Z77 Mobo Roundup II: EVGA, ASRock, Gigabyte, Zotac

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LameMT 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 mid to high bit-rate and VBR (variable bit rate) MP3 audio encoder that is used widely around the world in a multitude of third party applications.

LAME MT
Audio Conversion and Encoding

In this test, we created our own 223MB WAV audio file and converted it to the MP3 format using the multi-thread capable LAME MT application in single and multi-thread modes. Processing times are recorded below, listed in seconds. Shorter times equate to better performance.



Oddly, in a series of tests in which a group of motherboards could hit a range of scores, we've seen very close groupings, but in a test where the scores are usually identical, we see a bit of variation. Granted, there isn't much--a second or two here and there--but the two-second gap between the ASRock and EVGA boards is notable.

SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark
JavsScript Performance Testing
Next up, we have some numbers from the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark. According to the SunSpider website:

This benchmark tests the core JavaScript language only, not the DOM or other browser APIs. It is designed to compare different versions of the same browser, and different browsers to each other. Unlike many widely available JavaScript benchmarks, this test is:

Real World - This test mostly avoids microbenchmarks, and tries to focus on the kinds of actual problems developers solve with JavaScript today, and the problems they may want to tackle in the future as the language gets faster. This includes tests to generate a tagcloud from JSON input, a 3D raytracer, cryptography tests, code decompression, and many more examples. There are a few microbenchmarkish things, but they mostly represent real performance problems that developers have encountered.

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 testing using the latest version of Internet Explorer 9, with default browser settings, on a clean installation of Windows 7 Home Premium x64.



Each motherboard scored within about 6ms of one another in this test. Note that lower scores are better in SunSpider, so the EVGA board once again brought up the rear, although it continues to do so by about the same margin--which is to say, a minute one.The ASRock board bested the field, although the tiny Zotac Z77-ITX WiFi was a close second.

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