Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe - The Best Mini-ITX Motherboard

11/17/2012 7:44:35 PM

The best mini-ITX motherboard we've seen

Considering its huge influence in the motherboard market, Asus has been strangely reserved in the mini-ITX arena. Its offerings have so far usually focused on Intel Atom, Nvidia Ion or AMD embedded models, rather than open-socket, enthusiast-orientated boards. All that changes with the P8Z77-I Deluxe, though.

Description: Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe

Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe

If ever there was a mini-ITX fan boy's dream motherboard, the Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe is the closest we've seen to it becoming a reality. The board has 10-phase digital power delivery-considerably more than either the ASRock or Zotac. This comes courtesy of the large VRM daughterboard that sticks out at a right angle at the top of the motherboard. It's a rare and inherently expensive feature to have on a motherboard, but despite this extravagance, the P8Z77-I Deluxe only costs $30 more than its two competitors in this Labs test.

The daughterboard also houses the VRMs, so they aren't peppered across the PCB, further reducing its already limited real-estate. As a result, items such as the 8-pin EPS12V connector and USB 3 header have been located at the edge of the PCB, rather than the middle. There's also a lot of room around the CPU socket, so water blocks and large air coolers shouldn't have compatibility issues.

However, there is one sizeable issue, and that's the on-board audio header. It's located below the back of the PCI-E graphics slot and, with a case audio connector plugged in, it fouls most graphics cards. Our test setup only just worked with the header connected but we needed to use a fair amount of force on the graphics card to make it fit, which caused the motherboard to bend in the process.

Thankfully, the P8Z77-I Deluxe doesn't disappoint in terms of features. It has more USB ports than any other board on test - a total of eight USB 2 and six USB 3, and is the only board to offer Bluetooth as well as WiFi. Like the ASRock, it also features single DisplayPort, HDMI and DVI outputs, along with two SATA3Gbps and two SATA 6Gbps ports, plus an additional pair of eSATA6Gbps ports.

While it has noon-board power or reset buttons, or POST error code readout, there's a CMOS clear switch on the I/O panel, as well as a button for Asus' USB BIOS Flashback, a nifty feature that enables you to flash the BIOS without powering on the board -you don't even need a CPU in the socket.

Description: The board also includes Asus' AI Suite II software, which includes a vast array of useful tweaking and monitoring utilities.

The board also includes Asus' AI Suite II software, which includes a vast array of useful tweaking and monitoring utilities. For example, Fan Xpert provides hands-on control over fans connected to the motherboard, and you can even set fan profile curves and automatic temperature responses.

Meanwhile, the Wi-Fi Go! software uses the included Wi-Fi module and antennas to essentially turn the P8Z77-I Deluxe into a wireless access point, enabling you use it as a DLNA streaming hub, and control your PC using your mobile phone.


Unlike the other two boards tested in this labs test, the P8Z77-I Deluxe managed to Turbo Boost to 3.9GHz, giving it a dear lead in our benchmarks at stock speeds - a 127-point lead in our video encoding test, and a 70-point lead overall. In Arma II, it was 6fps faster than the next best result too, with a minimum frame rate of 129fps. It also had the fastest SATA 6Gbps speeds on test, although only by a whisker over the ASRock.

Overclocking the P8Z77-I Deluxe was also incredibly easy. We simply needed to gradually work our way up to our maximum CPU frequency, but even when we were a little over-zealous, the P8Z77-I Deluxe recovered instantly, so we could carry on.

There's a wealth of overclocking options too, though not quite as many as you'd see on a current Asus RoG motherboard.

Even so, there was enough flexibility to push our Intel Core i7-3770Kto its 4.8GHz limit using a 1.28V vcore. Here, the CPU had a toasty temperature of 97°C at load, but it was still perfectly stable. This yielded huge gains in our benchmarks, with the overall score rising from 2,210 to 2,868, while the Arma II minimum frame rate rose to 135fps.

Description: The 10-phase digital power delivery comes courtesy of a large VRM daughterboard at the top of the motherboard.

The 10-phase digital power delivery comes courtesy of a large VRM daughterboard at the top of the motherboard.


The Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe is expensive for mini-ITX board. Infact, Asus' larger micro-ATX Maximus V Gene costs only a little more and has far more features. However, if you're considering a mini-ITX system, you're probably already comfortable with the idea of shunning expansion slots and exotic on-board audio systems in favor of reduced size, and the P8Z77-I Deluxe is a marvel for its size.

It's fast, loaded with features and very easy to use; the only slight issue with it is the PCB layout. Asus hasn't only joined the enthusiast mini-ITX party, but also thrown in a case of champagne.

Pros and cons

P8: Excellent EFI; loaded with features; great over clocker

P45: Same price as good micro-ATX boards; lacks expansion; on-board sound header fouls graphics card


How much?

Price: $216 inc VAT



Speed: 41/45

Features: 28/30

Value: 21/25

Overall: 90%

Top 10
New App for Women ‘Remix’ Offers Fashion Advice & Style Tips
SG50 Ferrari F12berlinetta : Prancing Horse for Lion City's 50th
The latest Audi TT : New angles for TT
Era of million-dollar luxury cars
Game Review : Hearthstone - Blackrock Mountain
Game Review : Battlefield Hardline
Google Chromecast
Keyboards for Apple iPad Air 2 (part 3) - Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Air 2
Keyboards for Apple iPad Air 2 (part 2) - Zagg Slim Book for iPad Air 2
Keyboards for Apple iPad Air 2 (part 1) - Belkin Qode Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2
- First look: Apple Watch

- 3 Tips for Maintaining Your Cell Phone Battery (part 1)

- 3 Tips for Maintaining Your Cell Phone Battery (part 2)
Popular Tags
Video Tutorail Microsoft Access Microsoft Excel Microsoft OneNote Microsoft PowerPoint Microsoft Project Microsoft Visio Microsoft Word Active Directory Exchange Server Sharepoint Sql Server Windows Server 2008 Windows Server 2012 Windows 7 Windows 8 Adobe Flash Professional Dreamweaver Adobe Illustrator Adobe Photoshop CorelDRAW X5 CorelDraw 10 windows Phone 7 windows Phone 8 Iphone