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Asus P8H77-M Pro review

A multimedia giant on an Intel H77-based motherboard

If there's a sticking point with the Asus P8H77-M Pro it involves overclocking, or the lack of support thereof. We don't want to get bogged down with this subject, since it's true that most PC users wouldn't think to overclock their systems.

However, it's also clear that performance enthusiasts looking for a cheaper alternative to Z77 boards need to look to the Z75 chipset, which has fully fledged overclocking chops. But be warned, the Z75 does without SSD caching. Infuriating stuff, but that's Intel current stratification for you.

With the overclocking issue dealt with, what about gaming? With a few caveats, the H77 and the Asus P8H77-M Pro make for a decent enough gaming platform. We like the fact that you can slap in a good graphics card and retain access to the Quick Sync video transcode engine. You also get support for PCI Express 3.0 and thus tons of bandwidth.

In the very long run, that might be critical for games performance using a single video card. In the nearer term, it's desirable for efficient scaling with multiple GPUs. On that subject, our early understanding of the Intel H77 platform was that it wouldn't actually support multi-GPU.

However, Asus has served up AMD CrossFireX support, so that appears not to be the case. Whether any of the motherboard makers will pony up Nvidia's fee to make their H77 boards SLI compatible remains to be seen. None of Asus's nor Gigabyte's new H77 boards support SLI.

Asus P8H77 M Pro

We liked

In the real world, solid performance and plenty of features is what you want from a motherboard. That's exactly what the Asus P8H77-M Pro delivers. You get most of the best Intel 7 Series features, along with some nice multimedia peripherals added by Asus.

We disliked

This is demonstrably not a PC motherboard for full-on performance enthusiasts. For starters, there's no real overclocking support thanks to locked-out CPU multipliers. Gamers will also want more flexibility than the CrossFireX-only multi-GPU support offered.

Final verdict

The Asus P8H77-M Pro's real strength is as a compact and relatively affordable multimedia platform. The highlights start with that four-strong array of VGA, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort video outputs. You also get 6.1 analogue sound and an optical S/PDIF port.

As a more general computing platform, it also looks solid. Partly, that's thanks to general H77 features such as Intel's Smart Response SSD caching tech and native USB 3.0 support (at last!), along with Intel's Rapid Start technology, which helps PCs spring out of sleep mode more quickly. The fact that you only get two 6Gbps SATA ports, however, is also down to the H77 chipset.

Still, Asus has also done its bit by not skimping on features, including those sound and video outputs as well as extras such as an eSATA port. OK, one glance at the motherboard's layout will tell you it's not an enthusiast item festooned with cooling paraphernalia. But overclocking aside, the reality is the Asus P8H77-M Pro will do everything most PC users actually need.

Look past the locked-out overclocking and this is a nice multimedia platform.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDesktop Motherboard
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelH77 Express
Multi GPU SupportedCrossFireX
Onboard VideoCPU Dependent Video
Number of PCI Express x16 Slots2
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Processor SocketSocket H2 LGA-1155
Brand NameAsus
Form FactorMicro ATX
Processor SupportedCore i5, Core i7, Core i3, Pentium Dual-core, Celeron Dual-Core
Total Processor Supported1
Maximum Memory32 GB
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Memory Slots4
Audio Channels7.1
Gigabit EthernetYes
Number of SATA Interfaces7
RAID SupportedYes
Number of Total Expansion Slots3
eSATAYes
HDMIYes
DVIYes
Number of Network (RJ-45) Ports1
Network (RJ-45)Yes
DisplayPortYes
Total Number of USB Ports6
Number of USB 3.0 Ports2
PS/2 PortYes
Number of PS/2 Ports1
Total Number of Onboard USB Ports8
Number of Onboard USB 2.0 Ports6
PCI Express StandardPCI Express 3.0, PCI Express 2.0
Total Number of PCI Express Slots3
Memory Form FactorUDIMM
Number of eSATA Ports1
Processor TechnologySmart Response Technology, Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
Width243.8 mm
Depth243.8 mm
ManufacturerASUS Computer International
Product ModelP8H77-M PRO
Product NameP8H77-M PRO Desktop Motherboard
Controller TypeSerial ATA/300, Serial ATA/600
Manufacturer Part NumberP8H77-M PRO
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.asus.com
Marketing Information

This motherboard supports the Intel 3rd/2nd generation processors in the LGA1155 package, with iGPU, memory and PCI Express controllers integrated to support onboard graphics output with dedicated chipsets, 2-channel (4 DIMM) DDR3 memory and 16 PCI Express 3.0/2.0 lanes. This provides great graphics performance. Intel 3rd/2nd generation processors are among the most powerful and energy efficient CPUs in the world.