Power, Heat, And Efficiency
Packed with add-on SATA controllers, USB hubs, and a heafty PEX 8747 PCIe bridge, we expected all of these boards to consume more power than those reviewed in our mini-ITX round-up. From a competitive standpoint, the Z87X-UD7 TH’s high idle energy use is a little disconcerting.
MSI’s huge voltage regulator runs coolly under the low load of a non-overclocked CPU. Lower CPU temperatures may also be the result of smoother current that can come from all those extra phases.
A couple pages into the benchmarks, I anticipated that Gigabyte’s lower synthetic memory score would have little to no effect on its overall performance. Indeed, it’s dead center of a very tight pack. However, poor idle power consumption triggers a loss in this efficiency comparison.
After spending two days per board on a "one week" article, I couldn't add more tests. The general benchmark set looks for unintended overclocking/underclocking, power and memory bandwidth issues, so you can see the performance difference attributable to each board's CPU and DRAM configuration differences. It runs from a .bat file, so it didn't add significantly to the article's completion time.
The PLX bridge that these all share represents the "great equalizer" when it comes to CrossFire and SLI configuration, so that portion of all three boards should be identical. I understand that things that should be the same in theory are occasionally different in practice. My apologies for not having the extra 1-day per board for additional tests.
I think testing 3/4 way sli would still be valid, as it doesn't always work properly, in the past there have been compatibility problems with certain gpu's/boards/firmware/controllers and certain benchmarks completely failed.
Those have nothing to do with readyboost. The internal usb ports are very common on workstations and you put CAD dongles and equivalent items in them so that you can lock them inside the case and don't have to worry about some one stealing them from the outside or them taking up an outside usb port.
Hey guys, we have these awesome new setups for supreme graphics pumping power! Watch it zip files like every other board!