Pros: Look and design, dust covers, ports, thermal armour
Cons: Software package as a whole is a joke, mini included fans (lack of detail by ASUS), HD audio is bad
After having a problem with the board Asus refused the RMA, it renders this 5 year warranty void. I understand Customer Induced Damage (CID) however for a board that's worth £170 I would have expected a little more attention to their customers and more so a better design by the CPU holes.
Long story short: If Asus really cared about their products and/or customers they wouldn't designed it this way, nor brought the CID comment upon a high-paying customer.
Last time I will ever buy a Asus product in my life.
I codename this board the Noob-Tooth Z77.
I do find it ironic that several months ago I did comment on the BUILD quality and the lack of care for certain aspects of this board - oh how I should have seen that coming in hindsight.
Here's the review I wrote a while ago:
I went for this board, over other ones in the same category for several reasons:
-Included software (like Asus Turbo V Evo & AI Suite II)
-BIOS USB flashing
When I got this board, everything seemed great, it is not only when i started using it for over a month, when I realised its flaws.
Here is what I made out of it:
-The design was very sleek, not like your normal motherboard. It looks tiny and sexy, whereas other boards remind me of 1990's boards, apart from some fancy heat sinks and some colours on them, they look identical. This Sabertooth Z77, looked the part, and really worked well with my overall rig.
-The dust covers were a nice little touch, they provided a sort of "protection" against dust, but it should be noted that with the ports closed, the air flow doesn't go within the slots, and doesn't cool within the thermal armour
-The thermal armour, coming back to looks, looks great. However it also performs well, the temperatures are very good, throughout the board
-Ports included. I like the amount of ports made available, both on the "inside" of the board, and the "outside" of the board.
-Software, software, software - when will you learn ASUS? When?
The software really sucks - so much so that I have no software installed any more - yet the AI SUITE II was one of the main things that attracted me to this board (especially the tweaking your BIOS, whilst on your desktop thing). No, in all honesty, it really sucks - inaccurate readings, badly coded, super slow, and even made my PC boot up 3mins later, due to services that were not running properly.
Overall, the software was a huge let down - but that said I was used to the shoddy software provided by ASUS, from my terrible experience with their products and my old ASUS P5K premium board.
How many years will it take them to care about software?
-Those mini fans. They are noisy, whinny, and just overall really annoying. More so the temps, they do a little difference - 5c MAX difference, but apart from that they run at around 6000RPM, and are just super high pitched. The most noisiest thing in my whole rig is those mini fans.
Now about their quality control. In the manual, ASUS clearly show that there are two fans to be installed, on at the back, like an inhaler from outside the case/board, and the other, as an exit, from the middle of the board. Now, here's the funny thing: The diagram and your physical board, will show you that the middle one has 4 screws, and 4 holes. It will also show the intake one on the side, will have 3 holes and 3 screws. Simple enough right? Well ASUS, lack of QC means that I had to go back and double check if I had done something wrong, when installing the fans. BOTH FANS that came with the darn board have 3 holes, and 3 screws. Neither of them had 4.
Now this might seem petty, but really, I can't make myself think that even in the manual they got a fan with 4 holes/screws, and even on the board there is PLACE for a fan with 4 holes, but yet in their packaging (and I'm not the only one, if you look at reviewers), to get 2x fans with 3 holes in them.
WHY DON'T YOU LOOK AT YOUR PRODUCTS YOU SELL ASUS!?
Anyway, mini-fan rant over. They are annoying, and in fact aren't fully correct to fit on the board.
Long story short - disappointing ASUS.
-"HD" on-board audio - there's no HD in that, and the fact there is, is a joke. The audio quality of the board, through analogue is dismal. For a 2011/12 board, it should really be better. I was disgusted to hear the terrible quality the audio was producing from the board, that I immediately went and bought the XONAR DX (yet another failure of a software-type product from ASUS, but with incredible hardware)
Anyway, overall the board is nice, and it did meet some of my expectations, however I find the lack of quality control, attention to detail, and software support to really bring this board from a fully deserved 10/10 to a 9/10. In fact I was tempted to give it a 4/5 - 8/10, but I feel the hardware on the board does what it says, and performs well, so I can't take away that from the board.
Here's my unboxing: