Intel Z390 motherboard shootout: Which flagship board should you get?

By Koh Wanzi - 26 Dec 2018

Benchmark performance

Benchmark performance


SYSmark 2018

SYSmark is a general productivity benchmark suite that measures the response times of tasks on a PC using real-world applications like Microsoft Office 2016 and Adobe Photoshop CC 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.

SYSmark 2018 measures performance in the areas of Productivity, Creativity, and Responsiveness, featuring new, updated applications that better reflect modern usage scenarios.

The ASUS ROG Maximus XI took the lead here, but its advantage was a mere 4 per cent ahead of both the ASRock and Gigabyte boards. For the most part, the boards were pretty evenly matched, and that's something you'll see with the rest of the results. Given that these boards are all the flagships of their respective line-ups, they probably all use top-end components, so there's little to differentiate them in terms of raw performance. 


SPECviewperf 13

SPECviewperf is used to assess 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 the four which have the greatest performance variation across CPUs display here.

The new SPECviewperf 13 incorporates new models and raycasting for volume visualization. The Maya viewset has also been updated with new models based on the SPECapc for Maya 2017 benchmark. All other viewsets have also been recompiled with minor changes.

It's worth noting that the Gigabyte board performed slightly behind the pack here, with larger differences in the 3ds-max-06 and maya-05 viewsets. But even then, it lagged by around 5 per cent or so at most, which isn't really something to get upset about. 


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 the Core i9-9900K plays with the different motherboards. The multi-threaded test scenario uses all of the system’s processing power – it can utilize up to 256 threads – 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, performance was really similar across the board in Cinebench, and the variances between the scores are small enough to be attributed to the differences across test runs. 



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.

There's again little to remark on here, with virtually no significant differences to be found between the boards.


Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation

Ashes of the Singularity is one of the few CPU-bound games out there, if you’re playing on lower resolutions and settings that is.

Motherboards have never played a super huge role in determining gaming performance, so it should really come as no surprise that the boards are so evenly matched here. Put simply, when you're choosing between these boards, it'll come down to things like design and features more than gaming performance. 


Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

The story repeats itself in Mankind Divided, where all four boards turned out numbers within a frame or two of each other. 

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