Articles: Mainboards

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Nominal mode

We usually benchmark mainboards in two test modes: at the default settings and with the CPU and memory overclocked. 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 standard BIOS settings and do nothing else. So here is the performance you can expect from the mainboards if you don’t tweak their settings (the results of the ASUS Z97-A are colored differently).

We run the CPU test of the 3D rendering suite Cinebench 15 five times and calculate the average result.

We have been using Fritz Chess Benchmark for a long time already and it proves very illustrative. It generates repeatable results and its performance scales perfectly depending on the number of computing threads.

x264 FHD Benchmark v1.0.1 (64-bit) helps us test video transcoding performance. The original version of the benchmark with the version r2106 coder could make use of AVX instructions but we use version r2334 to enable the new AVX2 instruction set available on Haswell-based CPUs. The results are the average of five runs of the benchmark.

We benchmark performance in Adobe Photoshop CC using our custom test that is based on the Retouch Artists Photoshop Speed Test and consists of typical processing of four 24-megapixel images captured with a digital camera.

We use WinRAR 5.10 Beta 4 to benchmark the speed of archiving an Adobe Photoshop CC distribution.

Metro: Last Light is a very beautiful video game but its frame rate depends heavily on the graphics card. So we had to use the Medium Quality settings to maintain playability at a screen resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. The diagram shows the averaged results of five runs of the integrated benchmark.

F1 2013 is less demanding on the graphics subsystem than the previous game. At 1920x1080 pixels we chose the highest settings by enabling Ultra High Quality and all image-enhancing options. The diagram shows the averaged results of five runs of the integrated benchmark.

The new version of Thief is not acclaimed by critics, yet its visuals are top-notch. It’s got an integrated performance benchmark and lets you enable AMD’s Mantle technology. We had to choose Low Quality settings to see any effect from overclocking the computer. You wouldn’t need to overclock your CPU to enjoy the game, though.

The ASUS Z97-A and ASUS Z87-PLUS exchange their positions from one diagram to another, yet the difference between them is never large. Now let's see how our configurations perform with the CPU and memory overclocked.

Overclocked mode

We still can’t see any difference. The Intel Z97 has no advantages over the previous chipset in terms of performance.

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