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 clear and distortion free using a 5.1 speaker setup through the on-board analogue audio ports.
Listening tests using the selected audio tracks were performed with a Razer Carcharias audio headset as well as a 5.1 speaker setup to exercise the subsystem's audio fidelity. Again, we found the audio experience to be distortion-free making for an enjoyable listening session.
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.
Even though the recorded audio remained distortion-free throughout all tests, audio pickup remained muted until recording volume was set to a minimum of 75 and Microphone Boost was enabled with a +20dB setting.
ATTO Disk Benchmark
To validate that the board’s device ports were functioning correctly, we connected an OCZ Vertex 460 240GB 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. NGFF port testing was performed using an M.2 based Plextor PCIe M.2 2280 256GB SSD. The M.2 device was tested in the integrated M.2 slot as well as via the ASUS Hyper M.2 X4 expansion 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 770 MB/s and a write throughput of 580 MB/s on a SATA III controller. The selected M.2 SSD has a maximum maximum read throughput of 540 MB/s and a write throughput of 525 MB/s on over a PCI-Express x2 bus. The drive tests were repeated three times with the highest repeatable read and write speeds recorded.
The SATA III-based SSD performed better on the Intel-controlled ports when compared to the ASMedia ports. All SATA-based Intel controllers exhibited similar performance with the SSD, making the decision on what port to use come down to whether or not you require hardware RAID support for your configuration. On the Intel ports, the SATA SSD pushed the performance limits of the drive, while the ASMedia controller had a hard time breaking a 400MB/s rate. The M.2 SSD performed very well on both ports with the device speeds hitting the rated limits of the drive.
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).
Transfer rates over both of the Intel-controlled ports netted similar averages with download speeds lagging those of upload by 10MB/s. However, upload and download performance sustained transfer rates of over 100MB/s throughout the tests. The CPU utilization was extraordinary with an unnoticeable 1% average across all tests and CPU usage spikes of well under 5%.