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 app provided test sounds and 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 Soundblaster-based audio subsystem does not disappoint. Audio playback was good across both listening setups with the best overall experience via the Razer Carcharias headset in tandem with the higher 6x gain setting. When using a headset with this board, make sure to use the audio port on the lower left of audio port block to take advantage of the gain settings. Note that sound reproduction across all speakers required enabling the Surround setting in the SBX Pro Studio section of the audio control applet.
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 +30dB setting. Enabling the Noise Suppression and Acoustic Echo Cancellation functions via the Crystal Voice section of the audio control applet had no discernible audio quality impact on the recorded audio stream.
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. 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, SSD performance performed as expected with the OCZ Vertex 460 drive connected to all port configurations and pushed the performance limits of the ssd in all cases. The Plextor M.2 SSD also performed well with the drive coming in with the highest read speeds tested on this board.
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).
The Qualcomm Killer GigE network controller performed well during both the upload and download test with a minimal spread of 2 MB/s between the two averaged results. Both tests result in average transfer rates around 115 MB/s with the upload rate just above and the download rate just below. CPU utilization averaged under 5% during the upload tests and just over 5% during upload tests. CPU utilization spikes did not stray above 10% during either test.