X79 Motherboard Roundup: ASRock, ASUS, Gigabyte

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Test Systems and PCMark Vantage

Test System Configuration Notes: When configuring our test systems for this article, we first entered their respective system BIOSes and set each board to its "Optimized" or "High performance Defaults". We then saved the settings, re-entered the BIOS and set the memory frequency to DDR3-1333. We updated the OS and installed the drivers necessary for our components. Auto-Updating and Windows Defender were then disabled and we installed all of our benchmarking software, performed a disk clean-up, defragged the hard drives, and ran the tests.

Our test system consisted of a Core i7-3820 (3.6GHz) processor, 4x2GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-2400 (@1333), ZOTAC GeForce GTX 260, WD 150GB Raptor HDD, and Windows Home Premium x64.

Preliminary Testing with PCMark Vantage
Synthetic Benchmarks
First up, we ran our test systems through Futuremark’s total-system performance evaluation tool, PCMark Vantage. PCMark Vantage runs through a host of different usage scenarios to simulate different types of workloads including High Definition TV and movie playback and manipulation, gaming, image editing and manipulation, music compression, communications, and productivity.

Most of the sub-tests used to come up with the final scores in each category are multi-threaded as well, so the tests can exploit the additional resources offered by a multi-core CPU.

Clearly, the Gigabyte board stood tall just above the field in this test. In addition to posting the best PCMarks score, it took the top spot in all but two of the sub-tests (Music and Gaming).  One caveat we should note is, if you decided to employ SSD caching on the ASUS boards (a feature exclusive to them in this round-up), the number definitely would have swayed in their favor.  The PCMark suite is heavily affected by storage performance.

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