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. The integrated Creative audio chipset performed well using both the speaker setup and the headphones with audio clarity and loudness better with the Audio Gain Control set to 6x. However, audio clarity and crispness was best through the headset.
Microphone Port Testing
For testing the board's Microphone input port, the microphone from a Razer Carcharias audio headset was used to capture a 10 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 was distortion-free during all test run, requiring recording volume set to a minimum of 75 and Microphone Boost enabled with a +20dB setting. Enabling the Crystal Voice enhancements via the audio control panel enhanced pickup with no discernible audio quality loss.
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.
SSD performance met performance expectations across all ports, pushing the performance limits of the test drives used. The M.2 SSD performed best overall with read performance over 700 MB/s.
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).
Surprisingly, performance on both wired GigE network controllers exceeded expectations with upload and download speeds of 100 MB/s or more. The Intel controller had a smaller difference between upload and download average transfer rates, but both controllers hit an average upload speed of 118 MB/s. Even the CPU utilization numbers remains low during all tests with spikes on both controllers staying below 10%. The Intel controller exhibited better average utilization, but the Killer controller came in at a respectable 6% or less.