System Port Device Testing

Audio Subsystem Testing

Audio Playback Testing

Using a selection of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal music tracks and Windows Media Player, the audio subsystem playback performance was tested for playback accuracy and fidelity. Playback of the selected audio tracks was distortion free using a 5.1 speaker setup through the on-board analogue audio ports.

The audio subsystem performed well with no distortion detected during the music playback testing.

Microphone Port Testing

For testing the board's Microphone input port, a Labtec Desk Mic 524 microphone was used to capture a 30 second spoken phrase with the assistance of the Microsoft Sound Recorder application. The resulting audio file was saved to the desktop and played back using Windows Media Player

The recorded audio test resulted in clean audio pickup with no distortion or aberrant noise effects observed during playback of the recorded audio after adjusting the recording volume and Microphone Boost settings correctly. Audio pickup with almost inaudible with microphone recording volume set to less than 75 and Microphone Boost less than maximum (+30dB).

ATTO Disk Benchmark

To validate that the board’s device ports were functioning correctly, we connected an OCZ Vertex 3 90GB SATA III SSD to the system and ran the ATTO Disk Benchmark against the drive. ATTO was configured to test against transfer sizes from 0.5 to 8192 KB with Total Length set to 512 MB. The SSD selected for testing has a maximum read throughput of 550 MB/s and a write throughput of 500 MB/s on a SATA III port and a maximum read throughput of 280 MB/s and a write throughput of 260 MB/s on a SATA II port.

External device testing was done against the USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports using conversion cables to connect the SSD. For USB 3.0 testing, an Oyen Digital MiniPro™ eSATA / USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive enclosure (rated for SATA III transfer speeds) was used. The SSD was connected to the internal SATA II and SATA III ports as well. The SATA device ports were set to work in AHCI mode in order to optimize SSD device operation. All tests were run 3 times with the highest repeatable read and write scores recorded in MB/s values.

According to various other testing sites, the real-world performance maximum of USB 2.0 peaks at 35-40MB/s (about 60% of its rated 60MB/s throughput and USB 3.0 peaks at 200-250MB/s on a SATA II based adapter and 250-325MB/s on a SATA III-based adapter. Note that USB 3.0 ports are rated for a maximum throughput of 350MB/s.

The USB 2.0 and 3.0 device ports performed within expectations with the USB 3.0 tests average equal to or above SATA II speeds for the connected device.

The drive performance on the Intel Z77-based ports pushed the SSD to its operational limits, while the ASMedia port operational speeds came in between SATA II and SATA III speeds. The speed difference seen between the ASMedia controller and the Intel Z77 controller is most likely because of the ASMedia controller's reliance on the shared PCI-Express bus.

SoftPerfect Research NetWorx Speed Test

In conjunction with Windows Performance Monitor, SoftPerfect Research NetWorx Speed Meter application was used to measure the upload and download performance of the motherboards integrated network controllers. Speed Meter was used to measure average network throughput in MB/s with Windows Performance Monitor used to measure average CPU utilization during the tests.

Killer GigE controller

For the wired network adapter, the testing consisted of copying two file sets from and to a remote system directly connected to the local system via a crossover cable. Use of a crossover cable eliminates the possibility of throughput loss due to router passage. The two file sets used consisted of a single 3 GB archive file and a folder containing 3 GB of audio files.

Note that that theoretical maximum throughput for a Gigabit Ethernet adapter is 125 MB/s (1.0 Gbps).

The average upload and download speeds of the Killer NIC were impressive with the large file tranfers coming in at over 90 MB/s for upload and an impressive 105 MB/s for download. However, its CPU utilization averaged higher than expected at 15-20%.

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