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 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.
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.
Audio pickup was clear and distortion-free without Microphone Boost enabled, requiring a minimum recording volume of 50%. Pickup seemed best with recording volume set to 75%. There was no negative impacts to voice or audio pickup with either the Noise Suppression or Audio Cancellation settings engaged.
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 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 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.
On the Intel X99 controller, all SSD's performed as expected with no performance difference seen when using the standalone and SATA Express SATA ports. However, performance suffered quite a bit when the SATA drive was directly connected to the ASMedia controlled SATA-Express ports. In the case of the ASMedia SATA ports, drive performance fell below that of the USB 3.0 / 3.1 ports. The M.2 drive was the overall performance king, again as expected, with its performance pushing the device's rated limits. With the USB port tests, the devices performed within expections on the USB 3.0 ports with the USB 3.1 performance results matching or exceeding those of the USB 3.0 ports. The drive read performance on the USB 3.1 port was lower than expected, but can be attributed to oddities with the enclosure rather than port-related issues.
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 performance of both Intel controllers, the I110-AT and I118-LM, fell within expectations in comparison to past performance with Intel controllers on previous boards. Both controllers maintained transfer rates of around an impressive 117 MB/s during all tests. More impressive with the ultra-low CPU utilization seen during the tests, all falling at << 5%. There were momentary utilization spikes, but nothing long term nor overly high.