Test Setup and Results: SiSoft Sandra 2011

The bad thing about benchmarking motherboards is the usual lack of difference between boards and their overall performance.  The only time that this is not true is if there is something dreadfully wrong with the BIOS implementation of these boards.  With both AMD and Intel putting more and more “chipset type” features on their CPUs, there is often very little separation.  Add into that equation that there are now really only two chipset providers; it further diminishes any real or perceived performance differences.

Relatively few AMD FX-8150s were sampled, so I did not have one onhand for testing.  Also, these products have been sold out all over since the release.  For the time being I am continuing to test these boards with the trusty Phenom II X6 1090T.  Motherboard manufacturers have told me that AMD is releasing quite a few AGESA revisions, which can affect the performance of some older processors due to more space in the BIOS being required for optimizing Bulldozer performance.  This can make BIOS update decisions tricky if a user has an older Athlon II or Phenom II processor.

For comparison I used the MSI 990FXA-GD80 with a beta “ClickBIOS II” build.  This build shows much more mature performance in I/O applications and can overclock better.  This should be available soon to consumers.

AMD Phenom II X6 1090T
2 x 2GB OCZ DDR-3 1600 Platinum @ 1333 and timings
AMD Radeon HD 5870 w/ Catalyst 11.9 drivers
1 TB Western Digital Caviar Black 7200 RPM SATA 6G
Corsair TX750T Power Supply
Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit


SiSoft Sandra 2011

Starting off with the CPU tests we make sure that all of the boards are clocking the processor as expected.  This is also a good test of the memory and I/O performance.  Unoptimized low level BIOS settings and programming can have a significant impact in performance here, so this is often a good indicator of BIOS maturity.

The overall differences between these boards is essentially nil.  We can see with these basic tests that a user is going to buy a board depending more upon features than they are performance.  The ASMedia USB 3.0 controller matches up well against the NEC unit that the MSI board features.  The AMD SB950 SATA 6G controller gives identical results across all boards.

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