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Intel Z68 Chipset Review: dGPU and iGPU living together, SSD Caching and Overclocking

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: ASUS

The P8Z68-V Pro BIOS

For my testing on the P8Z68-V Pro, ASUS wasn’t able to provide the final mass production BIOS before I had to leave for a trip so the images you see here might vary slightly from what you’ll see if you pick up this board, but most will remain the same.

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ASUS continues to strive forward with their innovative UEFI BIOS implementation allows them to provide some improved functionality and display much improved imagery and information. On the basic view of the BIOS, you will see an easy to view clock, information on your current system setup, basic results for temperature and voltage along with system performance presets and the boot priority for any hard drives installed. Overall, many users will find this view the easiest to understand and get around.

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Once you switch to the Advanced mode though you will see some more typical BIOS options for overclocking, settings and more. The menus are divided into sub-sections of AI Tweaker (overclocking), Advanced, Monitor, Boot and Tools.

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This screen shows the primary options in the AI Tweaker that allow the user to adjust the base clock speeds, ratios for Turbo Boost settings, memory multiplier and more.

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The P8Z68-V Pro allows to you adjust the ratio on the Turbo multipliers on a per-core basis or all at once. The benefit of setting this to adjust all together is that you can then adjust them in software in Windows.

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DDR3 memory speeds can be adjusted to any number of multipliers based on the base clock rate.

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Memory timing adjustments are plentiful and are likely more in-depth that most of us will ever use or need.

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The CPU Power Management section includes option for tweaking the voltage and current going to the cores during Turbo Mode which can help users get the absolute limit of the overclocking capability out their CPU.

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More voltage controls are found in the AI Tweaker section and allow individual control of the CPU voltage by either an offset or a direct input. Voltages for the memory, chipset and PLL are also included here with some additional ones for more detailed overclockers.

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The BIOS Advanced tab includes options for initiating the integrated or discrete graphics first and setting up how much primary memory the processor graphics is able to use from main system memory. When we discuss the Lucid Virtu setup you will see that the GPU option we set to the “initial” will help us determine which graphics card we attach our primary monitor to.

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There are a ton of features on the P8Z68-V Pro motherboard and they can all be controlled here.

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The Monitor section of the BIOS includes the ability to check on your voltages, temperatures, fan speeds and to set limits and options for those fan speeds.

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Here you can set the boot options for your system and also which version of the UEFI BIOS that will load when you hit the delete key.

Overall, the impression from the ASUS BIOS is one of a highly improved user interface with options that more or less properly explained and detailed to a point where the average user can finally dive in and at least not feel completely overwhelmed. There are still some motherboards (like those from Intel) that give us more descriptions and are a bit easier to understand for the western audience, but the ASUS P8Z68-V Pro is impressive on all fronts.

May 11, 2011 | 12:18 AM - Posted by Tim Verry

Finally, the NDA is over :D

May 11, 2011 | 02:36 AM - Posted by Chaitanya Shukla (not verified)

I will wait the ROG motherboard from Asus for my next PC, lets hope the wait will be worth it.

May 11, 2011 | 08:07 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

No mention of USB-3 eh? What gives?

May 11, 2011 | 10:59 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

What do you mean? It is mentioned on the second page of the review and the chipset itself continues to NOT implement it directly making it a motherboard vendors choice.

May 11, 2011 | 03:36 PM - Posted by klatch

I've noticed that MSI is promoting their "Military Class" features and Giga-Byte is pushing their "Ultra Durable 3" stuff, with each of them talking about things like solid capaciters and other things that make the boards more durable and have a longer life expectancy. I don't see any of this from ASUS; is this just a marketing failure on their side or do they not use the same quality of components etc that MSI and Giga-Byte do? Or is it not a big deal in the first place. I looked at their site and only the "Deluxe" Z68 board lists solid capacitors.

Side note: I posted this before but I must not have put the verification code in after submitting before closing the screen. Is there not a way to make the verification code be on-screen at the time I compose the post or will that make things bad for the site with spammers?

May 11, 2011 | 01:34 PM - Posted by klatch

Additionally, I saw that in the hardocp review they talk about having an issue where the processor wouldn't do anything other than max frequency and idle frequency if there were any changes made to default bios settings (ie: it woudln't scale between those properly. Did you guys notice this also? They say it isn't a big deal but for me, even though I do intend to overclock, I also want to be as smart as possible with power usage. Details here, about 3/4 of the way down in the under the heading called "Note": http://www.hardocp.com/article/2011/05/11/asus_p8z68v_pro_z68_chipset_mo...

May 12, 2011 | 08:27 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Nope, I definitely did not see this. When I overclocked the CPU manually or through the OC Tuner, it always clocked back down to the 1600 MHz idle state.

May 12, 2011 | 09:51 AM - Posted by klatch

Yeah, it goes down to 1600 when idle but I think what they are saying is that it is either 100% or idle - never anything in between and apparently it should be hitting in between. Did you take a look at their article? I'm really close to buying this board when I am off work but I'm wondering whether this is an issue just with their board or if it is something that should make me look elsewhere.

May 12, 2011 | 12:18 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Ah okay, interesting, I didn't specifically see that or NOT see that either. I'll take a look.

May 12, 2011 | 01:30 PM - Posted by klatch

Thanks. I think they basically are saying that turbo mode is always fully engaged any time the CPU isn't idling. I'm planning on buying this board in about 5 hours so bang out that test. =)

May 11, 2011 | 04:48 PM - Posted by SpeedyVV (not verified)

It looks like the DVI is single link. Can you confirm it is Dual? ie support 2560x1600?

May 11, 2011 | 05:01 PM - Posted by klatch

Based on the pin layout it looks like Dual Link DVI-D to me.

May 12, 2011 | 08:27 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Yes, it can handle 2560x1600 resolutions without issue.

May 12, 2011 | 07:21 PM - Posted by AParsh335i (not verified)

Here is a big question for me which could get me to return a whole bunch of stuff i just bought - if you team an Nvidia graphics card like the GTX 560ti (which does not support 3x monitors without SLI) and combine it with this motherboard will you be able to use the 2 DVI on the 560ti and the 1 DVI on the motherboard and now have 3x monitors for a resolution like 5760x1080? This could be a big selling point for some people if they are debating Nvidia VS AMD because AMD is adding it as a standard feature on most cards if you buy the $30 adapter.

May 12, 2011 | 07:25 PM - Posted by AParsh335i (not verified)

I'm going to add a second part to my question that is only applicable if the answer to the first part was yes. If, in fact, you can do do nvidia surround (3x monitors) now without needing SLI thanks to this motherboard it would be great to see a comparison of a p67 + 6950 2GB @ 5760x1080 vs a z68 + 560ti @ 5760x1080.

May 14, 2011 | 04:18 PM - Posted by Max (not verified)

Asus got TUF bot only for sabertooth.

October 7, 2011 | 10:52 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I'm building a PC with mostly Corsair, ASUS P8Z-Pro, Intel 2500K, ect. I had problems with the LAN not working. The internet connection was On/Off, so returned it and got another new ASUS MB Pro and new 2500K from Fry's, Guess waht the exact same thing. I called ASUS and the rep. said they had a big problem with that same issue and to get the Maxium MB instead?????

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