ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe Review: Redefining the ITX Gaming PC

P1050063 ASUS P8Z77 I Deluxe Review: Redefining the ITX Gaming PC

Mini-ITX motherboards are stripped down variants of their full sized counterparts, doing away with non-essential expansion options and using "good enough" components. In recent times ASUS has dabbled in small form factor systems with great success – their Republic of Gamers GENE series of mATX motherboards has a cult following of enthusiast builders. The P8Z77-I Deluxe, paired with the latest Ivy Bridge processors, represents the motherboard giant's latest salvo for the mindshare of performance ITX system buyers.

Package and Bundle

P1050053 ASUS P8Z77 I Deluxe Review: Redefining the ITX Gaming PC

The P8Z77-I Deluxe – Overall a very functional layout with the standout item being the 8-pin EPS connector and vertically fitted daughterboard for the voltage regulators. Traditionally, ITX motherboards have been fitted with the bare minimum of power circuitry due to space and budget constriants, ruling out the possibility of high TDP operation.

P1050063 ASUS P8Z77 I Deluxe Review: Redefining the ITX Gaming PC

 

At the I/O panel area, we get a generous eight USB ports (Four of them USB 3.0), triple display connectivity (single HDMI, DP, DVI-D), Gigabit LAN, Wifi/Bluetooth 4.0 connectors, two eSATA 3GB/s and buttons for actuating Clear CMOS/BIOS Flackback functions. Although there are only three audio jacks at the rear, 8-channel audio can still be achieved if the side speakers are connected to the front panel jacks.

P1050068 ASUS P8Z77 I Deluxe Review: Redefining the ITX Gaming PC

 

Onboard SATA comes directly from the Z77 PCH, with the white ports for 6Gb/s operation. 

P1050075 ASUS P8Z77 I Deluxe Review: Redefining the ITX Gaming PC

 

No obvious anamolies underneath – and we have the soldering points of a full PCIe 3.0 x16 slot. Actually instead of Z77, ASUS could have used a stripped down/marginally less expensive Z75 PCH instead since there is no SLi/CrossFireX action here.

P1050083 ASUS P8Z77 I Deluxe Review: Redefining the ITX Gaming PC

 

Although this is not something you'll see on most ITX setups, the mounting of a 140mm Thermalright Archon CPU tower was not obstructed by the VRM daughterboard.

P1050108 ASUS P8Z77 I Deluxe Review: Redefining the ITX Gaming PC

 

Depending on the size of the enclosure, we can fit a dual slot graphics card like the HD 7970 (the ASUS board does come with Lucid MVP for fps boosting voodoo). Clearance from the CPU socket is pretty good too, even with a large heatsink used here..

P1050111 ASUS P8Z77 I Deluxe Review: Redefining the ITX Gaming PC

P1050116 ASUS P8Z77 I Deluxe Review: Redefining the ITX Gaming PC

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