Stress Testing and Power ConsumptionStress Test — Putting It All Together
Another test we added to the motherboard suite this time around was the stress test. In this we take all the on-board components and make them all work together just to see if they play nicely.
In our case here this meant running WMP10 on an HD video, having PCMark05 run some hard drive tests, running HDTach on the external USB hard drive, playing the large WAV file and running the network bandwidth test, all at the same time. The tests were looped for an hour and we listened for sound ‘jumps’ or video stutters or anything similar.
Both the NVIDIA and ATI AM2 motherboards passed our stability tests without an issue running Ethernet, USB, graphics and hard drive tests all the same time without slowdown and without crashing.
In many cases, looking at power consumption of motherboards and chipsets can seem a little over dramatic. After all, when your GPU eats up a couple hundred watts on its own, whats a few more for a chipset? Regardless, we felt the need to use our power meter to test for power consumption at the wall.
Idle power was taken at the Windows desktop while load results were taken from a dual-threaded CineBench run.
While the power numbers from the NF4 SLI X16 chipset are not directly comparable because of the different processor used, the XPress 3200 and NF 590 SLI numbers can be examined. What we see is the ATI chipset is using considerably less power than the NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI chipset that uses nearly 40 watts more under load.