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ASUS P7H57D-V EVO LGA1156 Motherboard Review

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MAC

Associate Review Editor
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Feature Test: USB 3.0

Feature Test: USB 3.0



Without a doubt one of the most popular technologies of 2010 is going to be USB 3.0. Not only is this new interface almost ten times faster than then ancient USB 2.0 standard, but it is backwards compatible too. Regrettably, Intel haven't committed to releasing a chipset with native USB 3.0 support until sometime in 2011. Nevertheless, motherboard manufacturers have recognized the importance of this new standard and have turned to third-party manufacturers like NEC and VIA. ASUS have added USB 3.0 support to many of their new motherboard, like the P7H57DV-EVO, with an onboard NEC D720200 host controller that supports two USB 3.0 ports.


In order to test out this new interface, we utilized a Buffalo 1TB USB3.0 hard drive enclosure, the HD-H1.0TU3. This unit has just hit North American shores (as the HD-HX1.0TU3) and is retailing for roughly $150CDN.


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Click on image to enlarge

As you can see, this unit is a mighty fingerprint magnet but it is otherwise a very sleek product. This enclosure houses a standard hard drive (unknow brand/model), so it obviously will not be able to utilize all of USB 3.0's available bandwidth, but the results should obviously be a quite a bit higher than USB 2.0's ~35MB/s bandwidth limit. Let's check out the results:

P7H57DVEVO_186.jpg


As you can see, USB 3.0 lives up to its billing. Whereas the hard drive in this enclosure is severely bottlenecked by the USB 2.0 interface, its true capabilities are finally unleashed with USB 3.0. This level of performance from an external device was previously only achievable with eSATA interface, which although excellent still hasn't gained much popularity.

Synthetic numbers are all fine & dandy, but let's see what this speed means in a real-life scenario:

P7H57DVEVO_187.jpg


While USB 3.0 reduced transfer times by 95% that's still not as much as one would expect looking at the synthetic numbers. Well the reason for this is that the hard drive is the weak link in this equation. Although the transfer rates start off strong at ~125MB/sec, and remain above 100MB/sec for approximately 30 seconds, there is inevitably a slow and steady decline down to to 22MB/sec. A faster hard drive or preferably an solid state drive (SSD) would better demonstrate the potential performance benefits of USB 3.0.
 
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MAC

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Test Setup & Methodology

Test Setup & Methodology


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Click on image to enlarge


Test Setup​
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Testing will occur on a Highspeed PC Standard Top Deck Tech Station and not in a traditional case. This allows easier access to the motherboard for the constant poking and prodding that is required during the reviewing process. The setup remained as pictured during the duration of the benchmarking and stability overclocking process.


Overclocking Methodology


This will be our first experience at overclocking the new Clarkdale platform, so it will undoubtedly be a learning experience. Nevertheless, the overclocking section is definitely the part of our reviews that we take the most pride in, and we spend an excruciating numbers of hours testing, tweaking, failing, and succeeding in order to give you the best possible insight into each motherboard’s overclocking capabilities. After all, if you are anything like us, the overclocking section is the first (and often last!) part that you read when checking out a motherboard review.

For the purposes of this review, our overclocking efforts will primarily focus on three main areas: highest stable BCLK overclock, highest stable CPU overclock, and highest stable memory overclock. Given the increasing prevalence of automatic overclocking solutions, we have also included an "auto overclocking results" section, in which we will see how good these manufacture-provided technologies really are.

In these overclocking tests we put an emphasis on stability. While the question “What is stable?” could be debated endlessly, we have devised a methodology that combines a wide range of programs that test the stability of the entire system.

Here are some of the applications that will be run in order to validate the overclocks:

  • Four/Eight 32MB instances of SuperPi Mod 1.5 (ran at the same time)
  • 3+ hours of Prime 95 v25.9 using the Stress Testing Blend
  • 1 hour of OCCT Auto 1H Medium Data Set OCCT v3.1.0
  • LinX 0.5.9 - 25 runs - use all memory
  • Multiple loops of 3DMark 06 (30 minutes of looping the full tests each)
  • 1 hour of game play in Left 4 Dead & Crysis @ 1680x1050

Altogether, the above suite should provide enough stress testing to ensure a completely stable overclock, however we are always up for new suggestions. As always, no two systems are ever alike, so your results may vary. Also, overclock at your own risk! If you aren’t fully confident in what you are doing, feel free to stop by our forums and our helpful community will be glad to offer some assistance.


Benchmark Methodology



For this review, we have compared the P7H57D-V EVO with both the Intel DH55TC and the ASUS Maximus III Formula, all in stock configuration and using the Core i5-661 3.33Ghz processor with Turbo Boost enabled.

P7H57DVEVO_146.jpg

We have outlined the three setups in the sample graph above. The red results are from ASUS P7H57D-V EVO, the blue results are from the Intel DH55TC, and the ASUS Maximus III Formula in green.

For all of the benchmarks, appropriate lengths are taken to ensure an equal comparison through methodical setup, installation, and testing. The following outlines our testing methodology:

A) Windows is installed using a full format.

B) Intel Chipset drivers and accessory hardware drivers (audio, network, GPU) are installed followed by a defragment and a reboot.

C) Programs and games are then installed followed by another defragment.

D) Windows updates are then completed installing all available updates followed by a defragment.

E) Benchmarks are each ran three times after a clean reboot for every iteration of the benchmark unless otherwise stated, the results are then averaged.

We have listed the benchmark versions above each graph as results can vary between updates. That should about cover everything so let's see what kind of numbers this motherboard puts up in the overclocking section and in our chosen suite of benchmarks.
 
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MAC

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Overclocking Results

Overclocking Results


While overclocking we used the 0064 beta BIOS, whereas we used the public 0503 for our benchmarking results. Ultimately, there wasn't any discernible difference between the two during our overclocking endeavours. Voltage wise we tested up to 1.35vCore, 1.40V VTT/IMC, and 1.65vDIMM.

Keep in mind that most utilities cannot properly read the memory timings with Clarkdale, often skewing the CAS latency figure up or down by 1-4 notches.


Highest Stable BCLK Overclock



With Discrete GPU on the left, With IGP on the right - Click on images to enlarge

As you can see, we achieved some really remarkable BCLK numbers on this motherboard, especially when you consider that this was achieved with ambient high-end air-cooling. At this point we aren't yet sure whether the motherboard or the processor is the true champion, but the fact that we are able to achieve such clocks is a testament to the maturity and stability of this motherboard.

When using the IGP we weren't quite able to hit the same BCLK, but the difference was a mere 10Mhz. Keep in mind that as you increase the BCLK the IGP frequency increases as well. As a result, it can quickly become a bottleneck. While the P7H57DV-EVO has IGP clock control options in the BIOS, the options are static and don't take into account the set BCLK. Therefore, you have the calculate the "real" IGP clock yourself. Thankfully the formula is fairly simple: Real IGP Frequency = Selected IGP Frequency x (BCLK/133). In our case, with a 230Mhz BCLK, we selected the 500Mhz IGP clock option. This allowed the IGP on our Core i5-661 to remain as clock as possible to the stock 900Mhz (500 x (230/133) = 884Mhz). The motherboard will in fact automatically adjust the IGP clock up for you, but once you reach a certain elevated BCLK-level it's better to do things manually.

As far as words of wisdom regarding this new platform, we have a few. Whereas overclockers have to keep a close eye on the QPI and Uncore frequency when overclocking Bloomfield and to a lesser extent Lynnfield processors, things are a little different with Clarkdale. Essentially both those limitations have effectively disappeared completely. QPI-wise the sky is the limit. We were able to hit almost 4500Mhz QPI 24/7, which would previously be unthinkable on air cooling. The higher the better by the way, since increasing your QPI will have tangible benefits in benchmarks.

By the way, when we disregarded stability testing and just pushed the BCLK as high as we could, we achieve this startling result. Many capable overclockers aren't reaching this high with sub-zero cooling, so clearly this motherboard has a few tricks up its sleeve.

Highest Stable CPU Overclock



Click on image to enlarge

IGP enabled or disabled doesn't affect the CPU overclocking potential as long as you can keep the chip cool enough (under 80C). With our self-imposed 1.35vCore limit, our Core i5-661 3.33Ghz processor managed to scale up to an impressive 4.46Ghz. Not too shabby at all, and a testament to Intel's 32nm process. Attaining 4.6-4.7Ghz is ridiculously easy if you are willing to risk higher voltages.


Highest Stable Memory Overclock



With Discrete GPU on the left, With IGP on the right - Click on images to enlarge

On Clarkdale processors, the GPU, memory controller and PCI-E controller are all integrated into a seperate 45nm die on the CPU package, the Ironlake Graphics Memory Controller Hub (GMCH) Now due to a variety of reasons related to how the Uncore and memory frequency are linked, the end result of this tight integration is that memory scaling is not nearly as good as on Lynnfield.
Having said that, as you can see above we were able to achieve some mightly impressive results nonetheless. We were almost able to hit this motherboard's maximum supported memory frequency, DDR3-2133. Is the motherboard the bottleneck? Doubtful, the CPU itself is more likely the guilty party.

In order to hit anything ressembling decent memory speeds on Clarkdale we have to loosen timings though, a lot. Clarkdale's achilles heel seems to be its inability to run tight timings at decent memory frequencies, at least on air. By further increasing VTT or further loosening the timings we may have been able to hit even higher memory frequencies, but it's definitely a case of diminishing returns.

As you can see, there is also a huge difference depending on whether or not the IGP is being used. No matter what we experienced a DDR3-1840ish limit. Going over that would cause graphical anomalies. ASUS is going to be unlocking a whole bunch additional memory options in an upcoming BIOS, so hopefully this bottleneck - whatever it is - will be surpassable.


IGP Overclocking Results


Now although ASUS have bunbled a GPU Boost overclocking feature into TurboV EVO, there's not really much to gain from overclocking the GMA HD GPU, boasting aside. There's also no way for us to properly show off an IGP overclock since programs don't accurately pick up Clarkdale's GPU clock speed yet.

Having said, on our i5-661 we were able to increase the GPU clock from 900Mhz to 1200Mhz with 1.525V, which was stable enough to run 3DMark 03/06/Vantage. From what we have seen on various forums this is slightly better than average result. But again, aside from causing more heat and thus perhaps limiting the CPU overclock, there's not much to gain performance.


Auto Overclocking Results



OC Tuner on the left, Auto Tuning on the right - Click on images to enlarge

The BIOS-based OC Tuner only takes about 5 seconds to overclock the system, but it's a little more conservative since it is based on a preset. Effectively it will try to overclock any and all Clarkdale-based processors to 4.26Ghz. It's not a 'smart' technology, but it works well for those in a rush.

On the other hand, the software-based Auto Tuning method takes quite a bit longer (15-20 minutes), but the end-result is significantly better. It even clocked the CPU higher than our manual result, albeit with more vCore. Auto Tuning slowly increases the system frequencies and does some stress testing at each level until it finds the limit, reboots, and voila! The overclock is set. It didn't even do too bad on the memory front, at least compared to every other automatic overclocking technology that we've encountered in the past.
 
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MAC

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Synthetic Benchmarks

Synthetic Benchmarks



Lavalys Everest Ultimate v5.02

Everest Ultimate is the most useful tool for any and all benchmarkers or overclockers. With the ability to pick up most voltage, temperature, and fan sensors on almost every motherboard available, Everest provides the ability to customize the outputs in a number of forms on your desktop. We selected two of Everest's seven CPU benchmarks: CPU Queen and FPU Mandel. According to Lavalys, CPU Queen simple integer benchmark focuses on the branch prediction capabilities and the misprediction penalties of the CPU. It finds the solutions for the classic "Queens problem" on a 10 by 10 sized chessboard. At the same clock speed theoretically the processor with the shorter pipeline and smaller misprediction penalties will attain higher benchmark scores. The FPU Mandel benchmark measures the double precision (also known as 64-bit) floating-point performance through the computation of several frames of the popular "Mandelbrot" fractal. Both tests consume less than 1 MB system memory, and are Hyper-Threading, multi-processor (SMP) and multi-core (CMP) aware.

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Lavalys Everest Ultimate v5.02

As part of its enthusiast favourite Cache & Memory Benchmark, Everest provides very useful and in-depth cache performance figures. For this chart, we have combined the read, write, and copy bandwidth figures to achieve an aggregate bandwidth figure for each cache stage.

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Lavalys Everest Ultimate v5.02

Everest Ultimate is the most useful tool for any and all benchmarkers or overclockers. With the ability to pick up most voltage, temperature, and fan sensors on almost every motherboard available, Everest provides the ability to customize the outputs in a number of forms on your desktop. In addition to this, the memory benchmarking utility provides a useful tool of measuring the changes to your memory sub-system.

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ScienceMark v2.0

Although last updated almost 3 years ago, and despite its rudimentary interface, ScienceMark v2.0 remains a favorite for accurately calculating bandwidth on even the newest chipsets.

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While interesting, these are all the synthetic benchmarks, so will the results be any different in real-life applications? Let's find out.
 
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MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
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Messages
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Location
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System Benchmarks

System Benchmarks



SuperPi Mod v1.5

When running the SuperPI 32MB benchmark, we are calculating Pi to 32 million digits and timing the process. Obviously more CPU power helps in this intense calculation, but the memory sub-system also plays an important role, as does the operating system. We are running one instance of SuperPi via the HyperPi 0.99b interface. This is therefore a single-thread workload.

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Cinebench R10


Cinebench R10 64-bit
Test1: Single CPU Image Render
Test2: Multi CPU Image Render
Comparison: Generated Score


Developed by MAXON, creators of Cinema 4D, Cinebench 10 is designed using the popular Cinema software and created to compare system performance in 3D Animation and Photo applications. There are two parts to the test; the first stresses only the primary CPU or Core, the second, makes use of up to 16 CPUs/Cores. Both are done rendering a realistic photo while utilizing various CPU-intensive features such as reflection, ambient occlusion, area lights and procedural shaders

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PCMark Vantage x64


PCMark Vantage Advanced 64-bit Edition (1.0.0.0)
PCMark Suite / Default Settings
Comparison: Generated Score

The main focus of our General Tasks category lies with the most recent installment of the PCMark series, Vantage. While still classified under the description of a Synthetic benchmark, PCMark Vantage uses many of Vista's (Note - Vantage is Vista-only) built-in programs and features along with its own tests, so it is "real-world" applicable in regards to CPU performance. The following is a general list of the tests in the PCMark suite, very much in line with tasks of an average user: Data encryption, Data compression, CPU image manipulation (compression/decompression/resize), Audio transcoding,Video transcoding,Text editing,Web page rendering, Windows Mail, Windows Contacts, and CPU game test.


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Photoshop CS4

For the image editing portion of this review, we will use Photoshop CS4 in coordination with Driver Heaven’s Photoshop Benchmark V3, which is an excellent test of CPU power and memory bandwidth. This is a scripted benchmark that individually applies 15 different filters to a 109MB JPEG, and uses Photoshop’s built-in timing feature to provide a result at each test stage. Then it’s simply a matter of adding up the 15 results to reach the final figure.

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Lame Front End

Lame Front End v1.0 is a single-threaded application, which means that it only utilizes a single processor core. This will obviously limit performance but it will allow us to see the benefits of Lynnfield aggressive Turbo Boost with single-threaded loads. We will be encoding a WAV rip of Santana’s Supernatural album and converting it to MP3 using the highest fidelity VBR 0 quality preset.

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x264 HD Benchmark


x264 HD Benchmark v1.0
Test: MPEG-2 HD 720P Video Clip Conversion to x264
DVD Video Length: 30 Seconds
Comparison: FPS of Second Pass

x264 is quickly becoming the new codec of choice for encoding a growing number of H.264/MPEG-4 AVC videos. Think of it as the new Divx of HD and you can understand why we felt it critical to include. Tech Arp's recent development of the x264 HD Benchmark takes a 30 second HD video clip and encodes it into the x264 codec with the intention of little to no quality loss. The test is measured using the average frames per second achieved during encoding, which scales with processor speed and efficiency. The benchmark also allows the use of multi-core processors so it gives a very accurate depiction of what to expect when using encoding application on a typical full length video.


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WinRAR


WinRAR 3.8.0
Test: Compression of 1GB of Assorted Files
Comparison: Time to Finish

One of the most popular file compression/decompresion tools, we use WinRAR to compress a 1GB batch of files and archive them, timing the task until completion.


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MAC

Associate Review Editor
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I/O Benchmarks

I/O Benchmarks


A first here at Hardware Canucks, we have finally included some basic I/O benchmarks. We love to hear your thoughts and ideas about what to implement and whether we should expand to include LAN and audio tests, so let us know on the forums.


HD Tach 3.0.4 - SATA


For this benchmark, HDTach was used. It shows the potential read speed which you are likely to experience with an Intel X-25M 80GB G1 solid state drive (SSD) on this motherboard. The long test was run to give a slightly more accurate picture. The test was run three times with the results averaged out.

We don’t put much stock in Burst speed readings and this goes double for SSDs; the more important number is the Average Speed number. This number will tell you what to expect from a given drive in normal, day to day operations. The higher the average the faster your entire system will seem.

We also test CPU utilization in order to make sure that there isn't a problem needlessly wasting CPU cycles. Lastly, we have also included the random access time, just as another barometer of overall storage sub-system performance. In both cases, the lower the better.


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HD Tach 3.0.4 - USB


For this benchmark, HDTach was used. It shows the potential read speed which you are likely to experience from this motherboard's USB 2.0 ports. In this test, we connected an external 2.5" 5400RPM hard drive to a USB port, ran the test three times and averaged the results. The long test was run to give a slightly more accurate picture.

We don’t put much stock in Burst speed readings; the more important number is the Average Speed number. This number will tell you what to expect from a given drive in normal, day to day operations. The higher the average the faster your entire system will seem.

We also test CPU utilization in order to make sure that there isn't a problem needlessly wasting CPU cycles. Lastly, we have also included the random access time, just as another barometer of overall storage sub-system performance. In both cases, the lower the better.


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HD Tach 3.0.4 - eSATA


For this benchmark, HDTach was used. It shows the potential read speed which you are likely to experience from this motherboard's eSATA port with an Intel X-25M G1 80GB solid state drive. with these hard drives. The long test was run to give a slightly more accurate picture. The test was run three times with the results averaged out.

We don’t put much stock in Burst speed readings and this goes double for SSDs; the more important number is the Average Speed number. This number will tell you what to expect from a given drive in normal, day to day operations. The higher the average the faster your entire system will seem.

We also test CPU utilization in order to make sure that there isn't a problem needlessly wasting CPU cycles. Lastly, we have also included the random access time, just as another barometer of overall storage sub-system performance. In both cases, the lower the better.


P7H57DVEVO_171.jpg

The DH55TC doesn't feature an eSATA port, thus no results.

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MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Montreal
Gaming Benchmarks

Gaming Benchmarks



Futuremark 3DMark06


3DMark06 v1.1.0
Graphic Settings: Default
Resolution: 1280X1024

Test: Specific CPU Score and Full Run 3Dmarks
Comparison: Generated Score

The Futuremark 3DMark series has been a part of the backbone in computer and hardware reviews since its conception. The trend continues today as 3DMark06 provides consumers with a solid synthetic benchmark geared for performance and comparison in the 3D gaming realm. This remains one of the most sought after statistics, as well as an excellent tool for accurate CPU comparison, and it will undoubtedly be used for years to come.


P7H57DVEVO_173.jpg


Futuremark 3DMark Vantage


3DMark Vantage v1.0.1
Graphic Settings: Performance Preset
Resolution: 1280X1024

Test: Specific CPU Score and Full Run 3Dmarks
Comparison: Generated Score

3DMark Vantage is the follow-up to the highly successful 3DMark06. It uses DirectX 10 exclusively so if you are running Windows XP, you can forget about this benchmark. Along with being a very capable graphics card testing application, it also has very heavily multi-threaded CPU tests, such Physics Simulation and Artificial Intelligence (AI), which makes it a good all-around gaming benchmark.


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Crysis


Crysis v1.21
Resolution: 1680x1050
Anti Aliasing: 0
Quality Settings: High
Global Settings: DX10 / 64-Bit

Test 1: Ice benchmark_CPU2 demo
Comparison: FPS (Frames per Second)

Still one of the most hardware intensive game on the market today, Crysis has been chosen for its obvious ability to be able to showcase the differences between platforms and to showcase just how far one will need to go in the quest for maximum performance. The game also features the renowned CryEngine, the power behind the incredible graphics, which is expected to be foundation of future titles.


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Far Cry 2


Far Cry 2 1.02
Resolution: 1680x1050
Anti Aliasing: 0
Quality Settings: Very High
Global Settings: DX10 Enabled

Test 1: Ranch Long Demo
Comparison: FPS (Frames per Second)

Far Cry 2 is the hot new new first-person shooter from Ubisoft's Montreal studio, and the first game to utilize the new visually stunning Dunia Engine, which will undoubtedly be used by numerous future games. Using the included Benchmarking Tool, we ran the Long Ranch demo in DX10 mode at 1680x1050 with all settings set to very high.


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Left 4 Dead


Left 4 Dead (Latest Update)
Resolution: 1680x1050
Filtering: 4X MSAA / Anisotropic 8X
Graphic Settings: High
Shader Detail: Very High
Test 1: HWC Custom Timedemo
Comparison: FPS (Frames per Second)

Left 4 Dead is the latest disorienting, fast-paced zombie apocalypse mega-hit from Valve. L4D uses the latest version of the Source engine with enhancements such as multi-core processor support and physics-based animation. We test here at 1680x1050 with in-game details set to their highest levels, with MSAA 4X and AA 8X. For benching, we used a pre-recorded 20 minute timedemo taken on the No Mercy campaign during The Apartments mission.

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Street Fighter 4


Street Fighter 4 Demo
Resolution: 1680x1050
Anti-Aliasing: 0X
Graphic Settings: High
Test 1: Built-in Timedemo
Comparison: FPS (Frames per Second)

Street Fighter IV is a 2008 arcade game produced by famous developer Capcom, that has finally been released on the PC platform. This game has not been 'ported' since the Street Fighter IV arcade machines actually have PC internals, with circa 2005 components. As a result, the version of the game released on the PC is considered the definitive version. With a fully multi-threaded engine and an astounding hybrid 2D/3D graphics style, this game is sure to please all fans of the Street Fighter series.


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World in Conflict


World in Conflict v1.010
Resolution: 1680x1050
Anti-Aliasing: 4X
Anisotropic Filtering: 4X
Graphic Settings: Very High
Test 1: Built-in Benchmark
Comparison: FPS (Frames per Second)

One of the most visually stunning real-time strategy games in recent history, World in Conflict can really push systems to the brink, which is what we attempt by running the game in DirectX 10 mode at 1680x1050 with all settings maxed out. For this test we used the in-game benchmarking tool.


P7H57DVEVO_179.jpg
 
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MAC

Associate Review Editor
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Messages
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IGP Gaming Benchmarks

IGP Gaming Benchmarks



As you all know by now, Clarkdale processors feature an integrated GPU, the GMA HD. With this in mind, we figured it might be interesting to see whether there are any gaming performance differences between the H55 and H57 motherboards that we have on hand.

Futuremark 3DMark06


3DMark06 v1.1.0
Graphic Settings: Default
Resolution: 1280X1024

Test: Specific CPU Score and Full Run 3Dmarks
Comparison: Generated Score

The Futuremark 3DMark series has been a part of the backbone in computer and hardware reviews since its conception. The trend continues today as 3DMark06 provides consumers with a solid synthetic benchmark geared for performance and comparison in the 3D gaming realm. This remains one of the most sought after statistics, as well as an excellent tool for accurate CPU comparison, and it will undoubtedly be used for years to come.


P7H57DVEVO_180.jpg


Futuremark 3DMark Vantage


3DMark Vantage v1.0.1
Graphic Settings: Entry Preset
Resolution: 1024X768

Test: Specific CPU Score and Full Run 3Dmarks
Comparison: Generated Score

3DMark Vantage is the follow-up to the highly successful 3DMark06. It uses DirectX 10 exclusively so if you are running Windows XP, you can forget about this benchmark. Along with being a very capable graphics card testing application, it also has very heavily multi-threaded CPU tests, such Physics Simulation and Artificial Intelligence (AI), which makes it a good all-around gaming benchmark.


P7H57DVEVO_181.jpg


Crysis


Crysis v1.21
Resolution: 1280x1024
Anti Aliasing: 0
Quality Settings: Low
Global Settings: DX9 / 64-Bit

Test 1: Sphere benchmark - autotest demo
Comparison: FPS (Frames per Second)

Still one of the most hardware intensive game on the market today, Crysis has been chosen for its obvious ability to be able to showcase the differences between platforms and to showcase just how far one will need to go in the quest for maximum performance. The game also features the renowned CryEngine, the power behind the incredible graphics, which is expected to be foundation of future titles.


P7H57DVEVO_182.jpg


Far Cry 2


Far Cry 2 1.02
Resolution: 1280x1024
Anti Aliasing: 0
Quality Settings: Low
Global Settings: DX9 Enabled

Test 1: Ranch Long Demo
Comparison: FPS (Frames per Second)

Far Cry 2 is the hot new new first-person shooter from Ubisoft's Montreal studio, and the first game to utilize the new visually stunning Dunia Engine, which will undoubtedly be used by numerous future games. Using the included Benchmarking Tool, we ran the Long Ranch demo in DX9 mode at 1280x1024 with all settings set to low.


P7H57DVEVO_183.jpg


Left 4 Dead


Left 4 Dead (Latest Update)
Resolution: 1280x1024
Filtering: 0X AA / 0X AF
Graphic Settings: Low
Shader Detail: Low
Test 1: HWC Custom Timedemo
Comparison: FPS (Frames per Second)

Left 4 Dead is the latest disorienting, fast-paced zombie apocalypse mega-hit from Valve. L4D uses the latest version of the Source engine with enhancements such as multi-core processor support and physics-based animation. We tested at 1280x1024 with in-game details set to low. For benching, we used a pre-recorded 20 minute timedemo taken on the No Mercy campaign during The Apartments mission.


P7H57DVEVO_185.jpg


World in Conflict


World in Conflict v1.010
Resolution: 1280x1024
Anti-Aliasing: 0X
Anisotropic Filtering: 0X
Graphic Settings: Low
Test 1: Built-in Benchmark
Comparison: FPS (Frames per Second)

One of the detailed and most visually stunning real-time tactical games in recent history, World in Conflict remains a staple in gaming lineup . For this test we used the in-game benchmarking tool.


P7H57DVEVO_184.jpg
 
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MAC

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Voltage Regulation / Power Consumption

Voltage Regulation / Power Consumption



Our voltage regulation testing will focus on the various voltages and the differences encountered between what is selected in the BIOS, what is reported by PC Probe II (when available), and what is reported by a digital multi-meter (DMM). We have found eight voltage read points on the motherboard so the vCore, CPU PLL, VTT/IMC, PCH, and DRAM will be recorded with our digital multi-meter (DMM). The ground point used for all readings were a screw hole. Here are a few images showing the various read points used.

P7H57DVEVO_188.jpg

Now that we have established where the read points are, let’s have a look at the results. These measurements were taken at stock system speeds and with C1E, C-STATE, SpeedStep, Turbo Boost, and Thermal Monitor disabled in the BIOS. Just to clarify, the vCore (LLC) section is the vCore results with Load-Line Calibration Level 2 enabled. Here are our extensive findings:

P7H57DVEVO_189.jpg

What can we say? This motherboard has damn near perfect voltage output, and there is effectively no variance between idle and load states for any of the voltages. The most noteworthy voltage is obviously the vCore, and not only is accurate but absolutely stable as well. Given how critical the vCore is, let's take a closer look at its characteristics under full load with two one-hour OCCT runs. For both runs our processor will be running at stock 3.33Ghz with default voltage, once with LLC set to auto, once with it enabled.

P7H57DVEVO_190.jpg


When the vCore is set to auto and Load-Line Calibration (LLC) is also set to auto, you get a roughly 2% voltage droop, well within Intel's specifications. During the load phase there are just two of tinniest little spikes, which is perfectly fine.

P7H57DVEVO_191.jpg

With LLC set to enabled, the vCore line is absolutely perfect, showing no variance from idle to load and zero ripples. Clearly, this model has a well engineered CPU PWM design.


Power Consumption


All motherboard manufacturers boast that their products have the lowest power consumption and feature the latest new development in energy efficiency. Well that is what we are here to find out. For this test, every BIOS option was reset to its stock setting and the Windows Vista power plan was changed from High Performance to Balanced.

For our idle test, we let the system idle for 15 minutes and measured the peak wattage through our UPM EM100 power meter.

For our CPU load test, we ran Prime 95 In-place large FFTs on all available threads for 15 minutes, measuring the peak wattage via the UPM EM100 power meter.

For our overall system load test, we ran Prime 95 In-place large FFTs on all available threads for 15 minutes, while simultaneously loading the GPU with OCCT v3.1.0 GPU:OCCT stress test at 1680x1050@60Hz in fullscreen mode.


P7H57DVEVO_192.jpg

As you can see, when the IGP is in-use, the P7H57DV-EVO board cannot quite match it's Intel counterpart when it comes to idle power usage. This is somewhat understandable though since the ASUS board has quite a bit more power-leeching onboard controllers than does the barebones Intel model. However, the P7H57DV-EVO does get the upper-hand with a lower overall system load.

When a discrete GPU is installed, the P7H57DV-EVO still can't compete with the energy-sipping DH55TC when it comes to idle or CPU load power consumption, but the differences are not that great. This is still a very energy-efficient motherboard.
 
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MAC

Associate Review Editor
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
1,086
Location
Montreal
Conclusion

Conclusion


When Intel released the Clarkdale processors they also unveiled a surprising four new chipsets for this platform, obviously viewing the CPU+GPU chips as having significant market capturing potential. But upon looking at the specifications of these chipsets, it's evident that there's very little to actually differentiate them from each other. While the Q-series chipsets feature a few technologies that cater to the corporate world, they don't bring anything new to the consumer market. The H55 and H57 are also damn near indistinguishable, with the H57's trump card being native support for only 2 additional USB 2.0 ports and 2 additional PCI-E x1 slots. Market segmentation gone awry? Certainly, but while all H55 motherboards are sub-$150 models, the H57 chipset has given motherboard manufacturers an excuse to create some premium products.

The P7H57DV-EVO represents the pinnacle of ASUS' Clarkdale-oriented motherboards. Now one could question the rationale behind a high-end motherboard designed around a price-conscious processor family, but it's merely another option for consumers. Specifically consumers who want both must-have features of 2010, SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0, which can be found on no other H55/57 motherboard but the P7H57DV-EVO.

Frankly, on the connectivity front the only thing missing is DisplayPort to compliment the assortment of DVI, HDMI, and VGA outputs. However, realistically this a non-issue for most users since that interface is still a rarity on LCD monitors and even rarer on TVs.

P7H57DVEVO_193.jpg


After the disappointing results we first experienced trying to overclock Clarkdale on a P55 motherboard, the P7H57DV-EVO proved to be a breath of fresh air. As weird as this may sound, this motherboard has afforded us with some of the best overclocking that we've had in a long time. This was partially due the 32nm CPU core, partially due to the complexities of memory scaling with the IronLake memory controller, and lastly because Intel's 45nm IGP overclocks surprisingly well. As far as we know, with this board we achieved some of the highest BCLK and memory overclocking results of any air-cooled Clarkdale yet. For those who don't merely see overclocking as the means to an end (ie: higher performance), but an actual hobby, then Clarkdale + ASUS P7H57D-V EVO is where it's at. The performance might be disappointing in many respects, but exploring the limits is hugely entertaining. Even those who can't be bothered to overclock can achieve some mightily impressive numbers thanks to the automatic overclocking capabilities that ASUS have implemented on this motherboard. The Auto Tuning feature was able to match our best manual CPU overclock, albeit with a little more voltage than we used.

From a fiscal standpoint the $220CAD price tag might be hard to swallow for many, but this is a very good product and we wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to those who want to have some fun with Clarkdale, or who just want the most feature-filled Clarkdale-oriented motherboard on the market.


Pros

- Solid Performance that rivals any P55 motherboards.
- Eye-pleasing theme & heatsink designs.
- Well thought out layout.
- Nice spacing between the PCI-E slots.
- 2-Way CrossFireX & 2-Way SLI capability (with Lynnfield processors only).
- Excellent manual overclocking capabilities.
- Very Impressive automatic overclocking features.
- Effectively flawless voltage regulation & output.
- Great connectivity thanks to SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0.
- Comprehensive, user-friendly, and constantly improving BIOS.
- Good software suite.
- Socketed BIOS chip.
- Ai Tweaker now has voltage readouts for all the voltage.


Cons

- Priced out of the range for its intended market.
- No CrossFire & SLI with Clarkdale processors (Intel imposed limitation).
- Only one BIOS chip, no backup or fail-safe.
- SATA 6Gb/s ports are upright instead of angled.
- Large CPU coolers + tall memory heatspreaders can cause installation annoyances.
- No DisplayPort output.
- No floppy port (Is that a con?).
- Realtek ALC889 audio codec is a little dated.


P7H57DVEVO_204.jpg

Our thanks to ASUS for making this review possible!​

 
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