Articles: Mainboards

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By benchmarking the mainboard in our tests we will see its basic performance level and the overclocking benefits. We will compare our ASUS P8P67 Pro with the MSI XPower model. The LGA1366 platform is still considered a top-performance one, so let’s see how the LGA1155 platform compares with it. The test conditions were identical except for the CPUs and memory: we used an Intel Core i7-930 and 3x1024MB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1866 (KHX14900D3T1K3/3GX) with the MSI mainboard. The operation modes of the two systems are summarized in the next table:

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 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:

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.

There are good and bad things about complex performance tests. However, Futuremark benchmarking software has become extremely popular and is used for comparisons a lot. The diagram below shows the average results after three test runs in 3DMark11 Performance mode with default settings:

Since we do not overclock graphics in our mainboard reviews, the next diagram shows only CPU tests from the 3DMark11 – Physics Score.

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:

It’s easy to see that the new platform beats the previous leader in every test save for Fritz Chess Benchmark and 7-Zip when both are working in their default modes. This is despite the fact that most of our tests create multithreaded load and the LGA1366 platform could execute them in eight instruction threads simultaneously whereas the LGA1155 platform, in four threads only.

The default frequency of a CPU is a compromise between price, manufacturing cost and power consumption. A lot of factors affect it, including the functionality of competing CPUs. The only way to see what a system can do is to overclock it. So, let’s see how our systems perform when overclocked.

Now the LGA1366 platform wins in the compression test only. The speed in 7-Zip depends not only on the CPU clock rate and the number of execution threads but also on the memory subsystem performance. Clearly, it is the triple-channel memory access that ensures the advantage over the platform with dual-channel memory. Anyway, the new LGA1155 processor isn’t far behind in that test and is greatly superior to its opponent in the rest of them. The performance benefits from overclocking are impressively high – over 40% in most of the computing tasks!

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