System Benchmarks

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 Consumption: Long Idle with GTX 770

Power Consumption: Idle with GTX 770

Power Consumption: OCCT Load with GTX 770

The ASRock leads the way in power consumption across the board, although the GIGABYTE has the smallest idle-to-peak delta. It will be interesting to see if this 20W window during our OCCT tests is prevalent among other X99 motherboards.

Windows 7 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.) 

Windows 7 POST Time - Default

Windows 7 POST Time - Stripped

The new X99 POST sequence involves a fair amount of DRAM training (testing and verifying speeds) which adds an abnormal amount of time to the POST sequence. This is why every motherboard at default scores above 21 seconds. Not only this, but most of these BIOSes are not fully optimized in order to save time. X99 launch was rushed due to Intel, so it might be the case that we see faster times later on in the life cycle of the platform.

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: AA, Dynamic Range, 24-bit / 192 kHz

Rightmark: AA, THD+N, 24-bit / 192 kHz

The ASUS takes the lead in THD+N by a long way, and the differences between the ALC1150s and the ALC892 in the MSI show up in the Dynamic Range tests. Unfortunately the GIGABYTE had an issue with its test, causing high levels of software-detectable distortion at high volume levels.

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.

USB 2.0 Copy Times

USB 3.0 Copy Times

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.

DPC Latency

DPC for X99 is quite impressive all around, with every motherboard scoring under 100 microseconds.

2014 Test Setup and Overclocking on X99 CPU Benchmarks
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  • Ian Cutress - Friday, September 26, 2014 - link

    Usually some of the 16xx series have some leeway, but the larger 26xx are definitely locked down. I've managed 107 MHz BCLK from an E5 2697 v3, but YMMV. Reply
  • halcyon - Thursday, September 25, 2014 - link

    Is this correct:

    http://i.imgur.com/3AgxLfs.png
    Reply
  • bebimbap - Thursday, September 25, 2014 - link

    That's probably because the 5960x runs at 3.0-3.5ghz stock while the 4790k runs 4.0-4.4ghz stock
    so if it is single threaded MHz limited, then the 4790k can run 14%-47% faster than the 5960x can at stock settings.
    Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Friday, September 26, 2014 - link

    Minimum frame rate results are always tricky. If the system software initiates something critical in the foreground and causes a single frame to falter, then the whole minimum frame rate is reduced. That's why I'm not always too keen on reporting them, but have them included for completeness.

    The single thread speed is also another aspect, also depending on the cache orientation of the CPU, it might cause a frame or two to load faster/slower than others, again causing that one frame drop.

    Given that this is more common across the Haswell-E line, compared to Haswell, it might be something that fundamental.
    Reply
  • bebimbap - Thursday, September 25, 2014 - link

    I had always thought MSI was a top tier vendor of MB and GPU's but after my gtx 8800 "malfunctioned," back when they were the best available, and then my z87 mpower MSI MB headers fall apart, and OC's at higher voltages compared to my z87 gigabyte ud5h and is hotter at the same voltages. It made me think about it, and MSI is very similar in marketing style as XFX. They are both usually heavy on rebates, and very cheap for the amount of product you get. But they lack quality. None of my XFX cards perform as well as their Asus/EVGA/Gigabyte counterparts. I now put them in the same tier as ECS and Biostar.
    The MSI board OC'd performance being less seemed more of the same, and I was expecting as much. Until something drastically changes, I'll only use Asus/Gigabyte/Asrock.
    Reply
  • just4U - Thursday, September 25, 2014 - link

    That's unfortunate.. however you do have to keep in mind that these are sensitive electronic components. I've had boards fail by all the major companies. It happens.. I had 3 dead boards in the Genie Rog Asus series all out of the first batch that came in (7 in total) did it stop me from using Asus? No.. again it happens. Had loose heatsinks dead chipset fans, a capacitor that fell off.. ugh.. Still if I dropped all the companies where that had happened I'd not have any companies to turn to lol.

    Msi is doing a lot of good things these days and their easily right up there with Gigabyte and Asus.
    Reply
  • CFTheDragon - Thursday, September 25, 2014 - link

    Why is there not the MSI X99 Gaming in the review? Is anyone really going to buy the normal version and not the Gaming one for a X99 build? Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Friday, September 26, 2014 - link

    For review time, these are the samples we were sourced. Not every model is available for review, depending on how the manufacturer wants to focus on different titles. We asked MSI what their most popular/consumer focused board would be in terms of numbers, and they seem really pleased internally with the SLI Plus. Reply
  • The_Assimilator - Friday, September 26, 2014 - link

    The only people who buy "Gaming" boards are the gullible who like bling and think that the KillerNIC is something desirable to have, rather than the liability it actually is. Reply
  • Flunk - Friday, September 26, 2014 - link

    Unless the "Gaming" board happens to be cheaper, which happens a lot because I don't think they sell that great. Damn Killer NICs, just give me Intel and be done with it. Killer started off as nothing but marketing and since they've were bought out by Qualcomm they're just remarked Qualcomm parts with tweaked drivers. MSI's "Gaming" line is a really cynical take on the whole affair, it's just their regular boards with red highlights and (only on some models) a few small IC changes. Reply

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