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 a 5.1 speaker setup and a Razer Carcharias audio headset hooked into the on-board analogue audio ports.
Audio playback of selected music tracks using either soudn solution was also distortion free. You should have no issues using any type of audio setup with this board's audio subsystem for playback.
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 volume remained low until Microphone Boost was set to +20dB with recording volume set to 50. There was no distortion detected during any of the record audio playback tests, even with the Noise Reduction settings enabled via the audio settings applet.
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 128GB SSD. The M.2 device was tested in the integrated M.2 slot (located just below PCIe x1 slot 1). 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 M.2 SSD selected for testing has a maximum read throughput of 770 MB/s and a write throughput of 335 MB/s over a PCI-Express x2 bus. The selected SSD has a maximum maximum read throughput of 540 MB/s and a write throughput of 525 MB/s on a SATA III controller. The drive tests were repeated three times with the highest repeatable read and write speeds recorded.
Devices connected to the Intel Z97-based ports performed better than those on the Marvell-controlled ports with transfer rates pushing the performance limits of the device ratings. The M.2 SSD outperformed all other devices in read speeds because of its greater bandwidth support. The SSD rates on the Marvell controller performed sub-optimally during write operations with it barely approaching 400 MB/s during the read tests.
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 network adapter performed well throughout all tests with the Intel-based controller having a slight performance advantage over the Qualcomm Killer controller. The Intel controller exhibited a much lower CPU utilization with averages falling in the 2% range and spikes of no more than 10%. The Qualcomm NIC CPU utilization was higher during download tests with a 10% average and utilization spikes upwards of 12-15%.