Motherboard Testing Methodology
Motherboards based on the same chipset tend to have very similar performance. This wasn’t always the case, but now that the memory controller is in the processor, and the PCIe lanes are in the chipset, it’s not surprising that everyone’s “Z77″ chipset motherboard performs pretty much alike…at stock settings, anyway.
The MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING Motherboard is, as the name suggests, primarily a gaming platform. With the right CPU overclocking is facilitated, but this motherboard isn’t all about overclocking. There is only a 6-phase CPU power setup, enhanced power circuitry and extra power connectors are reserved for the Z77A-G45′s bigger brother, the Z77A-GD65 GAMING Motherboard.
I will test the motherboard using the synthetic AIDA64 benchmark’s CPU tests as well as a “real world” benchmark, SPECviewperf, at stock, OC Genie overclock settings, and the best “hand tuned” overclock I can reach. MSI’s “OC Genie” raised the 2600K’s stock speed of 3.4GHz to 4.2GHz, and I was able to reach 4.5GHz after a little bit of tweaking and a few BSOD’s when I pushed too hard.
- Motherboard: MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING motherboard with BIOS V17.0B4
- Processor: 3.4GHz 2nd Gen’ Intel Core i7-2600K “Sandy Bridge” CPU
- System Memory: 8GB Corsair LP DDR3 1600MHz CL9
- Disk Drive 1: OCZ Vertex 2 60GB
- Video Card: MSI GTX 560Ti HAWK
- CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14
- PSU: Corsair HX750W 750 watt Modular
- Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate x64 (SP1)
- AIDA64 v2.85.2400
- SPECViewPerf 11
Let’s start out with AIDA64 synthetic benchmarks.