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. Note that the side channel output much be attached to the Line-In port when audio is set for 7.1 speaker output.
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. Note that the DTS Connect functionality neeed to be enabled for music to be played through all speakers. If you encounter quality issues when using headphones, check the settings in the DTS Audio application. We found that headphone audio sounded "off" with the app enabled, requiring the app to be disabled to restore normal audio.
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 was distortion free without Microphone Boost enabled, but was best with Microphone Boost set to +20dB with a recording volume of 50 to 75%. Also, there was no quality difference between audio pickup in normal mode and with the Noise Suppression and Accoustic Echo Cancellation functionality active.
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 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.
Performance of the test drives on the SATA III ports fell as expected, closely matching that of the ssd drives connected to the USB 3.1 ports. The Samsung 950 Pro M.2 drive performed best with its no performance differences seen using either of the integrated M.2 ports. Peformance of the drives on the USB 3.0 ports was impressive as well, falling just under 470 MB/s for both read and write tests.
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 Intel network controllers performed well with both sporting upload and download performance averaging just under an impressive 120 MB/s. CPU utilization performance was the same between both controllers as well with upload and download utilization averaging at or below 5%. There were utilization spikes as high as 15% during the upload tests, but those were few and short-lived.