Benchmarks, Evaluation And Final Analysis
Test Bench Hardware
|Test System Configuration|
|Hard Drive||Samsung 470 Series MZ-5PA256, 256 GB SSD|
|Sound||Integrated HD Audio|
|Network||Integrated Gigabit Networking|
|Power||Antec HCP-1200: ATX12V v2.3, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold|
|Graphics||AMD Catalyst 14.4|
|Chipset||Intel INF 184.108.40.2069|
|Battlefield 4||Version 220.127.116.11, DirectX 11, 100-sec. Fraps "Tashgar" Test Set 1: Medium Quality Preset, No AA, 4X AF, SSAO Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 4X MSAA, 16X AF, HBAO|
|Grid 2||Version 18.104.22.16879, Direct X 11, Built-in Benchmark Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA Test 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 AF Test 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, SSAO Test Set 2: Ultra Quality, 4x MSAA, Enhanced ATC, HDAO|
|Adobe Creative Suite|
|Adobe After Effects CC||Version 22.214.171.1244: 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 Premeire 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 126.96.36.199 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 Seconds Audio: PCM-S16, 48000 Hz, 2-Channel, to Video: AVC1 Audio: AAC (High Profile)|
|TotalCodeStudio 2.5||Version: 188.8.131.5277: 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 184.108.40.2069: 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: 220.127.116.11, Benchmark Only|
|3DMark Professional||Version: 18.104.22.168 (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.
The Godlike demonstrates consistency with our past X99 boards, showing no hidden tweaks or overclocks are happening behind the scenes in our Futuremark suite.
A slight lead in Sandra's multimedia section might seem something's off. The lead is rather small and isn't shown other places that it's insignificant. MSI's boards have shown a penchant for good RAM performance in the past and the Godlike doesn't disappoint, blowing past the ASRock boards and almost upending Asus' model.
Arma 3 and Far Cry 3 are the only places we see outliers. The Far Cry discrepancy actually was on a previous board, and we see the Godlike matching the other two competitors. The Godlike has a slight lead in Arma 3, but so did the Rampage, so this isn't indicative of anything on its own. By and large we see nice conformity.
Application And Productivity Benchmarks
The real-world benches are all in-line with each other. Nothing to see here, folks, let's move along.
Power And Temperature
With the abundance of features and LED lighting, the Godlike is not the low-power poster child. Even when turned off, it consumes 4W of power. Under a full Prime 95 CPU load it takes nearly 200W at the wall. That number goes up to over 400W when fully overclocked. That's about the same power as both of my last SBM builds combined. That extra power means some extra heat at the CPU and VRM. It's hardly excessive, and power efficiency is usually the last concern for the typical market for a board like this. Temperatures are a little higher than other boards, but definitely nothing to worry about.
Overall Performance And Efficiency
As we saw in the last section, we know the Godlike draws a lot more power than its competitors so it's not a shock to see it so far behind in efficiency. But if we're honest, we admit that power consumption is one of the last concerns for someone looking for a premium X99 board.
The Godlike shows a slight lead in CPU overclocking and a tie in most other aspects. In mainstream boards, that's not terribly impressive. However in the premium space, it's quite common to spend additional money for even the slightest advantage. Combined with its impressive RAM bandwidth, the Godlike comes out near the top of the pile, if not king of the hill.
Talking value on top-shelf products is practically meaningless. You pay a steep premium to stay at the high-end of the technological ladder. Premium motherboards also typically throw in a number of features that can't properly be measured by benchmarks. Yes, the Godlike costs considerably more than the ASRock competitors listed here. It also has multiple USB 3.1 (Gen2 even) on the board itself, RGB lighting and AC wireless. The Asus Rampage doesn't have the second gigabit network port or the RGB lighting. It's understandable to pay a little extra for a board that has all of this in one.
Is the X99A Godlike Gaming worthy of our devotion? Yes, I think it is. It's not the greatest at everything, but it does nearly everything very well. The one dark spot is the M.2 support with three or four GPUs on a 40-lane CPU. One could argue the only reason for a 40-lane CPU on a consumer board is for four-way GPUs. While the Godlike handles the graphics cards perfectly, the M.2 becomes the victim. I reiterate this is unfortunate because the builder who's willing to spend money on multiple GPUs is also the builder with the money for a PCIe-based M.2 drive to go with it. On the bright side, the Godlike does support Thomas' desire x8/x8/x8 GPUs with a x4 M.2 drive on a 28-lane CPU. I suppose on one hand I can understand MSI favoring GPU connectivity over storage after Thomas has lamented the number of boards that do the reverse. But if any manufacturer were taking requests, I'd say an X99 board supporting x8/x8/x8/x8 and two 3.0 x4 M.2 slots would be very tough to beat from a feature standpoint.
Does this M.2 quibble disqualify the Godlike from an award? Certainly not. It easily deserves an Approved as it has exceeded my expectations. I hesitate to bestow it our Recommended label as I can't say a board at this price is truly a "value" purchase. However, seeing as the Godlike does everything the MSI X99S SLI Plus does, only better, I certainly think the Tom's Hardware Choice award is in order.
In the end I quote Ferris Bueller. "It's so choice. If you have the means at all, I highly recommend picking one up."