Intel Z270 flagship motherboard shootout: Keeping things fresh

By Koh Wanzi - 20 May 2017

Performance benchmarks

Performance benchmarks


SYSmark 2014 SE

SYSmark is a general productivity benchmark suite that measures the response times of tasks on a PC using real-world applications like Microsoft Office 2013 and Adobe Photoshop and simulated user input. Task response times are used to generate a performance rating that reflects actual user experience, so the faster a PC responds to application workloads, the higher its score will be. The method of measuring response times can take many forms, such as the time it takes for an application to show a pop-up completion message, or how long it takes a progress dialog to disappear and for a user to regain application control.

The 2014 SE version of SYSmark adds a new Responsiveness usage model, where the system's ability to react quickly to user input affects the overall user experience. This means situations where the system needs to respond smoothly and quickly, such as with application launches, multi-tab web browsing, file copying, and background app installation.

Unsurprisingly, given the otherwise identical system configurations, all the boards turned out very close numbers, and there was just a 2 per cent difference overall between the top (Gigabyte) and bottom (ASRock) performer.


Cinebench R15

Cinebench is a benchmark tool used to compare CPU performance across different systems, so we’ll be using it to evaluate how well our Intel Core i7-7700K plays with the different motherboards. The multi-threaded test scenario uses all of the system’s processing power to render a photorealistic 3D scene, making use of various algorithms to stress all available processor cores. Conversely, the single-core test stresses just one core. 

Once again, there was just a minuscule 1.4 per cent difference between the lowest (ASRock) and highest (Gigabyte) scores, which probably won't mean too much in real-world usage. That said, the ASRock board lagged behind by a larger distance relative to the other motherboards, especially in the single-core benchmark. 


SPECviewperf 12.1

SPECviewperf is used to measure the 3D graphics performance of systems in professional applications. Each individual workload, called a viewset, represents graphics and content from an actual real-world application.

SPECviewperf actually runs a total of eight different viewsets, but we’ve picked just three to display here. The 3dsmax-05 viewset was created from traces of graphics workloads generated by 3ds Max 2016, while creo-01 and maya-04 were derived from PTC's Creo 2 and Autodesk's Maya 2013 respectively.

The results were mostly too close to call here, but the one outlier would be the surprisingly weak performance of the MSI motherboard in 3dsmax-05. We even ran the test several times to verify, where the board consistently posted low numbers for that particular viewset.


3DMark (2013)

3DMark is a synthetic gaming benchmark that tests graphics and computational performance at different resolutions, starting at 1080p and going all the way up to 4K. A series of two graphics test, one physics test, and then a combined test stresses your hardware in turn to assess its performance. And because of the physics test that keeps the GPU load low while running gameplay physics simulations on the CPU, all three 3DMark Fire Strike tests scores also include an element of CPU performance.

Performance differentials were expectedly small here given the identical graphics and CPU hardware, but the ASUS board managed to eek out a lead in all three Fire Strike benchmarks.


Ashes of the Singularity

Gaming performance is turning out to be the ASUS' motherboard strong suit, and it once again edged ahead of all its competitors in both the GPU- and CPU-focused benchmarks in Ashes of the Singularity. Still, the difference was small as in all our other tests, and we can probably say that benchmark performance is not going to be the deciding factor when choosing where to put your money.

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