Z97 Motherboard Round Up: EVGA, MSI, Gigabyte
LAME MT and SunSpider
In our custom LAME MT MP3 encoding test, we convert a large WAV file to the MP3 format, which is a popular scenario that many end users work with on a day-to-day basis to provide portability and storage of their digital audio content. LAME is an open-source MP3 audio encoder that is used widely in a multitude of third party applications.
In this test, we created our own 223MB WAV file (a hallucinogenically-induced Grateful Dead jam) and converted it to the MP3 format using the multi-thread capable LAME MT application, in both single and multi-thread modes. Processing times are recorded below, listed in seconds. Shorter times equate to better performance.
Our custom LAME MT benchmark uses only one or two threads. As a result, dual, quad, or octal core processors may perform similarly here. All of the motherboards performed similarly as well--in fact, there was no variation between the boards at all here.
Balanced - This test is balanced between different areas of the language and different types of code. It's not all math, all string processing, or all timing simple loops. In addition to having tests in many categories, the individual tests were balanced to take similar amounts of time on currently shipping versions of popular browsers.
Statistically Sound - One of the challenges of benchmarking is knowing how much noise you have in your measurements. This benchmark runs each test multiple times and determines an error range (technically, a 95% confidence interval). In addition, in comparison mode it tells you if you have enough data to determine if the difference is statistically significant.
All of the systems were tested using the latest version of Internet Explorer 9, with default browser settings, on a clean install of Windows 7 Ultimate x64.
All of the Z97 based motherboards we tested performed well here too, every so slightly outpacing the Z87. Only the smallest of margins separated the Z97 based boards, though.