, and the P8Z68V Pro displays it all for a decent price too.

For

  • Lucid Virtu power saving
  • Smart Response works well
  • iGPU and discrete living together
  • Good value

Against

  • Smart Response awkward to setup
  • what P67 ought to have been all along

We've been looking forward to the Intel Z68 platform since we first played with the Intel Sandy Bridge platform, and now it's here in the shape of the Asus P8Z68V Pro.

When Intel released its new generation of processors in January they were met with general applause and excitement. The champagne flowed, party poppers flew everywhere - ah, good times.

The Sandy Bridge processors, like the Intel Core i5 2500K and the Intel Core i7 2600K, are super-quick, suited to video transcoding and tread encouraging new ground in the muddy field of integrated graphics.

The improvements over the Lynnfield, and even some Bloomfield, chips are dramatic in terms of performance if not architecture - super-fast integrated memory controller, lower L3 cache, and greater efficiency thanks to a decoded Cache that grabs instructions the instant they're decoded - and can also hack a greater instruction bandwidth than its predecessors.

The real-world performance of Sandy Bridge all but surpasses Intel's top of the line Gulftown chip - the Intel Core i7 990X Extreme Edition.

Unlike the 990X EE, the price tags are also real-world, around £500 separating the most expensive Sandy Bridge CPU and Intel's flagship chip.

Flagchip?

In the months since Sandy Bridge's release though, the champagne has given us all a headache and the party poppers have left a gunpowder smell in the air that's making us feel sick. The H67 and P67 motherboards that support the new CPUs have been adequate at best, and at worst frustrating and physically harmful to our systems.

The biggie for the Intel Socket LGA 1,155 P67 chipset was a design error that caused potential long-term damage to devices attached via SATA 3Gbps.

The dodgy SATA controller provoked a massive recall by Intel, and though they identified the issue before systems started exploding or anything, the recall stunted SNB upgrading while everyone waited for Intel to release the B3 revision of the chipset, like the Asus P8P67 Pro B3, a board that doesn't chew up our SATA devices.

It also distracted upgraders from other issues with the H67 and P67 boards. Issues caused by conscious decisions by Intel rather than oversights.

Namely a lack of baseclock overclocking and stunting of the Quick Sync video transcoding goodness if you wanted to use a discrete graphics card in your PC

That was until the release of this the Z68 chipset, here in the guise of the Asus P8Z68V Pro, will, Intel hopes, eradicate all grumbles with 6 series boards.

Tags

Tech Specs

Product TypeDesktop Motherboard
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelZ68 Express
Multi GPU SupportedCrossFireX, SLI
Onboard VideoCPU Dependent Video
Number of PCI Express x16 Slots2
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Processor SocketSocket H2 LGA-1155
Brand NameAsus
Form FactorATX
Processor SupportedCore i3, Core i5, Core i7, Pentium Dual-core
Total Processor Supported1
Maximum Memory32 GB
Green CompliantYes
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Memory Slots4
Number of PCI Slots2
Audio Channels7.1
BluetoothYes
Gigabit EthernetYes
Number of SATA Interfaces8
RAID SupportedYes
Number of Total Expansion Slots7
eSATAYes
HDMIYes
DVIYes
Number of Network (RJ-45) Ports1
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Total Number of USB Ports6
Number of USB 3.0 Ports2
Total Number of Onboard USB Ports8
Number of Onboard USB 2.0 Ports6
Total Number of Onboard FireWire/i.LINK Ports2
PCI Express StandardPCI Express 2.0
Total Number of PCI Express Slots5
Memory Form FactorDIMM
Number of eSATA Ports1
Processor TechnologyTurbo Boost Technology 2.0, Hyper-Threading Technology, Enhanced SpeedStep Technology
Width304.8 mm
Depth243.8 mm
ManufacturerASUS Computer International
Product ModelP8Z68-V PRO
Product NameP8Z68-V PRO Desktop Motherboard
Controller TypeSerial ATA/300, Serial ATA/600
Manufacturer Part NumberP8Z68-V PRO
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.asus.com
Marketing Information

This motherboard supports the latest Intel second generation Core i7/Core i5/Core i3 processors in the LGA1155 package, with memory and PCI Express controllers integrated to support 2-channel (4 DIMM) DDR3 memory and 16 PCI Express 2.0 lanes. This provides great graphics performance. Intel second generation Core i7/Core i5/Core i3 processors are among the most powerful and energy efficient CPUs in the world.

Package Contents
  • P8Z68-V PRO Desktop Motherboard
  • User's Manual
  • ASUS Q-Shield
  • 2 x SATA 3Gb/s Cables
  • 2 x SATA 6Gb/s Cables
  • 1 x SLI Bridge
  • 1 x Q-connectors (2 in 1)
  • 1 x ASUS USB 3.0 Bracket
Limited Warranty3 Year