ASUS P8Z77 WS Workstation Z77 Motherboard Review
Power Consumption and Conclusion
The power consumption numbers for the P8Z77 WS board are consistent with the other Intel Z77-based desktop system. In comparison with the load numbers, the idle numbers show that the board is effectively using its power-saving features.
Note that the power consumption numbers are consistent with what you would see using a medium to high-end video card with the board, since the ATI 5870 series video cards are notoriously power hungry.
I was pleasantly surprised with the ASUS P8Z77 WS board’s performance with it displaying on-par or better performance across the range of application testing. The board seems to be optimized for both office-type and gaming applications with a plethora of tweak-able performance and power-based options within the UEFI BIOS. I was not as impressed with its TurboV-based Auto Tuning engine due to the failures I experienced when attempting to use it, but the general overclocking experience with the board was a good one once the board was manually dialed in.
In addition to the overclocking and performance-related applets bundled with the Ai Suite II package, ASUS includes many system-enhancement type applets to help the user dial-in the system for efficient operation. The Probe II applet show real-time statistics on BIOS-monitored system temperatures and voltages. Additionally, the user has the ability to create thresholds automatically triggering system events and applications based on those measured settings.
The Fan Xpert applet controls operational parameters for system fans attached to the onboard fan headers. This applet gives the user the option to configure fan operation for system-automated control or user configured control based on temperature threshold settings.
The Sensor Recorder applet tracks system voltage, temperature, and fan speed values over time for values selected for tracking by the user. Additionally, history logs can be generated based on these time graphs and archived for later assessment.
The ASUS SSD Caching applet allows the user to configure an attached SSD hard drive as a memory cache for a spindle-based hard drive. This caching increases the performance of the traditional hard-drive by leveraging the speed of the SSD as a repository for frequently accessed data. The only limitation of this solution is that both drives must be connected to the Marvell-controlled SATA ports and the Drive Xpert Mode setting within the UEFI BIOS Tools\ASUS Drive Xpert page must be set to Normal Mode for the drives to be accessible by the software applet.
As of October 21, the ASUS P8Z77 WS motherboard was available at Newegg.com for $339.99 with free shipping. The board was also available from other retailers such as Amazon.com for $342.99 and TigerDirect for $339.99.
We would like to take this opportunity to give our friends at ASUS a hearty “Thank you” for allowing us to review the P8Z77 WS motherboard. At stock operational speeds, the board was a performance powerhouse, easily running with whatever was thrown its way. Couple that performance with the board’s ability to support 4-way NVIDIA SLI or AMD CrossFire and you have the potential for a gaming super-board. Add the gravy of ASUS’ superior implementation of their UEFI BIOS and you have a winner on your hands.
However, the board did have some potential pitfalls that I ran straight into. The board fell short in the overclocking department. It wanted to go fast, but getting it to manually stabilize became a test of my abilities and patience. I was disappointed that TurboV Auto Tune did not cooperate also after hearing about the successes other PC Perspective reviewers have had with it.
- UEFI BIOS implementation and ease of use
- Stock performance
- number of available PCI-Express x16 slots
- onboard tri-colored status logo
- difficulty with board dial-in during overclocking stability testing
- lack of accessible PCI-Express x1 slot with all PCI-Express x16 slots populated
- CMOS battery placement
- price point