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 audio test was clear and distortion free with the 5.1 speaker setup going through the integrated analogue audio ports.
Listening tests using the selected audio tracks were performed with a Kingston HyperX Cloud Gaming audio headset as well as a 5.1 speaker setup to exercise the subsystem's audio fidelity. In both cases, audio reproduction was clear, rich, and distortion-free with little quality difference between the listening sessions. Sound was best through teh speakers with the Sound Blaster audio tools enabled, while the headphone audio reproduction was best with the headphone port gain set to 6x (switch position 2).
Microphone Port Testing
For testing the board's Microphone input port, the microphone from a Kingston HyperX Cloud Gaming 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.
Even though the recorded audio remained distortion-free at all levels, audio pickup was best with recording volume set to 75 and Microphone Boost set to +10dB. With the Crystal Voice functionality enabled (Noise Suppression or Audio Echo Cancellation), the Microphone Boost setting had to be bumped up to +20db for acceptable audio clarity.
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, the SATA-Express device ports, the USB 3.0 ports, and USB 3.1 Gen2 type A and type C ports. NGFF port testing was performed using an M.2 based Plextor PCIe M.2 2280 128GB SSD. The M.2 device was tested using the board's integrated M.2 slot. USB port testing performed using the OCZ SSD in a USB 3.1 Gen 2 compatible enclosure. 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 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.
The OC SSD performed as expected on the Intel-controlled SATA-Express ports and on the USB 3.1 Gen2 ports from the GIGABYTE external port bay with performance pushing the limits of the SSDs performance specs. The M.2 drive performed best overall with its performance also pushing the device's rated limits. Although the drive performance using the USB 3.0 ports was lower than that of the SATA-Express or USB 3.1 Gen2-based ports, the USB 3.0 device performance exceeded that of the ASMedia SATA 3 ports by almost 15%. No testing was done using the Intel Thunderbolt 3-controlled USB 3.1 Gen2 ports in the board's rear panel because of stability issues encountered when using the enclosure in conjuction with those ports.
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, the lowest repeatable average CPU utilization, and lowest repeatable performance spike percentages recorded.
Note that that theoretical maximum throughput for a Gigabit Ethernet adapter is 125 MB/s (1.0 Gbps). The theoretical maximum throughput for the integrated wireless AC controller is 108 MB/s (867 Mbps).
The performance of both Killer GigE controllers was impressive, averaging 115 MB/s during both upload and download tests. The Killer wireless-AC controller averaged a bit slower performance, coming in at 55 MB/s. Across the board, the CPU utilization remained around or below the 10% mark with the wired connections seeing utilization spikes upwards of 20%.