Asus goes beyond expectations
The P8Z68-V Pro was one of the first Z68
boards to break cover, and it’s a typical Asus board – well built and packed to
the gills with features. Intel’s Z68 is the missing link between the Integrated
Graphics Processor (IGP) support of the H67 and the overclocking potential of
the P67 chipsets, and is a neat hybrid of the two.
You’ll still need a K series processor on
hand to take care of the overclocking bit of the equation, but you can now
overclock and use Intel’s rather good Quick Sync video encoding technology with
a discrete GPU plugged in too. It therefore seems surprisingly conservative of
Asus to have only five boards bases around the new chipset, with two of these
being part of the all-singing, all-dancing Republic of Gamers family.
If you are familiar with Asus motherboards,
you might be saying to yourself: ‘Hang on a minute, isn’t that a P8P67 Pro?’
Well, yes the boars are very similar in appearance, but Asus has tweaked a few
things here and there, moving some components around and bringing in new ones.
The ‘pro’ bits
The most obvious of these are the video
output options for the Z68 chipset on the rear I/O panel; VGA, HDMI and DVI
out. Something to bear in mind about the DVI port though is that it’s only
single link, which limits the resolution of the screen it can support to
1,920x1,200 at 60MHz.
The SATA ports are all edge-mounted at 900
and are colour-code so you know what’s what, as Asus has brought support for
another pair of SATA 6Gbps ports (thanks to Marvell controller) op top of the
two ports supported by the Z68 chipset, alongside the four 3Gbps already on
This Z68 also brings Lucid Virtu technology
with it to help solve a problem Intel really ought to have sorted out on its
own. Though as Intel has bought a rather substantial chunk of Lucid, it seems
it’s found a shortcut to solve that particular issue. The problem in question
being the rather annoying fact that you couldn’t use QuickSyns at the same time
as using a discrete card with a Sandy Bridge CPU.
Pick and mix
The Virtu software picks up both graphics
sources and, through the software management layer, lets the motherboard switch
from one source to another depending on how much graphical grunt an application
Although we only got our 2600K to 4.7GHz,
if you’re interested is more serious overclocking exploits then the Asus
P8Z68-V Pro isn’t a bad motherboard to play around with, especially given the
price delta compared with the serious Republic of Gamers boards. The BIOS has
enough depth to allow you to get a lot out of your K series chip, and for a
comparatively reasonable price.
From the multitude of adjustments in the
EFI BISO through to Asus’ new 14-phase Digi+ VRM to supply the CPU power design
– plus another two for the memory – it’s a feature-rich setup. This makes the Asus’
P8Z68-V Pro one of the best mainstream Z68 boards on offer, nailing all the
main expectations we had about the second generation of Core CPUs.
P8Z68-V Pro comes with a great overclocking pedigree
One of the best mainstream Z68 motherboards
you can buy right now, and comes with a great overclocking pedigree