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ASUS Sabertooth Z97 Mark 1 Motherboard Review

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SPECapc Lightwave Test Results

SPECapc (Application Performance Characterization) tests are fundamentally different from the SPECviewperf tests. While SPECviewperf tests incorporate code from the various test programs directly into the benchmark, the SPECapc tests are separate scripts and datasets that are run against a stand-alone installation of the program being benchmarked. SPECapc group members sponsor applications and work with end-users, user groups, publications and ISVs to select and refine workloads, which consist of data sets and benchmark script files. Workloads are determined by end-users and ISVs, not SPECapc group members. These workloads will evolve over time in conjunction with end-users’ needs and the increasing functionality of PCs and workstations.

For this test, I ran the SPECapc “Lightwave” benchmark against a trial installation of Newtek’s Lightwave 3D product. The benchmark, developed in cooperation with NewTek, provides realistic workloads that simulate a typical LightWave 3D workflow. It contains 11 datasets ranging from 64,000 to 1.75 million polygons and representing such applications as 3D character animation, architectural review, and industrial design. Scores for individual workloads are composited under three categories: interactive, render and multitask.

The benchmark puts special emphasis on processes that benefit from multi-threaded computing, such as animation, OpenGL playback, deformations, and high-end rendering that includes ray tracing, radiosity, complex textures and volumetric lighting. The test reports three scores: Animation (multitasking), Animation (interactive), and Rendering. The numeric scores represent the time it took to complete each section of the benchmark, in seconds, so lower scores are better.

I’ve found the SPECapc Lightwave 3D test to be an excellent indicator of overclock stability. In many cases, overclocked systems that will make it through every other benchmark here will crash in this test.

SPECapc Lightwave

Bear in mind that what this benchmark does is use scripts to control a stand-alone instance of Lightwave, so in that sense it’s more indicative of real-world performance than the embedded Lightwave code in SPECviewperf. Performance increases between stock and manual tuning are 7% in the Interactive test, 5% in the Multitasking test, and 11% in the Rendering test. 


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5 comments

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  1. f doggrell

    will the asus sabertooth z97 mark 1 ( or mark 2 ) be fully compatible with the new broadwell cpu ? when will intel finally start selling the broadwell ? great review . thanks .

    1. Caring1

      It will be backwards compatible with current gen Intel processors as well, but you will lose some of the functionality. You will not be able to use Broadwell processors on current gen motherboards.

      1. David Ramsey

        Just to clarify: we know you will be able to use Broadwell CPUs on motherboards with Z97 chipsets. Older chipsets, well, I haven’t heard anything official either way.

  2. David Ramsey

    Broadwell support is the main reason for the existence of the Z97 chipset, so yes, any new motherboard with a Z97 will support Broadwell, although it wouldn’t surprise me if you had to update the BIOS when Broadwell comes out. As to when Intel will start selling Broadwell CPUs: well, it was originally supposed to be late 2nd quarter, but has slipped since then. Hopefully some time this year.

  3. James

    Re the mystery pins, I think it actually says “LPC DEBUG” so I’m guessing it might be to hook up something similar to this: http://amzn.to/1oedVBz

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