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Z68 Express Roundup: Three Motherboards Do Battle Around $200

Test Settings

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
  • user 18
    ASrock comes with 4 eSATA cables?
    Reply
  • Kisakuku
    The first UEFI screenshots for ASRock and Asus are switched.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    user 18ASrock comes with 4 eSATA cables?KisakukuThe first UEFI screenshots for ASRock and Asus are switched.Fixed, thanks!
    Reply
  • pirateboy
    mayankleoboy1a little something from MSI would have made this more interesting.
    +1
    Reply
  • evga_fan
    ->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
    Reply
  • crisan_tiberiu
    so, basicaly there is no difference in performance between theese boards as i can see.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • Olle P
    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.
    Reply
  • tommysch
    So a P67 is superior... interesting.
    Reply
  • crisan_tiberiu
    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

    Reply