Real World CPU Benchmarks

Readers of our motherboard review section will have noted the trend in modern motherboards to implement a form of MultiCore Enhancement / Acceleration / Turbo (read our report here) on their motherboards. This does several things – better benchmark results at stock settings (not entirely needed if overclocking is an end-user goal), at the expense of heat and temperature, but also gives in essence an automatic overclock which may be against what the user wants. Our testing methodology is ‘out-of-the-box’, with the latest public BIOS installed and XMP enabled, and thus subject to the whims of this feature. It is ultimately up to the motherboard manufacturer to take this risk – and manufacturers taking risks in the setup is something they do on every product (think C-state settings, USB priority, DPC Latency / monitoring priority, memory subtimings at JEDEC). Processor speed change is part of that risk which is clearly visible, and ultimately if no overclocking is planned, some motherboards will affect how fast that shiny new processor goes and can be an important factor in the purchase.

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 5.01

Image Manipulation – FastStone Image Viewer 4.9: link

Similarly to WinRAR, the FastStone test us updated for 2014 to the latest version. FastStone is the program I use to perform quick or bulk actions on images, such as resizing, adjusting for color and cropping. In our test we take a series of 170 images in various sizes and formats and convert them all into 640x480 .gif files, maintaining the aspect ratio. FastStone does not use multithreading for this test, and thus single threaded performance is often the winner.

FastStone Image Viewer 4.9

Video Conversion – Xilisoft Video Converter 7: link

The XVC test I normally do is updated to the full version of the software, and this time a different test as well. Here we take two different videos: a double UHD (3840x4320) clip of 10 minutes and a 640x266 DVD rip of a 2h20 film and convert both to iPod suitable formats. The reasoning here is simple – when frames are small enough to fit into memory, the algorithm has more chance to apply work between threads and process the video quicker. Results shown are in seconds and time taken to encode.

Xilisoft VC 7.5 Film CPU Only

Xilisoft VC 7.5 2x4K CPU Only

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. The principle today is still the same, primarily as an output for H.264 + AAC/MP3 audio within an MKV container. In our test we use the same videos as in the Xilisoft test, and results are given in frames per second.

HandBrake v0.9.9 Film CPU Only

HandBrake v0.9.9 2x4K CPU Only

Rendering – PovRay 3.7: link

The Persistence of Vision RayTracer, or PovRay, 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.

PovRay 3.7 beta

System Benchmarks Scientific and Synthetic Benchmarks: 2D to 3D, Emulation, Encryption
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  • 457R4LDR34DKN07 - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    The Gen2 M.2 x4 PCIe looks very impressive. Its too bad that Asrock did not include this in their mITX offering. Reply
  • 457R4LDR34DKN07 - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    I mean Gen3 Reply
  • smoohta - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    Regarding the Dolphin benchmark- you wrote:
    "Results are given in minutes, where the Wii itself scores 17.53; meaning that anything above this is faster than an actual Wii for processing Wii code, albeit emulated."

    This should read "... meaning that anything below this is faster than..." - right?
    Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    Bad choice of words - anything 'above on the graph' would be faster based on the orientation of results. I've updated it to remove the ambiguity. Thanks for pointing it out :)
    Ian
    Reply
  • r3loaded - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    The overarching conclusion from this review - Intel needs to put far more PCIe 3..0 lanes on their CPUs and chipsets if we want motherboards where connectors don't play musical chairs with each other for bandwidth. Also, Samsung needs to make the XP941 a retail product right now! Reply
  • Tunnah - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    I think the reasoning behind an either/or situation with M.2/SATAe is sound - the consumer most likely will not require 2 high end SSDs, and will go with one that is either M.2 or SATAe, the rest can be served via normal SATA ports.

    Also I think SATAe, while a great idea, will lose out to the convenience and capability of M.2; SATAe would have been great 2 years ago but now M.2 is here it is absolutely perfect for an OS drive, cutting down on not just size but cabling.
    Reply
  • SirKnobsworth - Sunday, May 25, 2014 - link

    Agreed about SATAe, especially since (a) SSDs don't really need that much circuit board area and (b) A RAID array of two SATA SSDs offers at least as much theoretical bandwidth as a SATAe while taking up the same amount of ports on your board. Reply
  • Babar Javied - Sunday, May 25, 2014 - link

    Exactly my thought. So why have SATAe???? Its great that it uses PCI but it doesn't really offer anything that we couldn't already do.

    As you've said, "A RAID array of two SATA SSDs offers at least as much theoretical bandwidth as a SATAe while taking up the same amount of ports on your board".

    There seems to be a lot of stupid decisions being made regarding ports. DDR4 is another example of a useless upgrade.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, May 27, 2014 - link

    "A RAID array of two SATA SSDs offers at least as much theoretical bandwidth" But your are losing random performance when going RAID and increase the chance of a disk failure. Why would you even compare them? Reply
  • Galatian - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    Ian,

    Can you explain to me why no mainboard manufacturer is using 4 lanes from the chipsets PCIe 2.0? I mean that would be enough for the Samsung SSD and still has room left. I mean what do I gain from all those SATA and USB ports? Who is actually using all of them?

    Right now I have to choose between either a slow M.2 slot because they only allocate 2 lanes or I can go with ASRock which feels like overkill and takes away CPU PCIe lanes.
    Reply

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