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 7.1 speaker setup through all of 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. In both cases, the sound quality was distortion-free and clear. Audio reproduction did not seem to differ whether the audio components were powered via the motherboard or through the Direct Audio Power connector via the PSU.

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.

Audio was clear and distortion-free with minimal tweaking required on the part of the audio input settings. Soudn was fully audible with the recording level set to 50-75% volume and with a minimal Microphone Boost setting of +10dB. Enabling the Noise Reduction or Echo Cancellation features had no adverse effects on audio pickup.

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 secondary M.2 slot only (located to the upper left of the chipset cooler). 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.

As expected with an Intel controller-centric motherboard, performance across all SSD device ports pushed the limits of the attached device. The PCIe-based M.2 SSD performed best overall in read speeds with writes higher on the SATA III-based ports because of the write speed limitations of the 128GB M.2 card. All SATA-based ports exhibited similar performance with the SSD, making the port use decision come down to whether or not you require hardware RAID support for your system.

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 (300 seconds) 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 averaged at or over 100 MB/s for all transfer tests with upload rates besting that of download by 15 MB/s. CPU utilization remained at or less than an average of 6% during all tests with momentary usage spikes in the 10-12% range.

« PreviousNext »