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 simply 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. For comparison purposes we also included the results from the recently tested flagship Bulldozer mainboards from Asus, Gigabyte and MSI, as well as Asus Sabertooth 990FX and Biostar TA990FXE. All mainboards worked in identical conditions and only two mainboards had different memory timings: Asus Crosshair V Formula mainboard by default set the memory timings at 9-9-9-24-1T, Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD7 – at 7-7-7-20-2T and only on Asus Sabertooth 990FX, Biostar TA990FXE and MSI 990FXA-GD80 mainboards we saw the correct timings from the memory modules SPD – 7-7-7-20-1T.

The results are sorted out in descending order on the diagrams and the results of Asus M5A99X EVO and Asus M5A97 EVO are marked with darker color for your convenience.

We used Cinebench 11.5. 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 4.0 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:

We measured the performance in Adobe Photoshop using our own benchmark made from Retouch Artists Photoshop Speed Test that has been creatively modified. It includes typical editing of four 10-megapixel images from a digital photo camera.

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.

Since we do not overclock graphics in our mainboard reviews, the next diagram shows only CPU tests from the 3DMark11 – Physics Score. This score is obtained in a special physics test that emulates the behavior of a complex gaming system working with numerous objects:

We use FC2 Benchmark Tool to go over Ranch Small map ten times in 1920x1080 resolution with 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 1920x1080 resolution with high image quality settings. The average of five test runs was taken for further analysis:

Similar mainboards often deliver the same performance if you set them up identically, and we can see that now. The difference is within 1% in most of the tests. It’s only in the last gaming test that the ASUS M5A99X EVO falls behind by 3% for some reason.

By the way, we have been using Resident Evil 5 for testing for a while now. It has a very handy integrated benchmark that scales well depending on the number of CPU cores.

But it’s only recently that we’ve discovered one of its visual features: when the frame rate is below 90 fps, the results are displayed against a different background.

We had used such settings and processors that we had never seen such a low frame rate before. The new Bulldozer is the first CPU to fail to reach 90 fps at the default clock rate. It’s especially sad that we’ve got the flagship AMD FX-8150.

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