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.
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. For sound to come from all speakers using the 5.1 audio setup, you must go into the audio control panel and enable teh Speaker Fill setting.
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, requiring minimal tweaking of the recording volume for optimal operation. For best audibility, a recording volume of 75% with Microphone Boost set to 10dB was required. Audio pickup quality did not change when the provided software audio tools were 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 III ports, the native USB 3.0 (USB 3.1 Gen1) 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 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.
Devices connected to all integrated ports performed superbly with device speeds matching or exceeding the given drive specs with one exception. In the case of the Intel H370-controlled M.2 port, the M.2 drive performance was capped at just over 1650 MB/s for its read performance because of the ports limited PCIe x2 bandwidth. In the CPU-controlled M.2 port, the drive maxed out its read performance at just under 2300 MB/s. The Intel H370-controlled USB 3.1 Gen2 ports matched the performance of the integrated SATA III ports, which is no small feat (even with their rated 10Gbps max). The USB 3.0 performance fell a bit behind, coming in a respectable 465 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 GigE and WiFi-based 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 108 MB/s (867 Mbps).
The integrated Intel I219-V controller performed well within expectations, averaging 117 MB/s for both upload and download tests. The Intel 9560 2×2 802.11ac wireless controller performance was significantly lower with download speeds averaging 84 MB/s and upload averaging a bit lower at just under 65 MB/s. The wireless controller performance suffers in comparison to the wired controller because of packet loss and transfer overhead inherent to over-the-air transmission. The CPU utilization remained strong during all testing, averaging at or well below 5% with spikes not coming anywhere near the 10% mark.