Articles: Mainboards

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Chipsets do not affect the performance of modern computers much because a modern chipset is in fact a South Bridge containing a lot of I/O controllers. The components that have more effect on performance such as execution cores, graphics bus controller and memory controller all of them reside in the CPU. So, we can’t really expect LGA1155 platforms to get any faster after the arrival of the Intel Z77.

Anyway, we want to check this out in practice by benchmarking two similar mainboards based on the Z68 and Z77: ASUS P8Z68-V PRO and ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe. We benchmarked them twice, with the CPU clocked at its default frequency and overclocked to 4.7 GHz. In the default operation mode the CPU frequency management technologies Turbo Boost and Enhanced SpeedStep were active. When the CPU was overclocked, Turbo Boost was turned off but Enhanced SpeedStep kept on working.

We use Futuremark PCMark 7 to find out the average performance of the platforms. This benchmark measures the execution speed of typical algorithms that are widely used on desktop PCs.

The Computation score is indicative of the performance of the system when doing some resource-consuming processing of video and images.

Futuremark 3DMark 11 is the test of the computer’s graphics subsystem in the first place.

Besides the overall graphics performance score, 3DMark 11 produces another interesting parameter which is the Physics score. It is the result of a special test that models the behavior of a complex physical system with a lot of objects.

The benchmark integrated into the WinRAR archiver will help us measure the speed of data compression.

Our Adobe Photoshop test is based on a redesigned Retouch Artists Photoshop Speed Test and involves typical processing of four 10-megapixel images captured with a digital camera.

To benchmark the speed of encoding video into the H.264 format we use the x264 HD test. It is based on measuring the speed it takes to process an original MPEG2 video recoded at 720p resolution with a bit rate of 4 Mbps. This test has a huge practical value because its x264 codec is employed in many popular transcoding tools such as HandBrake, MeGUI, VirtualDub, and others.

The speed of final rendering in Maxon Cinema 4D is benchmarked by means of Cinebench version 11.5.

We additionally benchmarked the mainboards in popular 3D games.


The performance tests agree in one thing: there is no difference between the two LGA1155 mainboards based on two different chipsets. The small variations in numbers are only due to some measurement inaccuracies.

Some mainboard makers promote their new products with the 7 series chipset as being faster but, unfortunately, the performance benefits they claim are produced by BIOS tweaking rather than by the chipsets proper. Some mainboards have a slightly pre-overclocked base frequency, and others disable Turbo Boost and set the CPU frequency multiplier at the maximum possible value. These tricks are in fact a kind of overclocking and can be easily performed on older mainboards. So, any claims that the Z77 chipset itself can make a mainboard perform faster are not true.

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