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 played through the on-board analogue audio ports.

Testing was also performed using the rear panel port using a Razer Carcharias audio headset as well as a 5.1 speaker setup to test the audio subsystem. Using the selected audio tracks, audio reproduction was clean and distortion free.

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 muted without Microphone Boost enabled. For best pickup and playback clarity, Microphone Boost had to be set to +20dB with a recording volume minimum of 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. 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 both the normal SATA 3 port and the SATA port on the SATA Express port through the Intel Z97 controller was almost exactly the same. The performance on both port types pushed the rated performance limits of the drive used for 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).

The Killer NIC average transfer speeds came close to the theoretical limits of the Gigabit adapter, coming close to topping a 120MB/s average speed. CPU utilization was a bit higher than expected, averaging under 10% for upload and 15% for download with utilization spikes seen during upload close to 15%.

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