CPU Performance, Short Form

For our motherboard reviews, we use our short form testing method. These tests usually focus on if a motherboard is using MultiCore Turbo (the feature used to have maximum turbo on at all times, giving a frequency advantage), or if there are slight gains to be had from tweaking the firmware. We leave the BIOS settings at default and memory at JEDEC (DDR4-2133 C15) for these tests, making it very easy to see which motherboards have MCT enabled by default.

Video Conversion – Handbrake v0.9.9: link

Handbrake is a media conversion tool that was initially designed to help DVD ISOs and Video CDs into more common video formats. For HandBrake, we take two videos (a 2h20 640x266 DVD rip and a 10min double UHD 3840x4320 animation short) and convert them to x264 format in an MP4 container.  Results are given in terms of the frames per second processed, and HandBrake uses as many threads as possible.

Handbrake v0.9.9 H.264 Encoding: 640x266 Film

Handbrake v0.9.9 H.264 Encoding: 3840x4320 Animation

Compression – WinRAR 5.0.1: link

Our WinRAR test from 2013 is updated to the latest version of WinRAR at the start of 2014. We compress a set of 2867 files across 320 folders totaling 1.52 GB in size – 95% of these files are small typical website files, and the rest (90% of the size) are small 30 second 720p videos.

WinRAR 5.0.1 Compression Test

Point Calculations – 3D Movement Algorithm Test: link

3DPM is a self-penned benchmark, taking basic 3D movement algorithms used in Brownian Motion simulations and testing them for speed. High floating point performance, MHz and IPC wins in the single thread version, whereas the multithread version has to handle the threads and loves more cores. For a brief explanation of the platform agnostic coding behind this benchmark, see my forum post here.

3DPM: Movement Algorithm Tester (1 Thread)

3DPM: Movement Algorithm Tester (10^4 Threads)

Rendering – POV-Ray 3.7: link

The Persistence of Vision Ray Tracer, or POV-Ray, is a freeware package for as the name suggests, ray tracing. It is a pure renderer, rather than modeling software, but the latest beta version contains a handy benchmark for stressing all processing threads on a platform. We have been using this test in motherboard reviews to test memory stability at various CPU speeds to good effect – if it passes the test, the IMC in the CPU is stable for a given CPU speed. As a CPU test, it runs for approximately 2-3 minutes on high end platforms.

POV-Ray 3.7 Render Benchmark (Multi-Threaded)

Synthetic – 7-Zip 9.2: link

As an open source compression tool, 7-Zip is a popular tool for making sets of files easier to handle and transfer. The software offers up its own benchmark, to which we report the result.

7-Zip 9.2 Compress/Decompress Benchmark

System Performance Gaming Performance
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  • romrunning - Friday, February 19, 2016 - link

    Hey, for your "Quick Board Feature Comparison", why didn't you include the feature that is right in your article's title - you know, Thunderbolt 3? It's a pain to compare the other boards when I don't know if they have TB3 or not. Reply
  • extide - Monday, February 22, 2016 - link

    He did, although, to be fair, you need to know that having the Intel Alpine Ridge controller listed under USB3.1 implies TB3. Reply
  • romrunning - Wednesday, February 24, 2016 - link

    To be clear, I would like to know if the other boards being compared specifically support TB3 so that it's more of an apples-to-apples comparison.

    Having the Alpine Ridge controller doesn't guarantee the board supports TB3. For example, the Asus Maximus VIII Impact doesn't support TB3. Perhaps this is some type of limitation for mini-ITX boards w/AR controllers; I know the Gigabyte Z170N Gaming 5 has the AR controller but doesn't support TB3. Maybe this is an artificial limit imposed by the mfg, or maybe this is just a limitation of how much circuitry you can stuff into the smaller size.
    Reply
  • pikunsia - Thursday, August 4, 2016 - link

    Hey romrunning, look at this

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderbolt_(interfa...
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, February 19, 2016 - link

    Where did all the assorted surface mount parts that normally cover the area between the PCIe slots and elsewhere on the board go to give it the cleaner surface look? Reply
  • extide - Monday, February 22, 2016 - link

    They probably put a lot of them on the back. Lots of boards have been doing this recently, I have noticed. A lot of what they clean up is actually not so much components, but excess silk-screen. Reply
  • RazrLeaf - Friday, February 19, 2016 - link

    From the images, it looks like the motherboard has 2-packs of 2 SATA cables, so 4 total. Reply
  • tspacie - Friday, February 19, 2016 - link

    Is anyone doing TB on a small motherboard? I don't need the fast, external port if I have a bunch of PCIe slots and room for extra disks. Reply
  • romrunning - Friday, February 19, 2016 - link

    Small, mini-ITX boards only have the 1 PCIe slot. So that fast TB3 port certainly helps if you need it. Reply
  • alamilla - Friday, February 19, 2016 - link

    Although Thunderbolt is hardly a mainstream protocol (yet) it is big in the audio and video production industry for it's incredibly low latency.
    With this Skylake offering and the recently released X99P-SLI, I'm optimistic Gigabyte will release a Thunderbolt enabled mATX or ITX board for Broadwell-E.
    Reply

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