Articles: Mainboards

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We compared the performance of the mainboards twice: at the default settings and at the overclocked settings (as detailed in the previous section). The EVGA Z77 Stinger wasn’t benchmarked at its default settings because it couldn’t clock our Core i5-3570K processor at the latter’s standard frequency.

First we run the SuperPi benchmark which calculates 32 million digits of Pi. It is the only single-threaded test where the number of CPU cores doesn’t affect performance. The diagram shows the time it takes to do the calculation (in seconds).

Cinebench 11.5 benchmarks the speed of final rendering. We run the CPU test five times and calculate the average.

We have been using Fritz Chess Benchmark utility for a long time already and it proved very illustrative. It generates repeatable results, its speed scaling up perfectly depending on the number of execution threads.

The x264 FHD Benchmark v1.0.1 (64bit) test benchmarks system performance while transcoding HD video with the popular x264 codec. The diagram shows the average of five runs of the benchmark:

The speed of data compression was measured with the WinRAR 4.2 benchmark.

We measured performance in Adobe Photoshop CS6 using a modified Retouch Artists Photoshop Speed Test. It includes typical processing of four 24-megapixel images captured with a digital photo camera.

The next diagram shows the results of 3DMark Fire Strike. We focus on the physics test that emulates the behavior of a complex gaming system working with numerous objects:

The overall 3DMark Fire Strike scores open our gaming test section.

Besides 3DMark, we used games: Metro 2033, F1 2012 and Hitman: Absolution. We ran the benchmarks at 1920x1080 with full-screen antialiasing and maximum visual quality settings.

Our mainboards split up into two groups in terms of performance, the ASUS P8Z77-I DELUXE being always the fastest of all. It is closely followed by the ASRock Z77E-ITX and MSI Z77IA-E53. The Gigabyte GA-Z77N-WIFI looks good at the default settings but falls behind at the overclocked ones because it cannot make our CPU stable at 4.4 GHz. The Zotac Z77-ITX WiFi is for some reason slower than the leaders, especially in games. Something’s wrong with it, but we couldn’t find out what exactly. The EVGA Z77 Stinger has some performance issues too, but we can’t explain it: this mainboard isn’t stable with fast memory, so we had to test it with DDR3-1600. That’s why it is slower than the others in our tests.

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