Integrated Device Testing
Audio Subsystem Testing
Audio Playback Testing
Using a selection of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal music tracks and Windows 10 Groove Music applet, 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. Note that the Line-In audio port is used for side speaker connection in a 7.1 configuration.
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. The sound subsystem offers a gain switch for the headphone output, defaulting to 2.5x and increasing to 6.0x. There was no difference between audio output using either gain setting. Further, enabling defaults within the SBX Pro Studio tools greatly enhanced the sound output through the 5.1 speaker setup.
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 10 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 perfect and distortion free, requiring only a slight bump in recording volume to 75% for the best quality. Microphone Boost was not required to increase the audibility of the microphone audio pickup. Audio pickup quality did not change when the provided software audio tools where activated, including Noise Suppression and Acoustic Echo Cancellation.
ATTO Disk Benchmark
To validate that the board’s device ports were functioning correctly, we connected an 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 and U.2 slots. 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.
All connected devices performed well within expectations with the SATA drives connected to the SATA-Express ports, pushing the performance limits of the SSD. Performance of the M.2 drive on both PCIe x4 M.2 ports, as well as the PCIe x4 U.2 port, fell within expectations as well, again pushing the performance limits of the device. The SSD's performance on the USB 3.1 ports (both the Type-A and the Type-C ports) fell a bit lower than expected, hovering at or below the 500 MB/s mark while the USB 3.0 port device fell between 400-450 MB/s. The lower than expected USB 3.1 device performance was likely due to compatibility issues with the USB 3.1 to SATA III adapters used rather than being indicative of an issue with the board's 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).
Both integrated controllers, the Intel I219-V and the Rivet Networks Killer E2500, performed on par with one another averaging performance just between 115 – 120 MB/s. The CPU utilization differed slightly with the Intel controller remaining at or below 5% and the Killer controller averaging at or below 10%. The Killer controller saw utilization spikes just under 15% as well.