Prior to the Intel Z68 chipset, you would have to choose. Either you could have integrated graphics and no overclocking capabilities, or overclocking abilities as well as the need to invest in a discrete graphics card. Fortunately, that is no longer the case. We now have the best of both worlds at our fingertips with motherboards like the ASUS P8Z68-V Pro that we have been looking at today.
In all honesty, I don’t think I could be much happier than I am with the P8Z68-V Pro motherboard. Sure, the average read and write speeds of the SATA 6 could have been a little bit faster. Though for me that’s not a deal breaker. What did impress me was the gaming performance. In every gaming benchmark that we ran, the ASUS P8Z68-V Pro was able to outperform the GIGABYTE P67A-UD7! One of the primary reasons that we saw gains in our gaming benchmark is because of the manufacturing process becoming much more refined. We just recently saw this in our AMD Phenom II X4 980 Review. When the AMD Phenom II X4’s first came out, they were released at 3.0GHz and were being overclocked to 3.8-4.0GHz on air. The Phenom II 980 has an out of the box speed of 3.7GHz. The technology and design behind the chip is the same, only the manufacturing process has become much more refined in the last two years.
Once again I digressed. The ASUS P8Z68-V Pro didn’t disappoint in any aspect of our testing including overclocking. We were able to bring our Intel Core i5 2500K from 3.3GHz up to 4.926GHz! That’s a gain of 1.626GHz which is a 49.3% increase in the speed of our Intel Core i5 2500K!
What really got me about the ASUS P8Z68-V Pro motherboard is the performance gain we saw over the GIGABYTE P67A-UD7. For the most part it was consistently around 5-6% better across the board. At least in the graphics performance testing. The kicker is that the ASUS P8Z68-V Pro is priced at $209.00 while the GIGABYTE P67A-UD7 is nearly 50% more at $314.99. From my understanding the performance gains we are seeing are partly due to the improved silicone and refining process. Nevertheless, a performance gain is a performance gain! What is going to be interesting, we are seeing a gain from the new Intel Z68 chipset, which is pretty much a lateral move for the same socket. What is the new Intel X79 chipset with Socket LGA2011 going to do for us? The entire Socket 1155 series of motherboards, while they perform great, are aimed at the mainstream user. The Intel X79 chipset is going to be replacing the Intel X58 platform as the enthusiast level choice and will be pushing the performance envelope even further! Exciting times!
As I am writing this ASUS has only two boards based on the Intel Z68 Chipset: the ASUS P8Z68-V, which will retail for $189.00 and the ASUS P8Z68-V Pro, which is retailing for $209.00. For a motherboard that is loaded with as many features as the ASUS P8Z68-V Pro is, $209.00 is a price that will not break the bank! In the unlikely event that the ASUS P8Z68-V Pro should happen to fail, ASUS has you covered with a three year warranty. At the minimum that can give you piece of mind when dropping some dime on a new system.
Legit Bottom Line: Today we put the ASUS P8Z68-V Pro up against a $300+ Intel P67 motherboard. The ASUS P8Z68-V Pro brought everything to the table, held nothing back and was able to outperform a board that retails for nearly 50% more!