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 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. ASUS' Crystal Sound 2 audio subsystem performed up to the task with no distortion detected during playback using either output medium. Sound reproduction through the connected headset unit was much clearer and crisper. In testing, we had to enable the DTS Connect functionality from within the Realtek HD Audio Manager software to get music audio playback via all speakers using the 5.1 speaker setup.

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 runs, requiring recording volume set to a minimum of 75 and Microphone Boost enabled with a +10dB setting for best results. Without Microphone Boost, the recorded audio level was audible but muted. Enabling the noise suppression and echo cancellation functions enhanced the audio pickup quality without introducing distortion or line noise and without requiring adjustments to the audio levels.

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. 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.

Across all Intel-based SATA ports, the SSD performed well within expectations on the X99-A motherboard. The SATA-based Intel controllers exhibited similar performance with the SSD, making the decision on what port to use come down to what type of drive you had on hand and whether or not you require hardware RAID support for your configuration.

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).

Performance on the Intel I218-V controller fell as expected with upload transfer rates averaging almost 25 MB/s higher than than of download, transferring data at an average rate of 118 MB/s. During all tests, CPU utilization averaged 1% or lower with usage spikes no high than 5% during all runs.

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