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, POST time and latency. This can come down to the manufacturing process and prowess, so these are tested.

For Z590 we are running using Windows 10 64-bit with the 20H2 update.

Power Consumption

Power consumption was tested on the system while in a single MSI GTX 1080 Gaming configuration with a wall meter connected to the power supply. Our power supply has ~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 testbed 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 1080)Power: OS Idle (w/ GTX 1080)Power: Prime95 Blend (w/ GTX 1080)

The MSI MEG Z590 Ace was slightly more power-hungry than other models on test, but not as hungry as the Taichi. There is no doubt that the Thunderbolt 4 controller will be a contributing factor to the additional power draw compared with the other models. 

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 starts loading. (We discount Windows loading as it is highly variable given Windows-specific features.)

Non UEFI POST Time

In our POST time test, the Ace performed respectably and currently sits in the middle of our charts.

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

We test DPC latency out of the box at default settings, and the Ace performed well in our testing with a maximum latency of 106.2 microseconds.

Board Features, Test Bed and Setup CPU Performance, Short Form
POST A COMMENT

17 Comments

View All Comments

  • TheinsanegamerN - Wednesday, May 26, 2021 - link

    That's a LOTTA money for a motherboard without 10Gbe and limited to either 10 coffee lake cores or 8 rocket lake cores. Reply
  • YB1064 - Thursday, May 27, 2021 - link

    Yes, I agree. No 10GbE in a premium board = no buy! Reply
  • ballsystemlord - Thursday, May 27, 2021 - link

    I also agree. I can't order even 0.5G Ethernet but I defiantly need that 10GbE port! Reply
  • lmcd - Friday, May 28, 2021 - link

    Aside from defiantly being unable to spell, the point of 10G Ethernet is connection to a local NAS, among other things. Reply
  • kpb321 - Wednesday, May 26, 2021 - link

    The Mini DP in for supporting the USB-C display port alt mode with a discrete video card has always felt like a pretty clunky solution. That's why I've always felt like that was much more useful on laptops, SFF etc where there is no support for changing a dedicated GPU and you just build that into it. I wonder if they could built Display port signaling into the PCI-E slot using some reserved pins or an extra section of connectors or something like that to make it simple with a dedicated GPU Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Wednesday, May 26, 2021 - link

    You can already do video signaling through PCI-E. That's how laptop GPUs have worked ever since the first iterations of optimus. Reply
  • Jorgp2 - Thursday, June 3, 2021 - link

    Pretty sure it's actually built into windows nowadays. Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, May 27, 2021 - link

    "with a flagship motherboard model costing nearly double that. It comes down to..."

    Greed.
    Reply
  • Questor - Thursday, May 27, 2021 - link

    All this connectivity and still a shortage of PCI express lanes. Reply
  • GNUminex_l_cowsay - Thursday, May 27, 2021 - link

    I think the next high end motherboard review needs to have a feature comparison table. Post time and idle power are impossible to interpret without knowing what is on the board and these high end boards have a lot of things. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now