CPU Multitasking Results

We devised a script that would compress our standard test folder consisting of 444 files, ten subfolders, and 602MB worth of data, convert a 137MB High Definition QuickTime movie clip to a 37MB MPEG-4 format, play back the first two chapters of Office Space with PowerDVD, and run our AVG anti-virus program in the background. We stop the script when the file compression and video conversion are complete. This is a very taxing script for the CPU, Memory, and Storage subsystems. We also found it to be a good indicator of system stability during our overclocking testing.

General System Performance - Multitasking

The performance difference basically mirrors our PCMark05 tests with the ASUS P965 boards scoring about 3% better overall in our multitasking test although the MSI P965 Platinum and the Biostar 965PT board are very close to the ASUS boards in this demanding multitasking test. The Foxconn board scores in the middle of the pack and continues to be competitive with the other boards despite its $100 price tag.

Media Encoding Performance

Our first encoding test is quite easy - we take our original Office Space DVD and use AnyDVD Ripper to copy the full DVD to the hard drive without compression, thus providing an almost exact duplicate of the DVD. We then fire up Nero Recode 2, select our Office Space copy on the hard drive, and perform a shrink operation to allow the entire movie along with extras to fit on a single 4.5GB DVD disc. We leave all options on their defaults except we check off the advanced analysis option. The scores reported include the full encoding process and are represented in minutes and seconds, with lower numbers providing better performance.

Media Encoding Performance - Nero Recode 2

We continue to see a strong performance from the Foxconn motherboard although the differences in scores are minimal once again between the P965 boards. The 975X and NVIDIA 570SLI lag slightly behind in this test where the CPU and storage subsystems are stressed heavily.

Audio Encoding Performance

While the media encoding prowess of the P965 boards were superb in our initial media encoding testing, we wanted to see how they faired on the audio side. Our audio test suite consists of Exact Audio Copy v095.b4 and LAME 3.98a3. We utilize the INXS Greatest Hits CD that contains 16 tracks totaling 606MB of one time '80s hits.

We set up EAC for variable bit rate encoding, burst mode for extraction, use external program for compression, and to start the external compressor upon extraction (EAC will read the next track while LAME is working on the previous track, thus removing a potential bottleneck with the optical drive). We also set the number of active threads to two to ensure both cores are active during testing. The results are presented in minutes/seconds for the encoding process, with lower numbers being better.

Audio Encoding Performance - LAME 3.98a3

As in the media encoding section, the more intensive CPU and storage system tests seem to favor the P965 over the i975X/NV570SLI when running at the same memory timings. The Foxconn board scores near the top once again and had very consistent scores during each test run. This was surprising as the memory timings are running slower than the other boards tested except for the ECS unit.

File Compression Performance

In order to save space on our hard drives and ensure we had another CPU crunching utility, we will be reporting our file compression results with the latest version of WinRAR that fully supports multi-treaded operations and should be of particular interest for those users with dual core or multi-processor systems. Our series of file compression tests utilizes WinRAR 3.61 to compress our test folder that contains 444 files, ten subfolders, and 602MB worth of data. All default settings are utilized in WinRAR along with our hard drive being defragmented before each test.

File Compression Performance - WinRAR 3.61

The Foxconn board scores in the bottom group of the P965 boards but the margins are extremely close between our P965 boards just reiterating the fact that boards based on the same chipset are going to offer the same performance. The 975X and 570SLI boards trail slightly but the differences are minimal.

Benchmark Setup and Synthetic Performance Gaming Performance
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  • atlr - Friday, April 6, 2007 - link

    A P9657AA-8EKRS2H / P9657AA-8KS2H BIOS dated April 5, 2007 has been released.
    No description about what's different though.
  • Sh0ckwave - Sunday, December 31, 2006 - link

    343fsb is crap. no one will buy this for overclocking.
  • ssiu - Thursday, January 11, 2007 - link

    Seems like this could be a good option for ultra-budget E4300 overclocking. 9x343FSB = 3.087Ghz is pretty good. Save $30 on motherboard, use stock heatsink and save $$, save some more with cheaper DDR2-667 memory, etc.
  • yyrkoon - Thursday, December 28, 2006 - link

    Wouldnt it be nice is manufactures started making mother boards with loads of features, but without all the unnecessary stuff like SLI, dual GbE etc ?

    Personally, Id like to see a board like the Asus Striker, or ABIT IN9 32x-MAX, that didn't have SLI, and dual GbE. SO in other words, Something along the lines of these types of boards, but with the latest chip sets, eSATA (maybe), loads of disk ports, etc.
  • BladeVenom - Thursday, December 28, 2006 - link

    I'd like to see at least one company make a motherboard with no legacy ports, and no built in audio. Who needs it, and why pay for it if you don't.
  • Beachspree - Friday, December 29, 2006 - link

    I'll keep repeating this with each review in the hope of getting a reply. ;-)

    I was wondering why the Firewire performance is so poor in these reviews:

    Firewire 400 gets a best throughput of 230.6Mb/s

    It is known that Macs have poor USB 2 performance but look at the Firewire results by Barefeats:


    Without the perfect conditions of a RAM disk, and without cacheing turned off, they get real world performance of up to:

    Firewire 400: 304 Mb/s (31% faster than PC)
    Firewire 800: 464 Mb/s (41% faster than PC)

    For comparison, Macs are getting lousy USB 2 performance. Intel Macs have improved it but that takes it from around 136Mb/s to 168Mb/s. That's 75% slower.

    Given the importance of Firewire in multimedia applications, for which it can be critical, does this poor performance not warrant a mention?

    To be clearer:

    Can we please have some real world figures for USB 2.0, eSATA and Firewire 400/800 transfers under default settings and off an internal 7200 HDD you standardize on. That's what most people actually do when the backup, so that's what we need to see in order to make informed choices. I suspect these data rates you keep publishing are ones we will actually never see.

    I suggest, also, that poor Firewire performance in Windows is more important than poor USB on Macs. They always have Firewire built in and tend to it on peripherals, while Windows users often make do with USB until they get into music or video editing when they then find the need for Firewire and hit this poor performance just when they start needing mission critical performance. I'm talking about dropped frames and music latency.

    Why is that ignored in all your motherboard reviews?

  • SonicIce - Thursday, December 28, 2006 - link

    What speakers or headphones do you use to test audio?
  • Orbs - Thursday, December 28, 2006 - link

    I have this board in a machine I'm using as a personal server. I paired it with G.Skill F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ (2 x 1GB of DDR2 800) and it would crash randomly with that ram. After talking to G.Skill, it seems like there is an issue with that ram and all reference-based P965 boards including this board.

    Memtest86 also failed test #5 consistently with this ram on this board.

    G.Skill is sending me replacement ram (their F2-6400PHU2-2GBNR) which should be here next week. Hopefully it's more stable.
  • Orbs - Thursday, December 28, 2006 - link

    Just to be clear, I'm not saying this board or Foxconn is at fault for the compatibility issues, I'm just noting my experience so others don't run into the same problem.

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