Articles: Mainboards

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Performance Tests

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 the optimal BIOS settings and do nothing else. But this time it was needed to correct some settings for all motherboards, excepting the Gigabyte G1.Sniper 5 and Gigabyte GA-Z87-D3H which works as specified by Intel by default. For the ASUS Z87-K we had to manually set the CPU turbo multipliers to prevent frequency drops at high loads. For the ASRock Z87 Extreme4 we had to disable Power Saving Mode. For the MSI Z87-G43 we disabled Enhanced Turbo, and for the ASUS Z87-Deluxe and Intel DZ87KLT-75K we manually increased the CPU power limits.

The results are sorted in the order of descending performance.

Nominal Mode

We run the CPU test of Cinebench 11.5 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 CPUs. The results are the average of five runs of the benchmark.

We benchmark performance in Adobe Photoshop CS6 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.

In the archiving test a 1 GB file is compressed using the WinRAR archiver with maximum compression level.

The recently released PCMark 8 suite allows us to benchmark overall system performance and the disk subsystem in particular. It can also help measure the battery life of a mobile device. We use the “Home” test package that includes typical home applications: web browsing, creating and editing of documents, simple games, photo editing, video chat.

The next diagram shows the results of the CPU tests from 3DMark Fire Strike. They are obtained in a special physics test that emulates the behavior of a complex gaming system with numerous objects:

The benchmark integrated into Hitman Absolution is very convenient. It can be launched directly from the game, from the game launcher and even from the command prompt. We use the maximum quality settings from the “Ultra” profile and a pretty high display resolution.

Batman: Arkham City also reacts eagerly to any changes in the CPU clock rate, and it uses DirectX 11. We run the integrated benchmark five times at the “Very High” visual quality settings and then calculate the average result.

As you can see, the G1.Sniper 5 configuration takes last place in Adobe Photoshop CS6 and PCMark 8, yet it is not too far behind even compared to the leader ASRock Z87 Extreme4. It is in the games (Hitman Absolution and Batman: Arkham City) that we see the largest gap, but the overall level of performance of the new mainboard from Gigabyte is quite acceptable.

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