Benchmark Overview

For our testing, depending on the product, we attempt to tailor the presentation of our global benchmark suite down into what users who would buy this hardware might actually want to run. For CPUs, our full test suite is typically used to gather data and all the results are placed into Bench, our benchmark database for users that want to look at non-typical benchmarks or legacy data. For motherboards we run our short form CPU tests, the gaming tests with half the GPUs of our processor suite, and our system benchmark tests which focus on non-typical and non-obvious performance metrics that are the focal point for specific groups of users.

The benchmarks fall into several areas:

Short Form CPU

Our short form testing script uses a straight run through of a mixture of known apps or workloads, and requires about four hours. These are typically the CPU tests we run in our motherboard suite, to identify any performance anomalies.

CPU Short Form Benchmarks
Three Dimensional Particle Movement (3DPM) v1 3DPM is a self-penned benchmark, derived from my academic research years looking at particle movement parallelism. The coding for this tool was rough, but emulates the real world in being non-CompSci trained code for a scientific endeavor. The code is unoptimized, but the test uses OpenMP to move particles around a field using one of six 3D movement algorithms in turn, each of which is found in the academic literature. This test is performed in single thread and multithreaded workloads, and uses purely floating point numbers. The code was written in Visual Studio 2008 in Release mode with all optimizations (including fast math and -Ox) enabled. We take the average of six runs in each instance.
v2 The second version of this benchmark is similar to the first, however it has been re-written in VS2012 with one major difference: the code has been written to address the issue of false sharing. If data required by multiple threads, say four, is in the same cache line, the software cannot read the cache line once and split the data to each thread - instead it will read four times in a serial fashion. The new software splits the data to new cache lines so reads can be parallelized and stalls minimized.

As v2 is fairly new, we are still gathering data and results are currently limited.
WinRAR 5.01 WinRAR is a compression based software to reduce file size at the expense of CPU cycles. We use the version that has been a stable part of our benchmark database through 2015, and run the default settings on a 1.52GB directory containing over 2800 files representing a small website with around thirty half-minute videos. We take the average of several runs in this instance.
POV-Ray 3.7 beta POV-Ray is a common ray-tracing tool used to generate realistic looking scenes. We've used POV-Ray in its various guises over the years as a good benchmark for performance, as well as a tool on the march to ray-tracing limited immersive environments. We use the built-in multithreaded benchmark.
HandBrake  HandBrake is a freeware video conversion tool. We use the tool in to process two different videos - first a 'low quality' two hour video at 640x388 resolution to x264, then a 'high quality' ten minute video at 4320x3840. The low quality video scales at lower performance hardware, whereas the buffers required for high-quality can stretch even the biggest processors. At current, this is a CPU only test.
7-Zip 7-Zip is a freeware compression/decompression tool that is widely deployed across the world. We run the included benchmark tool using a 50MB library and take the average of a set of fixed-time results.

System Benchmarks

Our system benchmarks are designed to probe motherboard controller performance, particularly any additional USB controllers or the audio controller. As general platform tests we have DPC Latency measurements and system boot time, which can be difficult to optimize for on the board design and manufacturing level.

Gaming

Our Gaming test suite is still our 2015 implementation, which remains fairly solid over gaming title updates. We are still working on a 2017 suite update, with a move to Windows 10. This will allow most of the titles to be replaced with DirectX 12, indie and eSports games.

Gaming Benchmarks
Alien: Isolation If first person survival mixed with horror is your sort of thing, then Alien: Isolation, based off of the Alien franchise, should be an interesting title. Developed by The Creative Assembly and released in October 2014, Alien: Isolation has won numerous awards from Game Of The Year to several top 10s/25s and Best Horror titles, ratcheting up over a million sales by February 2015. Alien: Isolation uses a custom built engine which includes dynamic sound effects and should be fully multi-core enabled.
Total War: Attila The Total War franchise moves on to Attila, another The Creative Assembly development, and is a stand-alone strategy title set in 395AD where the main story line lets the gamer take control of the leader of the Huns in order to conquer parts of the world. Graphically the game can render hundreds/thousands of units on screen at once, all with their individual actions and can put some of the big cards to task.
Grand Theft Auto V The highly anticipated iteration of the Grand Theft Auto franchise finally hit the shelves on April 14th 2015, with both AMD and NVIDIA in tow to help optimize the title. GTA doesn’t provide graphical presets, but opens up the options to users and extends the boundaries by pushing even the hardest systems to the limit using Rockstar’s Advanced Game Engine. Whether the user is flying high in the mountains with long draw distances or dealing with assorted trash in the city, when cranked up to maximum it creates stunning visuals but hard work for both the CPU and the GPU.
GRID: Autosport No graphics tests are complete without some input from Codemasters and the EGO engine, which means for this round of testing we point towards GRID: Autosport, the next iteration in the GRID and racing genre. As with our previous racing testing, each update to the engine aims to add in effects, reflections, detail and realism, with Codemasters making ‘authenticity’ a main focal point for this version.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor The final title in our testing is another battle of system performance with the open world action-adventure title, Shadow of Mordor. Produced by Monolith using the LithTech Jupiter EX engine and numerous detail add-ons, SoM goes for detail and complexity to a large extent, despite having to be cut down from the original plans. The main story itself was written by the same writer as Red Dead Redemption, and it received Zero Punctuation’s Game of The Year in 2014.
Test Bed and Setup ASUS X99-E-10G WS BIOS
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  • Notmyusualid - Friday, December 2, 2016 - link

    TB3 IS great! - but not for the use case you describe, I think. Reply
  • r3loaded - Monday, November 7, 2016 - link

    So why exactly IS 10G so expensive? Is there some inherent technical reason, or is it just Intel doing what Intel does best with a captive market over which they have a near monopoly? Reply
  • jhh - Monday, November 7, 2016 - link

    Volume. There is a certain amount of engineering involved in making the NIC, and if you expect to sell 100,000, you recoup that engineering expense differently than if you expect to sell 10,000,000. I'm sure the volume is somewhere between those two targets. Volume will be limited if for no other reason that most devices connect via WiFi, and that until WiFi routers come with something other than a 1G port, it's hard to drive the market for 10G. The server environment is different, but fewer servers are sold than laptop/tablet/phone. No one is selling > 1G Internet to the residential market, so even that option isn't driving the market. One is then limited to people with the need to transfer at more than 1G speeds within a residence, and that market is small. Servers tend to use fiber, as the signal processing to support 10G over copper was historically adding significant latency compared to fiber. Fiber is also more forward compatible to 25G than copper, as every speed transition has always required different cables. Unless you are installing Cat 7a wire and proprietary connectors, but they aren't directly compatible with 1G wiring. Reply
  • Communism - Monday, November 7, 2016 - link

    http://ark.intel.com/products/84329/Intel-Ethernet...

    The price per thousand is down to 80 USD for the controller (Which provides 2x 10G base-t ports), meaning one could theoretically integrate it into an x99 (or the boards coming out for Skylake-E/X) for around that much if you could get enough traction to be able to put them in a board with a significant portion of sales.

    This sounds entirely feasible, unfortunately, they seem to be stuck on boards that are made purely for manufacturer advertising with hilarious prices like 700 USD.

    Integrating such a controller is simple, as it's just a PCIe 3.0 x4 device.

    Hopefully at least 1 of the major board manufacturers starts making reasonable integrations with the X550-AT2 controller in the Skylake-E/X generation boards.
    Reply
  • bronan - Friday, November 11, 2016 - link

    Intel sold their 10G cards for under 100 dollar each, when companies jumped onto them they slowly upped the prices to the max. These cards can be sold for under 50 dollar each but the hunger for huge profits will not allow that Reply
  • BillR - Tuesday, November 8, 2016 - link

    Terrific answer. 1G is everywhere and cost for those ports shows the power of huge volumes on prices. However, 10G is mostly limited to servers and there is a lot of competition for server connections (25G, 40G, 50G, 100G, Infiniband, etc.). Unfortunately fragmentation means higher prices. Reply
  • Ranger1065 - Monday, November 7, 2016 - link

    zzzZZzzz..... Reply
  • bronan - Friday, November 11, 2016 - link

    These chips cost really nothing for the gaints, the real prices of these chips are absolute below 10 dollar each. Again intel sold full fledged pci cards if i remember well around 77 dollar thats consumer price. See what happened after the companies started adopted them. I can't believe everbody makes it look like it so expenssive to make chips.... They cost them a few bucks to make thats it not 50 dollar+ my company makes chips for certain installations they costs 0.04 cents each and are sold to companies for 11 cents each ... talking about making profit. Thats the real prices you as consumer pay for that same 11 cents .... 10 dollar+ yes thats how the market works these days enormous profit is all what counts Reply
  • nirsever - Tuesday, November 8, 2016 - link

    In fact, the footprint of the Tehuti Networks based solutions with PHYs from either Marvell or Aquantia are way smaller than the Intel X550 and since they don't require a heat sink, consuming ~5W max (for both MAC and PHY), they are much easier to integrate. The Tehuti Networks solutions are already supporting 2.5G and 5G in addition to standard 10GBase-T. You can find Tehuti Networks based 5-speed NIC cards already selling today for ~$200 while this figure is expected to drop significantly once new Marvell 802.3bz PHYs will start shipping in volumes early next year Reply
  • nirsever - Tuesday, November 8, 2016 - link

    Please take a look at what you can expect from Tehuti Networks and Marvell new PHY:
    http://www.tehutinetworks.net/?t=LV&L1=3&L...
    Reply

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