Test Bench Configuration
Test System Components
We've heard your feedback about exploring low-budget overclocking with this little unlocked wonder. And as mentioned, Intel's stock heat sink and downdraft fan work well with these boards and their VRMs. For enthusiasts on a budget, this is a perfectly affordable union.
Mushkin asked to sponsor our motherboard reviews, and we were happy to have them. The Chronos SSD removes any slowdowns and pauses from a mechanical disk and puts the bench software's focus on the motherboard, where it belongs.
Mushkin also contributes a pair of DDR3-1600 CAS 9 modules. These may seem tame compared to what Thomas uses in his X99 and Z97 reviews, but remember that the Pentium G3258 doesn't support data rates above 1400 MT/s, so these modules are more than adequate.
Gigabyte sent over an entry-level graphics card for our testing, matching our mainstream theme with a GeForce GT 730 2GB. Remember that we're focusing on the differences between motherboards; we only need a sufficiently strong GPU for a few 3D tests, and the 730 gets the job done.
This PSU is overkill for our round-up's modest power requirements. However, we wanted an 80 PLUS Gold-rated unit for accurate power consumption measurements, especially since efficiency drops significantly under a 20-percent load. The modular cables keep our bench clean and the near-silent operation is much appreciated as well.
I used Gelid GC-Extreme thermal compound for this round-up. The stock cooler's compound is only good for one application, and I needed at least four. Instead of scraping and reapplying partially cured paste for each subsequent test, I used a fresh smear for my installation on all four boards.
|Chipset||B85M-DGS: 126.96.36.1997 H81M-HDS: 188.8.131.526 H81M-E: 184.108.40.2066 H81M-E34: 10.0.20|
|PCMark 8||Version: 2.3.293 Work, Home, and Creative Benchmarks|
|SiSoftware Sandra||Version: 2015.01.21.15 CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, Cryptography File System Bandwidth Memory Bandwidth|
|Cinebench R15||Version: R15.0 x64 CPU Single and Multi-Core|
|3DMark||Cloud Gate Version: 1.1, Skydiver Version: 1.0 Test Set 1: Cloud Gate, 1920x1080, Default Preset Test Set 2: Skydiver, 1920x1080, Default Preset|
|Unigine Heaven 4.0||Version 4.0, Built-in Benchmark DirectX 11, Low Detail, 1920x1080, No AA, No Tessellation|
|Unigine Valley 1.0||Version 1.0, Built-in Benchmark DirectX 11, Low Detail, 1920x1080, No AA|
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