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Test Settings

Z68 Express Roundup: Three Motherboards Do Battle Around $200
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Test System Configuration
CPUIntel Core i7-2600K (Sandy Bridge): 3.40 GHz, 8.0 MB Cache, LGA 1155
CPU CoolerThermalright MUX-120 w/Zalman ZM-STG1 Paste
P67 BaselineAsus P8P67 Deluxe, P67 Express PCH
BIOS 1502 (03/02/2011)
RAMG.Skill F3-17600CL9Q-16GBXLD (16 GB)
DDR3-2200 at DDR3-1600 CAS 9, 1.60 V
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 580 1.5 GB
772 MHz GPU, GDDR5-4008
Hard DriveSamsung 470 Series MZ5PA256HMDR, 256 GB SSD 
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerSeasonic X760 SS-760KM
ATX12V v2.3, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GraphicsNvidia GeForce 270.61 WHQL
ChipsetIntel INF 9.2.0.1030


We wanted to see how these Z68 motherboards would stack-up against a solid P67-based product. Asus’ P8P67 Deluxe fills that role.

Chosen for its good overall performance, Samsung’s 470-series 256 GB drive is now a member of our standardized test hardware.

Seasonic’s X760 power supply became a member of our standardized hardware set by offering excellent efficiency, modular cables, and a solid reputation of reliability.

We had to go beyond the realm of standardized parts to test the overclocking capabilities of today’s motherboards. G.Skill’s RipJaws X DDR3-2200 16 GB kit allows us to test the limits of a fully-loaded board, though only two modules (8 GB) were needed for other benchmarks. Defaulting to DDR3-1600 CAS 9, its XMP-2200 register was used for overclocking.

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 580 graphics card minimizes GPU bottlenecks as we test the performance capability of each motherboard.

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Very High Quality, 8x AA
F1 2010V1.01, Run with -benchmark example_benchmark.xml
Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA
Just Cause 2Version 1.0.0.2, Built-In Benchmark "Concrete Jungle"
Test Set 1: Medium Details, No AA, 8x AF
Test Set 2: Highest Details, 8x AA, 16x AF
Metro 2033Full Game, Built-In Benchmark, "Frontline" Scene
Test Set 1: DX11, High, AAA, 4x AF, No PhysX, No DoF
Test Set 2: DX11, Very High, 4x AA, 16x AF, No PhysX, DoF On
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion 9.0.3.15 x64: Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 minutes, default AAC format 
Lame MP3Version 3.98.3: Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, convert WAV to MP3 audio format, Command: -b 160 --nores (160 kb/s)
MediaEspresso 6.5Version 6.5.1210_33281: 1080i HDTV (449MB) to iPad H.264, 1024x768
MediaConverter 7Version7.1.0.68: 1080i HDTV (449MB) to iPad, SmartFit profile
Handbrake CLIVersion 0.94: "Big Buck Bunny" (720x480, 23.972 FPS) 5 Minutes, Audio: Dolby Digital, 48000 Hz, Six-Channel, English, to Video: AVC Audio: AC3 Audio2: AAC (High Profile)
MainConcept ReferenceVersion: 2.0.0.1555: MPEG-2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 kb/s), Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
Productivity
Adobe Photoshop CS5Version 12.0 x64: Filter 15.7MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Autodesk 3ds Max 2010Version 12.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080
WinZipVersion 14.0 Pro: THG-Workload (464MB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"
WinRARVersion 4.0 Beta 4: THG-Workload (464MB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
7-ZipVersion 9.2: THG-Workload (464MB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"
ABBYY FineReaderVersion 10.0.102.82: Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Display all 60 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    user 18 , May 16, 2011 4:27 AM
    ASrock comes with 4 eSATA cables?
  • 0 Hide
    Kisakuku , May 16, 2011 6:23 AM
    The first UEFI screenshots for ASRock and Asus are switched.
  • 0 Hide
    Crashman , May 16, 2011 6:48 AM
    user 18ASrock comes with 4 eSATA cables?
    KisakukuThe first UEFI screenshots for ASRock and Asus are switched.
    Fixed, thanks!
  • 2 Hide
    pirateboy , May 16, 2011 8:34 AM
    mayankleoboy1a little something from MSI would have made this more interesting.


    +1
  • 0 Hide
    evga_fan , May 16, 2011 8:38 AM
    ->Thomas

    "Gigabyte’s Quick Boost application sets our processor at 200, 400, or 700 MHz beyond its rated frequency."

    Just so you know. Anyways, keep up the good work!

    Cheers
  • 2 Hide
    crisan_tiberiu , May 16, 2011 9:57 AM
    so, basicaly there is no difference in performance between theese boards as i can see.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , May 16, 2011 10:29 AM
    hmm .. was thinking of getting an Asus P8Z68-V Pro .. not so sure now knowing that the other boards offer the same performance and are both cheaper.
  • 2 Hide
    Olle P , May 16, 2011 12:01 PM
    One additional feature of the ASRock card that isn't mentioned is its set of holes matching a socket 775 cooler. That feature was the main reason I ordered one of these cards three days ago, since I won't have to spend money on a new CPU cooler.
  • 2 Hide
    tommysch , May 16, 2011 12:29 PM
    So a P67 is superior... interesting.
  • 0 Hide
    crisan_tiberiu , May 16, 2011 12:42 PM
    Olle POne additional feature of the ASRock card that isn't mentioned is its set of holes matching a socket 775 cooler. That feature was the main reason I ordered one of these cards three days ago, since I won't have to spend money on a new CPU cooler.


    ermm thats pro, since i have a socket 775 core 2 duo atm. Any other motherboards out there that suport this?? i would love to know

  • 0 Hide
    adamcom25334 , May 16, 2011 12:53 PM
    mayankleoboy1a USB 3.0 speed comparison between them would be more informative

    Agree. A USB 2.0 speed comparison would have been nice as well. Otherwise, nice review.
  • 0 Hide
    Olle P , May 16, 2011 1:56 PM
    crisan_tiberiu... socket 775 core 2 duo atm. Any other motherboards out there that suport this?
    The other two (cheaper) ASRock Z68 mobos do support it as well, but I haven't seen it with any other manufacturer.
  • 1 Hide
    User69 , May 16, 2011 2:12 PM
    It would be interesting to experiment with having multiple graphics cards, adding hard drives, using controllers, basically testing how performance between all motherboards is affected by eating up bandwidth by using the pci-e slots and controllers.
  • 1 Hide
    huron , May 16, 2011 2:44 PM
    Thanks for the excellent review. How appropriate for me, since I was just in the market for a Z68.

    Also, thanks (to the commentor) for the info about the LGA 775 compatibility with coolers - I was wondering if I was going to have to replace mine...not it looks like I might be able to use it still.
  • 0 Hide
    Onus , May 16, 2011 3:21 PM
    I'm itching for June to get here so I can finally decide, BD or SB, but in either case, the mobo will likely be ASRock.
  • -1 Hide
    cryptz , May 16, 2011 3:21 PM
    16/0/4 pcie is a joke. that really doesnt leave you room for much of anything. video card, i cant even use my raid card properly (x8) at that point. i hope x68 hurries up and gets here fast.

  • 0 Hide
    compton , May 16, 2011 3:28 PM
    I sure do love motherboard roundups. Incidentally, when I ordered my 2500k, the only motherboard in stock at the time was a H67 uATX board. So I bought it, and figured that the Z68 chipset would certainly be worth the wait. I think that it is for the most part. I'm using a pretty stripped down H67 board to boot. Even running at stock speeds, the 2500k and 2600k are pretty damn fast, so I really haven't regretted the decision. It sure feels like an upgrade from an aging Phenom II/Athlon II. The Z chipset might be icing on the cake.
  • 0 Hide
    festerovic , May 16, 2011 7:09 PM
    In previous reviews of various chipsets, I've noticed that ASrock consistently has boards with slower than normal bus speeds. Perhaps this is why they are slightly off the performance of other boards (especially the ones with faster bus speeds ie over 100Mhz)
  • 0 Hide
    huron , May 16, 2011 7:49 PM
    huronThanks for the excellent review. How appropriate for me, since I was just in the market for a Z68.Also, thanks (to the commentor) for the info about the LGA 775 compatibility with coolers - I was wondering if I was going to have to replace mine...now it looks like I might be able to use it still.

  • 0 Hide
    huron , May 16, 2011 7:49 PM
    Ooops...sorry...clicked the wrong button - was hoping to edit the post, not re-post
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