Test Settings, Results And Conclusions
As with previous testing, I set up both motherboards on my open-bed test case. All components other than the motherboard were the same in all tests.
Test System Configuration
|Sound||Integrated HD Audio|
|Network||Integrated Gigabit Networking|
|PCMark 8||Version: 2.5.419 Work, Home, and Creative Benchmarks|
|SiSoftware Sandra||Version: 2015.01.21.15 Memory Bandwidth|
|Crystal DiskMark 3.03||3.0.3 x64 Sequential Read|
|Unigine Heaven 4.0||Version 4.0, Built-in Benchmark Basic: DirectX 9, Low Detail, 1280x720, 2xAA, No Tessellation|
Here are the test results, starting with PCMark8. The original five-board roundup averages are also included.
There is maybe a kitten’s whisker of difference between these boards, and a cat’s whisker below them is the average. This won’t make any decisions for anybody.
Once again, the ASRock boards both beat the average, and the differences are likely easier to see on the chart than they would be in actual use.
Both of these boards are a little more than 5% below the average on local disks, but it looks like their Intel NICs allow them to exceed the average on a network drive by a little over 15%. And that might be something to think about.
Once again, the differences probably won’t be visible in actual use. The differences also appear to be within a reasonable error margin.
As we saw last time ASRock went up against the average, its power consumption is still visibly lower than that of the other boards, especially under a CPU load.
Likely due to the lower power numbers, these two boards beat the average by more than 10% under any kind of load, although the Noctua cooler keeps them all equally frosty at idle.
Once again, I find it very hard to criticize the features the H170 chipset brings to the table. Both of these boards are feature-complete for non-tweakers. If you don’t care about overclocking, or running multiple Nvidia graphics cards in SLI, the only reason you may not care for either of these is that the same features they offer are also available on the previously-reviewed micro-ATX variants.
Once again, the H170 chipset delivers all that the majority of builders need. Unless you particularly enjoy overclocking, or plan to run multiple graphics cards, there aren’t too many others who won’t be satisfied by either of these boards.
ASRock H170 Pro4S
This board comes in $5 under the price of the H170 Pro4. Is it worth $5 to give up the extra rear audio jacks, the extra VRM heatsink, and that nice orange pop of the large orange sinks of the Pro4? In my opinion, unless you specifically prefer a different color scheme, probably not. A mere $5 to cover a “what-if” on your audio needs seems worthwhile. If you’re budget is super tight though, you’re not losing performance.
ASRock H170 Pro4
For a non-overclocking board, the additional VRM heatsinks may be overkill, but I think they look nice. I happen to have a full ATX case available, and personally plan to use this one myself since I don’t care about multiple graphics cards, and any overclocking I do tends to be mild. For my own needs, I really could have tossed a coin between these two, so I don’t see giving this one a higher award based on trivial differences many people wouldn’t notice.