Integrated 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 using the audio test tracks was distortion free using a 7.1 speaker setup through the on-board analogue audio ports.

The audio listening session using the on-board analogue audio ports was also distortion-free, again proving the high-fidelity of the on-board audio subsystem.

Microphone Port Testing

For testing the board's Microphone input port, the microphone from a Razer Carcharias audio headset 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 was distortion-free and without any detected aberrant noise effects. However, audio pickup through the microphone was inaudible without Microphone Boost set to its mid-range setting (+20dB).

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. The SSD was directly connected to the native SATA 3 ports as well as the SATA 3 ports associated with the integrated SATA Express ports. NGFF port testing was performed using an M.2 to SATA III device adapter mPCIe card. ATTO was configured to test against transfer sizes from 0.5 to 8192 KB with Total Length set to 512 MB and Queue Depth set to 10. 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 controller. The drive tests were repeated three times with the highest repeatable read and write speeds recorded.

The drives performed much better when connected to the Intel Z97 controller with performance increased slightly in write speeds when connected through the SATA Express and M.2 interfaces. The ASMedia controller performance lagged that of the Intel Z97 controller significantly with read performance barely breaking a 400MB/s transfer rate. However, a similar write speed increase was seen with the tests done using the SATA Express ports as witnessed during the Intel Z97 controller testing.

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.

The LanBench network benchmarking software was used to generate send and receive traffic between the local and remote systems over a five minute period with packet size set to 4096 and connection count set to 20. A LanBench server was set up on the remote system to generate or receive traffic for the tests performed. The upload and download tests were repeated three times with the highest repeatable average throughput and the lowest repeatable average CPU utilization percentage recorded.

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

One one set of results was reported because both Intel controllers exhibited similar performance characteristics. The performance obtained using the Intel GigE controllers was impressive with upload speeds besting that of download by 7 MB/s and approaching 120 MB/s average transfer rates. The measured CPU utilization averaged an impressive 2% or less during all test runs.

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