System Performance

Not all motherboards are created equal. On the face of it, they should all perform the same and differ only in the functionality they provide - however this is not the case. The obvious pointers are power consumption, but also the ability for the manufacturer to optimize USB speed, audio quality (based on audio codec), POST time and latency. This can come down to manufacturing process and prowess, so these are tested.

Power Consumption

Power consumption was tested on the system while in a single MSI GTX 770 Lightning GPU configuration with a wall meter connected to the OCZ 1250W power supply. This power supply is Gold rated, and as I am in the UK on a 230-240 V supply, leads to ~75% efficiency > 50W, and 90%+ efficiency at 250W, suitable for both idle and multi-GPU loading. This method of power reading allows us to compare the power management of the UEFI and the board to supply components with power under load, and includes typical PSU losses due to efficiency. These are the real world values that consumers may expect from a typical system (minus the monitor) using this motherboard.

While this method for power measurement may not be ideal, and you feel these numbers are not representative due to the high wattage power supply being used (we use the same PSU to remain consistent over a series of reviews, and the fact that some boards on our test bed get tested with three or four high powered GPUs), the important point to take away is the relationship between the numbers. These boards are all under the same conditions, and thus the differences between them should be easy to spot.

Power Long Idle (w/GTX 770)

Power OS Idle (w/GTX 770)

Power OCCT (w/GTX 770)

The C7H170-M pulled in some good low numbers for idling and load, which should be expected for a smaller motherboard without too many controllers. The power delta from long idle to load was 86W, which is one of the best of all the 100-series systems we’ve tested.

Non UEFI POST Time

Different motherboards have different POST sequences before an operating system is initialized. A lot of this is dependent on the board itself, and POST boot time is determined by the controllers on board (and the sequence of how those extras are organized). As part of our testing, we look at the POST Boot Time using a stopwatch. This is the time from pressing the ON button on the computer to when Windows 7 starts loading. (We discount Windows loading as it is highly variable given Windows specific features.) 

Non UEFI POST Time

One drawback of systems outside of the normal big four vendors has historically been POST times, and the C7H170-M continues this trend, being over 30 seconds from power on to seeing Windows 7 being loaded. Cutting out the audio and network controllers for a stripped POST time reduced it to just under 30 seconds, but that is still twice as long as the best 100-series motherboards.

Rightmark Audio Analyzer 6.2.5

Rightmark:AA indicates how well the sound system is built and isolated from electrical interference (either internally or externally). For this test we connect the Line Out to the Line In using a short six inch 3.5mm to 3.5mm high-quality jack, turn the OS speaker volume to 100%, and run the Rightmark default test suite at 192 kHz, 24-bit. The OS is tuned to 192 kHz/24-bit input and output, and the Line-In volume is adjusted until we have the best RMAA value in the mini-pretest. We look specifically at the Dynamic Range of the audio codec used on board, as well as the Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise.

Rightmark Audio Analyzer 6.2.5: Dynamic Range

Rightmark Audio Analyzer 6.2.5: THD+N

Using the ALC1150 codec means that the C7H170-M should have some potential, although the board comes without most of the enhancements we typically see with souped up versions of the codec. Perhaps surprisingly we get the best THD+N result out of any codec we’ve ever tested on 100-series motherboards.

USB Backup

For this benchmark, we transfer a set size of files from the SSD to the USB drive using DiskBench, which monitors the time taken to transfer. The files transferred are a 1.52 GB set of 2867 files across 320 folders – 95% of these files are small typical website files, and the rest (90% of the size) are small 30 second HD videos. In an update to pre-Z87 testing, we also run MaxCPU to load up one of the threads during the test which improves general performance up to 15% by causing all the internal pathways to run at full speed.

Due to the introduction of USB 3.1, as of June 2015 we are adjusting our test to use a dual mSATA USB 3.1 Type-C device which should be capable of saturating both USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 connections. We still use the same data set as before, but now use the new device. Results are shown as seconds taken to complete the data transfer.

USB Copy Test, 2867 Files (1.52GB)

Using the default Intel drivers, the USB 3.0 ports for the C7H170-M gave our worst result so far. This may be down to some BIOS tuning which the other motherboard manufacturers have been doing for many years.

DPC Latency

Deferred Procedure Call latency is a way in which Windows handles interrupt servicing. In order to wait for a processor to acknowledge the request, the system will queue all interrupt requests by priority. Critical interrupts will be handled as soon as possible, whereas lesser priority requests such as audio will be further down the line. If the audio device requires data, it will have to wait until the request is processed before the buffer is filled.

If the device drivers of higher priority components in a system are poorly implemented, this can cause delays in request scheduling and process time.  This can lead to an empty audio buffer and characteristic audible pauses, pops and clicks. The DPC latency checker measures how much time is taken processing DPCs from driver invocation. The lower the value will result in better audio transfer at smaller buffer sizes. Results are measured in microseconds.

Deferred Procedure Call Latency

DPC Latency is still an odd discussion point on 100-series. We’ve seen ASUS get it right, MSI not too far behind but the others are playing catchup.

Supermicro C7H170-M Software Motherboard Processor Performance, Short Form
POST A COMMENT

62 Comments

View All Comments

  • RobATiOyP - Sunday, March 20, 2016 - link

    Yep.. and that's why desktop CPUs are 2 or 4 core; programs tend not to scale linearly to CPUs thanks to lock contention and Amdahl's law.
    When a program waits for net or disk i/o or user input, it rests in an OS wait queue, woken up when the event has completed.
    Reply
  • rscoot - Thursday, March 17, 2016 - link

    The heyday of overclocking for me was getting 50% OCs with a celeron 300A in a 440BX mobo, through mobile AMD XPs that you could push from 1.5GHz to 2.7 and beyond if you had some BH-5 and a DFI Lanparty mobo to Athlon 64s that would go from 1.8GHz to 2.7Ghz with the same RAM. Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Thursday, March 17, 2016 - link

    The 300A was a good time for overclocking. I never had much luck in the chip lottery with AMD CPUs. My T-birds and T-breds must have been duds, but there was a 350MHz K6-2 that I squeezed pretty hard using a peltier cooler I snagged from a computer show. Doing nothing to mitigate condensation wasn't a bright idea though. My favorite overclocked chip was a 100MHz Pentium which was getting long in tooth by the 1998. A few minutes messing with DIP switches on the motherboard got it up to 133MHz with no consideration to cooling or voltage. The heatsink was glued on by the OEM and the chip (which still exists to this day in a cardboard box) was utterly apathetic to the change. Reply
  • bill.rookard - Thursday, March 17, 2016 - link

    It is really a shame that you pretty much do have to go back in time to get overclockable parts, but careful shopping will get you quite a lot for a little. My current build which I just put together a few weeks ago was a Xeon X3470 ($70) with an Asus P7F7-E WS motherboard. BCLK overclocking went from 2.9ghz to 4.2ghz. Reply
  • pizzahut22 - Thursday, March 17, 2016 - link

    This article is so silly. Why did you overclock a i3 6100TE? You basically took it and made it into a standard i3 6100... Not to mention its an OEM part that nobody will be using for this.

    This article blows my mind. Just overclock a standard i3 6100 and give us the numbers compared to stock i5 and i7s, and overclocked i5 and i7s. Also give us some graphs about price/performance and talk about that. This article is well below typical Anandtech standards.
    Reply
  • OrphanageExplosion - Thursday, March 17, 2016 - link

    Eurogamer has all the Core i3 6100 overclocking data you need plus tons of FCAT: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2...

    In CPU-limited scenarios, an overclocked i3 with fast memory dukes it out with a Core i5 6500 with slower memory when both are paired with a Titan X (which means you're CPU-bound more of the time). I would imagine that the gap narrows if you're running something like a GTX 970.

    The real question I want answered is this: if I apply a BIOS update that locks out Skylake non-K OC, do I get it back by reverting to an older BIOS?
    Reply
  • dualsmp - Thursday, March 17, 2016 - link

    I wouldn't update if you have a working overclock. I've seen a few posts about people updating their board, then reverting back to the old BIOS and it does NOT overclock anymore. It sets some kind of kill bit and overclocking does not return. Reply
  • OrphanageExplosion - Friday, March 18, 2016 - link

    Thanks! Reply
  • silverblue - Friday, March 18, 2016 - link

    I'd be somewhat annoyed if I'd written a 15,000 word article only to have it shot down by people who don't see my point of view, but maybe I'm not getting it. Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Thursday, March 17, 2016 - link

    This has got to be some kind of joke. There is already an i3-6320 which runs at 3.9GHz. What is this review supposed to be telling us? Seems completely pointless. And then they throw in a 4.7GHz G3258 just to further highlight the pointlessness. Where is the 4.7GHz i3? Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now