Test Bench Hardware
|Battlefield 4||Version 126.96.36.199, DirectX 11, 100-sec. Fraps "Tashgar"Test Set 1: Medium Quality Preset, No AA, 4X AF, SSAOTest Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 4X MSAA, 16X AF, HBAO|
|Grid 2||Version 188.8.131.5279, Direct X 11, Built-in BenchmarkTest Set 1: High Quality, No AATest Set 2: Ultra Quality, 8x MSAA|
|Arma 3||Version 1.08.113494, 30-Sec. Fraps "Infantry Showcase"Test Set 1: Standard Preset, No AA, Standard AFTest Set 2: Ultra Preset, 8x FSAA, Ultra AF|
|Far Cry 3||V. 1.04, DirectX 11, 50-sec. Fraps "Amanaki Outpost"Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA, Standard ATC, SSAOTest Set 2: Ultra Quality, 4x MSAA, Enhanced ATC, HDAO|
|Adobe Creative Suite|
|Adobe After Effects CC||Version 184.108.40.2064: Create Video which includes 3 Streams, 210 Frames, Render Multiple Frames Simultaneosly|
|Adobe Photoshop CC||Version 14.0 x64: Filter 15.7MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates|
|Adobe Premiere Pro CC||Version 7.0.0 (342), 6.61 GB MXF Project to H.264 to H.264 Blu-ray, Output 1920x1080, Maximum Quality|
|iTunes||Version 220.127.116.11 x64: Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 minutes, default AAC format|
|Lame MP3||Version 3.98.3: Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, convert WAV to MP3 audio format, Command: -b 160 --nores (160 kb/s)|
|Handbrake CLI||Version: 0.99: Video from Canon Eos 7D (1920x1080, 25 FPS) 1 Minutes 22 SecondsAudio: PCM-S16, 48000 Hz, 2-Channel, to Video: AVC1 Audio: AAC (High Profile)|
|TotalCodeStudio 2.5||Version: 18.104.22.16877: MPEG-2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 kb/s), Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV|
|ABBYY FineReader||Version 10.0.102.95: Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages|
|Adobe Acrobat 11||Version 22.214.171.1249: Print PDF from 115 Page PowerPoint, 128-bit RC4 Encryption|
|Autodesk 3ds Max 2013||Version 15.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080|
|Blender||Version: 2.68A, Cycles Engine, Syntax blender -b thg.blend -f 1, 1920x1080, 8x Anti-Aliasing, Render THG.blend frame 1|
|Visual Studio 2010||Version 10.0, Compile Google Chrome, Scripted|
|WinZip||Version 18.0 Pro: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"|
|WinRAR||Version 5.0: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"|
|7-Zip||Version 9.30 alpha (64-bit): THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"|
|Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings|
|3DMark 11||Version: 126.96.36.199, Benchmark Only|
|3DMark Professional||Version: 188.8.131.52 (64-bit), Fire Strike Benchmark|
|PCMark 8||Version: 1.0.0 x64, Full Test|
|SiSoftware Sandra||Version 2014.02.20.10, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / Multimedia / Cryptography, Memory Bandwidth Benchmarks|
Each board is set to stock clocks, Speed Step and energy saving features are enabled, and the CPU fan is set to maximum. I use Windows default "Performance" power option preset for everything except idle power consumption where it gets set to "Balanced."
We're looking for oddities in the bench scores. Boring benchmarks are good benchmarks for motherboards. Dramatic score leads are due to motherboards cheating with hidden clock boosts while a board lagging behind is usually a configuration conflict.
With the Z97M-Plus numbers now in the scoring charts, the last of the ITX boards have dropped off the comparison table. It's just microATX Z97 from here on out.
The Plus shows a small bump in 3DMark 11 physics, but everything else is pretty flat. I'll chalk this up to the odd way the Plus handles Turbo Boost.
We see another anomaly in Sandra Multimedia where the Plus scores a little lower than the rest. Everything else is completely flat. Doing a little math, all the errant scores are almost exactly 5 percent lower. This again suggests the aforementioned Turbo Boost glitch since 4.0 GHz is 5 percent lower than the 4.2 GHz turbo clock the 4790K normally reaches. I think we have our culprit.
The Plus falls in line with past gaming results. This is exactly the behavior we love to see in motherboards.
Application and Productivity Benchmarks
Variances of one second are almost always due to rounding. The Plus shows excellent consistency here.
Power and Temperature
Asus has a history of lower power consumption in their motherboards. Finer electrical control in the BIOS allows the CPU to run on less electricity and thus at a lower temperature. A smaller VRM hea tsink means higher temperatures on the power regulation circuitry.
Overall Performance And Efficiency
We always like doing the same amount of work on less electricity. Asus notches a solid efficiency win over the ASRock competitors.
The Plus overclocks the BCLK better than the ASRock boards and can reach basically the same CPU overclocks. Unfortunately, RAM overclocking is hit-and-miss. Both ASRock competitors can push RAM to faster frequencies in both two- and four-module configurations and reach higher bandwidth at the 2666 and 2800 straps. The Plus does score a significant bandwidth victory at DDR3-2400, though, demonstrating much tighter auto timings at the lower frequency.