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, 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 Voice Recorder application. The resulting audio file was saved to the desktop and played back using Windows Media Player.
Audio pickup was distortion free without Microphone Boost enabled, but was best with Microphone Boost set to +10dB with a recording volume of 50%. Audio pickup improved even more by enabling the Perfect Voice tools within the ASUS Sonic Studio II audio applet.
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 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 measurable performance difference between the SATA and SATA-Express ports. Performance dropped slightly with the drive connected to the ASMedia SATA port with performance more consistent with USB 3.0 device speeds. The Samsung 950 Pro drive performed as expected within limit using the integrated M.2 port. On the USB 3.1 ports, there was a varying degree of differences between performance seen on the Intel Thunderbolt 3 controlled ports versus the ASMedia ports. The differences measures are most likely a result of the different enclosures used, rather than port-related issues because of known performance idiosyncrasies with certain USB 3.1 enclosures and the Thunderbolt chipset. Even so, all the USB 3.1 and 3.0 devices posted impressive performance numbers north of 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 theoretical maximum throughput for the integrated wireless AC controller is 162.5 MB/s (1300 Mbps)
Both network controllers performed well with the GigE Intel I219-V network controller pushing performance of over 116 MB/s for both upload and download. The Atheros 802.11ac wireless controller did not average numbers quite so high, but still managed respectable 77 MB/s upload and 92 MB/s download speeds. The wireless controller performance suffers in comparison to the wired controller because of packet loss and transfer overhead. In both cases, the CPU utilization remained below a manageable 10% during all tests with spikes into the low teens at several points during the runs.