Z68 Motherboard Roundup: ASUS, EVGA, ASRock, GB, MSI, ZOTAC

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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 i7-2600K (3.4GHz) processor, 2x4GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1600 (@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.

The Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3-iSSD scored the highest in PCMark Vantage, especially when Intel SRT was enabled using the board's integrated SSD. This test is especially storage subsystem performance sensitive. The scores of most of the other motherboards were relatively close together and actually formed a nice arc, from the ZOTAC Z68-ITX WiFi at the low end up to the ASRock Z68 Extreme7 Gen3 in third place. The ASUS P8Z68 Deluxe came in with the lowest score, surprisingly. In most of the other sub-tests, the scores were clustered closely, although the EVGA board tanked the Memories portion, the MSI board fell behind the group in the Music sub-test, and the ASRock board didn't keep up with the pack in Communications.

Tags:  Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, Zotac, evga, Z68, ARock

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