New PC Perspective Test Suite

With this review, you’ll find that I have drastically changed the way motherboards are tested here at the office.  The short of it is that we have more specific performance tests, more subsystem tests, focused overclocking tests and a unique board installation test.  These combine into what I feel is probably the most robust motherboard evaluation available.

Our performance tests will include an array of benchmarks that test both the synthetic and real-world benefits of a configuration.  SiSoft Sandra will continue to be at staple for CPU and memory performance at a glance, but we have additional tests in audio and video, office and professional scenarios.  WorldBench 5 is one of the keys here, broken down into individual benchmark results and we have inserted our own custom benchmarks into the mix as well.

Subsystem tests have increased to include both external storage on USB and FireWire connections as well as internal storage on the various SATA controllers that each motherboard might employ.  Networking and audio benchmarks are also being added for a complete view of the board as a functioning unit.  I am also including a test that utilizes all these features at the same time in order to try to grasp the overall stability of a fully utilized system.

Our new overclocking tests will attempt to stress the motherboard to its limits by looking at one bus connection at time.  First we’ll push up the internal CPU bus, then the memory bus, then both, to see how the board compares overall.  We’ll also be making sure that the BIOS options that are available are robust enough for an experienced overclocker to use and that they actually work; something that doesn’t happen all the time despite common sense.

The final addition is the inclusion of a physical installation of the motherboard into a case, power supply and peripherals and all.  While many reviews attempt to look at the layout of the motherboard to find placement issues, no one actually puts the motherboard into case like an end-user would.  Starting here, we are going to do this.  Just this simple step can help us find problems with board layouts that could affect hard drive cables, power cables, fan connections, card installations and more. 

These updates were based mainly from user emails I have received over the last year or so and I’d like to see that trend continuing.  If you like these new tests or see something that is missing, I encourage you to send me an email for feedback. Let me know of ways to improve our testing methods, or maybe say that they are useful to you.

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