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 7.1 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 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 muted without Microphone Boost enabled with best voice reproduction requiring a minimum recording volume of 50% and Microphone Boost a +20dB. Recording volume became a key factor with the Microphone Boost setting because any volume over 50% caused capture of background distortion to become apparent. With Noise Suppression and Acoustic Audio Cancellation enabled, voice capture was slightly muted with a "tinny" sound apparent during playback. With ASUS' audio implementation, neither option is required for use.
ATTO Disk Benchmark
To validate that the board’s device ports were functioning correctly, we connected a Samsung 850 EVO 250GB 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 Samsung 950 Pro PCIe M.2 2280 256GB 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 2200 MB/s and a write throughput of 900 MB/s over a PCI-Express x4 bus. The selected SSD has a maximum read throughput of 540 MB/s and a write throughput of 520 MB/s on a SATA III controller. The drive tests were repeated three times with the highest repeatable read and write speeds recorded.
The SSDs performed well on the Intel-based SATA ports with no performance difference measured between the SATA and SATA-Express ports. Performance on the ASMedia controlled SATA port fell off compared with the Intel ports, managing performance numbers more in-line with results you would see out of a USB 3.0 port. The Samsung 950 Pro drive performed as expected through both the online M.2 port and the ASUS PCIe x4-based add-on card. There were no surprises wtih the USB port performance with the USB 3.1 GEN 2 port connected devices seeing results approaching that of SATA 6Gbps ports while the USB 3.0 ports saw performance just over 400 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, 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 integrated network controllers performed very close to one another with both upload and download performance falling around 115 MB/s. The Intel port's peformance was slightly higher than that of the Realtek-based port, but the averages remained within 3% or less. The CPU utilization numbers remained equivalent as well, average 6% or below on both controllers with performance spikes no higher than 12%.