Power, Heat, And Efficiency
ASRock’s minor loss in a few benchmarks is offset towards efficiency by its lower power consumption under full load. MSI appears to idle down a little better, while Asus packs its board with extra features.
EVGA’s Z77 Stinger had the lowest voltage regulator temperatures at default fan settings, while ASRock had the lowest CPU temperatures. Asus’ default fan profile appears to be more focused on quiet operation, though its firmware has several settings between 100% duty cycle and low noise.
Efficiency compares energy to work, which is most easily accomplished by comparing average power to average performance. We’ll need to average the performance of each board to use this method.
Repeated for this comparison, the efficiency formula from our recent System Builder Marathon is weighted at 30% games, 60% other applications, and 10% hard drive performance. Without any big performance differences between boards, we can expect the Z77E-ITX’s low power consumption to top our efficiency charts.
Comparing each motherboard’s performance to the average performance of all motherboards gives us a 100% baseline, which is zeroed-out for this chart by subtracting one (100%) from the result. The Z77E-ITX is 6.9% more efficient than the average of today’s boards, while the P8Z77-I Deluxe is 5% less efficient than that average. Though most people are willing to accept a few extra pennies a month on their electric bill, this chart is simply a reminder that extra features consume extra energy.
That technology is available from MSI and Asrock (and Gigabyte, but that's irrelevant in this roundup). Look up MSI i-Charger and Asrock App Charger.
There was a big discussion between editors over whether or not the P8Z77-I Deluxe should get an award. The only award for "best features" is Tom's Hardware Approved, and that award is reserved for products that are clearly and obviously superior. The P8Z77-I Deluxe was a better board, but we had to look fairly hard to see it (it wasn't clear or obvious).
CrashmanLOL, welcome to Windows 8.
How about using Windows 7? Was a reason you HAD to use 8 despite encountering issues? Is there some contractual obligation or monetary incentive to use the lastest version regardless of performance issues? Or at least test them both, it's only 4 motherboards.
It's not like the 80s/90s where you needed a full size AT/ATX motherboard with many slots for the ST-506 controller, floppy disk controller, serial port, parallel port, Sound Blaster card, VGA card, token ring card, and an extra cooling fan.
I will later get a Mini-ITX later & Silverstone case, stick in a Noctua NH-C12P & Haswell i7, and my Nv 680. That will have very high power density and worthy of being my "main" PC. (and it will OC)