Round-Up: Four Z68 Motherboards From $220 To $280

Power, Heat, And Efficiency

Motherboards with the fewest on-board add-in controllers should obviously have the lowest power consumption, creating high expectations for low power use by MSI and Gigabyte. But looking beyond the obvious, differences in PWM design can also influence this test.

Gigabyte gives us the lowest idle power consumption, while MSI has the lowest full-load power use. This appears to mesh with MSI’s claims of superior PWM efficiency.

On the other hand, Asus’ power consumption is reflective of the company's claim that it's running all four cores at the processor's most aggressive Turbo Boost multiplier. As mentioned, you can counteract this by manually redefining the ratios for each core based on Intel's specification. If you don't, we can assure you that pushing higher performance costs additional power.

Gigabyte has the lowest PWM temperature, but its heat sink is also much larger than MSI’s. We only see that it runs cooler. We don't know exactly how much of that temperature difference is due to less power use.

Efficiency is a comparison of work to energy. Or, in this case, performance to energy. So, we need a compilation chart of performance results to calculate it. Asus’ performance-oriented settings put it 5.3% above-average.

That 5.3% performance gain doesn't end up serving as an advantage if you're worried about efficiency, given power consumption that's 10.6% higher than average. If you want to drop the P8Z68 Deluxe down to the levels achieved by some of the competing platforms, you have to do extra work to counteract the company's auto-rule (we'd perhaps suggest a UEFI toggle to turn this on or off, rather than manually remapping Turbo Boost ratios).

We used -1 in all of this chart’s calculations to form a 0% baseline, so that nobody could misconstrue it to represent better than 100% efficiency.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • crisan_tiberiu
    I own an AsRock Z68 Pro 3 MB, and i am vere pleased with it.
  • RazorBurn
    Only Asus and AsRock for me.. Tried severals boards thru the years yet only this two has never failed me..

    My AsRock AliveNF6G-VSTA in my warehouse full of dust, mites, cobweb still works.. Recently upgraded to 4GB RAM and GTS 450 1GB video card..
  • iam2thecrowe
    i would like to see a more budget oriented roundup, not everyone wants to spend that much on a motherboard for 0.5 of an FPS increase, or overclock 100mhz more out of their cpu.....
  • beenthere
    Intel mobos are way over-priced IMO. In my many years of building PCs the only two mobos that I ever had fail were Asus. As far as performance and reliability I'd rank these mobo brands as follows:

  • flong
    I own the AsRock Extreme 4 Gen 3 board and it seems to be a very good board. I had the Asus Pro V before and had problems. I can say from experience that Asus's customer service is VERY poor to say the least. While their boards seem to be high quality according to most reviews, if you do have a problem don't count on Asus being around to help you out. I sent my board back to NewEgg and I had to argue with Newegg to get them to warranty it which was disappointing. Amazon does not have this problem and for my next motherboard purchase I will probably go through Amazon.

    The answer to my first email question to Asus came a three full weeks later AFTER I had decided to return the board. AND the answer was an absolutely stupid response that did not address the real problem. Still wanting an answer to my question, I clarified the question and sent it back to Asus again. TWO weeks later I got ANOTHER asinine response from them. At that point I realized I was wasting my time.

    I don't know how good AsRock's customer service is since I have not had a problem with the board.
  • Crashman
    iam2thecrowei would like to see a more budget oriented roundup, not everyone wants to spend that much on a motherboard for 0.5 of an FPS increase, or overclock 100mhz more out of their cpu.....I believe you missed this:,2980.html
  • Mark Heath
    9519804 said:
    I believe you missed this:,2980.html
    Crashman to the rescue again :)
  • Novuake
    Intel boards are not that bad, yes their Enthusiast boards are, but for a good while after LGA1155 came out they had the cheapest USB3/SATA 3 LGA1155 boards available, I think they still do... I would have to check.
  • Luay
    The Asrock Extreme7 belongs in another NF200 equipped Tri-fire/Tri-SLI round-up with the UD7, ROG and FTW boards, and I think it would still win based on value.
    Real enthusiasts, on the other hand don't use integrated graphics and already have a dedicated SSD. Enter P67 in the round-up and the winner would still be for almost 18 months running, the $255 Asus P67 WS Revolution.
  • ojas
    Hey Tom's. Make Wolfgang read articles like these too. He needs them.