Articles: Mainboards

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Performance Comparison

As usual, we are going to compare the mainboards speeds in two different modes: in nominal mode and during CPU and memory overclocking. The first mode is interesting because it shows how well the mainboards work with their default settings. It is a known fact that most users do not fine-tune their systems, they simple choose the optimal BIOS settings and do nothing else. That is why we run a round of tests almost without interfering in any way with the default mainboard settings.  Here I have to say that all mainboards worked absolutely correctly with our six-core AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition processor, including power-saving technologies and Turbo mode. However, there were a few differences in the memory operation. Most mainboards set the memory frequency at 1067 MHz with 7-7-7-16-1T timings by default, while Asus mainboards set the timings at 8-8-8-20-1T, and ASRock mainboard – at 7-7-7-16-2T. Since we used the exact same test application and maintained identical testing conditions, we also included the results of Asus Crosshair IV Formula and Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD7 discussed in our previous article. These are also Socket AM3 mainboards using the same chipset with AMD890FX North Bridge and SB850 South Bridge, but these two boards a little more expensive. The mainboards are listed on the diagrams according to their performance, from the best to the worst.

We started using the recently released Cinebench 11.5 program version. All tests were run five times and the average result of the five runs was taken for the performance charts.

 We have been using Fritz Chess Benchmark utility for a long time already and it proved very illustrative. It generated repeated results, the performance in it is scales perfectly depending on the number of involved computational threads.

A small video in x264 HD Benchmark 3.0 is encoded in two passes and then the entire process is repeated four times. The average results of the second pass are displayed on the following diagram:

In the archiving test a 1 GB file is compressed using LZMA2 algorithms, while other compression settings remain at defaults.

Like in the data compression test, the faster 16 million of Pi digits are calculated, the better. This is the only benchmark where the number of processor cores doesn’t really matter, because it creates single-threaded load.

There are good and bad things about complex performance tests. However, 3D Mark Vantage has become extremely popular. The diagram below shows the results after three test runs:

Since we do not overclock graphics in our mainboard reviews, the next diagram shows only CPU test from the 3D Mark Vantage suite.

We use FC2 Benchmark Tool to go over Ranch Small map ten times in 1280x1024 resolution with medium and high image quality settings in DirectX 10.

Resident Evil 5 game also has a built-in performance test. Its peculiarity is that it can really take advantage of multi-core processor architecture. The tests were run in DirectX 10 in 1280x1024 resolution with medium image quality settings. The average of five test runs was taken for further analysis:

As you can see, there is not much difference, even though Asus and ASRock mainboards set higher memory timings: only in 7-zip they fall behind everyone else. We can single out Gigabyte mainboards for being a little better than the competitors in 3DMark, while in gaming tests Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD7 fell into the very last place. However, the difference is so minimal that it has only theoretical value and no practical effect.

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