Motherboards based on the Intel B75 chipset that we’ve got our hands on so far have all been value offerings (priced under Rs 5,000), and that’s what they’re meant to be. Asus has taken a different path altogether with the P8B75-V. Let’s find out why it’s special and how it performs as compared to its low-cost rivals.
Design and features
What’s different in this motherboard can be spotted at once—the form factor! For the first time we’ve come across a motherboard based on the B75 chipset in the full-ATX form. The reason for this form is quite obvious. It’s because Asus simply wanted to add a big bunch of expansion slots. Due to space constraint, micro ATX motherboards usually feature a single PCIe x1 or a PCI slot in addition to a PCIe x16 slot. Here, you get two PCIe x16 slots, which brings in support for CrossFireX. However, the second slot runs at x4 speed. Further, you get three PCI slots and a pair of PCIe x1 slots. This straight away means this board is meant for those who want to use multiple expansion cards. The expansion slots are placed such that you’ll get at least one expansion slot of each type even if you install two dual-slot graphics cards—you’ll lose the PCIe x1 slot below the first PCIe x16 slot and the PCI slot below the second PCIe x16 (x4 speed) slot.
A premium motherboard based on the Intel B75 chipset
Thanks to the large area, the layout of the motherboard is very good. The RAM slots are placed towards the top right corner and the retention clips don’t come in the way while installing or removing long graphics cards. The large empty space in the bottom right area has favoured using a large heatsink for the B75 PCH. Also, the SATA ports placed in the corner are well spaced-out—good, but a better layout would have been ports placed along the right side and oriented sideways for easy cable routing. Note that the white port is a SATA 6Gb/s one, as supported by the B75 chipset. Just above the SATA ports are the two UEFI BIOS chips. In the event of failure of one of the main chip, you can resort to the backup chip. To the left of the SATA ports are two USB 2.0 headers (each supporting two ports), followed by headers for Parallel and Serial ports. A USB 3.0 header (supporting two ports) is placed along the side, below the 24-pin power connector. Being a premium model, we expected additional SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0 ports via additional controllers, but disappointingly, that’s not the case. Even more disappointing is the missing HDMI port on the rear panel, which is a big drawback. The components on the rear panel include separate PS/2 ports for keyboard and mouse, D-sub and DVI video outputs, four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port and jacks for 7.1-channel audio.
The rear panel doesn't feature an HDMI port
Apart from the extra expansion slots, other useful features this board offers are EPU (Energy Processing Unit) and Turbo V EVO. The EPU is a discrete chip (placed above the 8-pin 12V connector) that automatically detects load and automatically moderates power consumption. The Turbo V EVO feature allows overclocking your PC from within Windows via the Asus AI Suite II application. However, the overlclocking feature is crippled because you can only tinker with the BClk and voltages. The software also features an Auto Tuning section from where you can overclock with a single click. The optimal voltages and BClk frequency is automatically calculated at the subsequent reboot and you get a slightly faster PC at the next startup.
TurboV EVO for manual and automatic overclocking
Test rig configuration
Processor: Intel Core i7-2600K
Memory: 8GB G. Skill RipjawsX DDR3-2133
Graphics card: AMD Radeon HD 6870
SSD: Plextor PX-256M2S
Power supply: Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold, 800W
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate, 64-bit
There’s hardly any difference between the performance of this motherboard and the entry-level B75 motherboards we’ve tested in the past. As for the synthetic tests, our test rig scored 4900 and 4481 points in PCMark 7 and 3DMark 11 respectively. The real world scores were also similar to what we’ve seen with entry-level motherboards. It took 16.8 seconds to ray trace an 800x600 pixel test scene in POV-Ray and 26 seconds to transcode a one minute MPEG video to H.264 format. We ran the gaming tests in two modes, with and without Virtu MVP enabled. With the display directly connected to the graphics card and Virtu MPV disabled, the Radeon HD 6870 logged 36.4 fps in Crysis Warhead (1920x1080,Enthusiast, No AA) and 50.2 fps in Mafia II (Very High, No PhysX). Next, we connected the display to the on-board DVI output and combined the on-chip graphics with the discrete GPU. We noted a drop in performance—Crysis Warhead and Mafia II now reported 35 and 40 fps respectively. So, unless you want to conserve energy by switching over to discrete graphics only when needed, it’s recommended you keep away from using Virtu MVP.
Lucidlogix Virtu MVP - Integrated GPU + Discrete GPU
Verdict and price in India
At Rs 6,300, the Asus P8B75-V is more expensive than the entry-level B75 motherboards by around Rs 2,000. It’s a good deal, but the premium would have been justified better if Asus had included HDMI output and additional SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0 ports via discrete controllers. This motherboard is worth considering only if you need multiple expansion slots, or else something like the Gigabyte B75M-D3H or MSI B75MA-P45 would be much better bang for your buck.
Updated 18 Jun, 2013, 8:58 pm IST
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