Motherboard Testing Methodology
After a few years of testing motherboards, I’ve noticed that motherboards based on the same chipset tend to have very similar performance. This wasn’t always the case, but now that the memory controller’s in the processor, and the PCI-E lanes are in the chipset, it’s not surprising that everyone’s “Y22″ chipset motherboard performs pretty much alike…at stock settings, anyway.
So testing motherboards, unlike testing CPUs or video cards, is more about examining the proprietary features that make one different from another, as well as testing a board’s overclocking ability, especially if it’s marketed to the enthusiast community.
I tested the MSI Z87 MPOWER MAX board with a Core i7-4770K CPU at both stock and overclocked speeds. For the overclock, I used the OC Genie button at both its “Gear 1″ and “Gear 2″ settings, as well as the highest manual overclock I could achieve.
- Motherboard: MSI Z87 MPOWER MAX with BIOS E7815IMS v1.2b1
- Processor: Intel Core i7-4770K “Haswell” CPU
- System Memory: 8G (2x4G) Kingston HyperX Genesis DDR3-1600 KHX1600C9D3X2K2/8GX at 9-9-9-27 timings
- Video Card: AMD Radeon HD6850
- CPU Cooler: Prolimatech Super Mega
- Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium x64
- Finalwire AIDA64 v2.99.2446 (Beta version for Haswell CPUs)
- SPECViewPerf 11
- x264HD 5.0
I’ll start with synthetic benchmarks in the next section.