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 both the 5.1 speaker setup played through the on-board analogue audio ports, as well as the Razer Carcharias audio headset via the dedicated headset audio port.

Testing was also performed using through the rear panel ports using a Razer Carcharias audio headset as well as a 5.1 speaker setup with pre-selected audio tracks. Through both audio setups, playback was clean and distortion free. The Creative Core3D sound chip continues to impress me with its audio fidelity and reproduction capabilities.

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 playback was distortion-free, but pickup was muted without Microphone Boost enabled. For best pickup and playback clarity, Microphone Boost had to be set between +10 to +20dB with a recording volume set to 50 to 75%.

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. mSATA port testing was performed using an mSATA to SATA III device adapter mSATA 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 SSD performance on the Intel controller pushed the rated limits of the SSD drive, while the Marvell controller performance was considerably lower. The SSD on either port of the Marvell controller performed similarly, but performance was about half or more of what it should have been.

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).

Both Intel-based controllers performed close to another another for the most part with the I210 GigE controller port lagging in its download performance by over 10MB/s. However, an average download speed of 106MB/s is still nothing to sneer at. In all cases, both Intel NICs exhibited strong CPU utilization numbers averaging around 5 to 6% with some performance spikes into the 10% range.

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