What's new
  • Please do not post any links until you have 3 posts as they will automatically be rejected to prevent SPAM. Many words are also blocked due to being used in SPAM Messages. Thanks!

EVGA Z87 Stinger ITX Motherboard Review

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
Small form factor, mini-ITX based computer systems are certainly not a perfect fit for everyone but EVGA’s Z87 Stinger tries to offer something for nearly every scenario. It is supposed to feel at home within everything from a compact LAN party friendly gaming PC, a multimedia focused HTPC or any of the countless other classic builds that call for mITX motherboards. While it may strive for excellence, the Stinger has some high expectations riding on relatively narrow shoulders since the competition in this bracket is fierce and EVGA’s history with motherboards is anything but consistent. Consumers demand a lot from these 17 square centimeter boards so EVGA will need to being their A-game this time around if they have any hope of differentiating their offering.

intro_chart.jpg


Much like ASUS and their $180 Z87-I Deluxe and $220 Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Impact, EVGA has spared no expense in building their Z87 Stinger to satisfy the needs of this very demanding and very vocal consumer group. That should be obvious from the moment its steep $210 price tag comes into focus.

EVGA have the overclocking enthusiast firmly in their sites with this motherboard it comes as no surprise to see all the key components are laid out as far as possible from each other and the area around the CPU socket is clear of obstruction.

The CPU socket is also rather unique since it uses a gold plated socket which has 'up to 300%' more gold in it than most. This allows for cleaner data and power transfer between the CPU and the motherboard, helping (to some extent) overclocking headroom, though we all know that Haswell processors are typically held back by thermal boundaries rather than any CPU / motherboard interaction.

22.jpg


In typical EVGA fashion this classic looking mITX form factor motherboard has been designed with very non-typical mITX users in mind: gamers. On first blush combining the classical low power mITX form-factor with high performance overclocking may seem like a contradiction in terms but with the advent extremely capable SFF chassis. For example, the EVGA Hadron and BitFenix Prodigy feature loads of water cooling potential and room for relatively large GPUs which makes building a compact high performance gaming system possible. So there’s obviously a market for a capable motherboard like the Stinger.

From an aesthetics standpoint the Stinger is pretty straightforward with the usual all black PCB alongside black and red trim pieces. It makes for very bold and aggressive looking motherboard. The metal I/O shroud is another interesting addition, though one that serves very little functional purpose.

To help keep both the six MOSFETs and Z87 chipset cool EVGA has opted for two small passive heatsinks which have a combined total weight of 97 grams (37g for the Z87 heatsink and 60g for the power subsystem heatsink) and rely upon heatpads for the VRM and TIM for the Z87 chipset block. While relatively tall, the VRM cooler isn’t any higher than the rear I/O ports, cutting down on potential case compatibility issues.

25.jpg


At its core the Z87 Stinger relies upon a ten layer PCB with an all digital 6-phase power delivery subsystem which makes for a physically robust motherboard that can handle the unique stresses overclocking enthusiasts are going to place upon it.

24.jpg


Rounding out the overclocking enthusiast orientated features are hardwired power and reset switches, four 4-pin fan headers and a dual LED debug display that displays CPU temperatures after POST completion. Next to these essential hardware tools are the dual DDR3 slots which officially support speeds of up to DDR3-2666 speeds as well as Intel's Xtreme Memory Profile 1.3 standard. As an added bonus EVGA have also included a physical clear CMOS button on the rear I/O panel which will come in handy if an overclock becomes unstable.

To help attract as wide an audience as possible EVGA has included four SATA 6Gb/s ports, a single x16 PCI-E 3.0 slot, a single port Intel i217v Gigabit controller, and the very potent Creative Core3D, quad-core sound processor which has proven itself in many, many gaming orientated motherboards.

23.jpg


The rear I/O is also comparably equipped to most mITX boards and in addition to the Intel Ethernet port, includes four USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, a standard multi-channel audio IO ports as well as a HDMI and DisplayPort output.

20.jpg


Due to space being at such a premium on this tiny board, and the need to give certain hot running components ample space, EVGA has had to make a few interesting design decisions. Unlike some of the competition, the Z87 Stinger doesn’t come equipped with a wireless Ethernet controller.

EVGA may have included an mPCI-e port so it can be added, and even thoughtfully included two cutouts on the I/O shield for the antennas, but this omission is quite glaring given this board’s high price tag. Granted, there’s a built-in Bluetooth module and gamers typically prefer wired connections but with the benefits of Wireless AC, such concerns are mostly insubstantial.

21.jpg


EVGA has also made some downright odd choices regarding header location. The front panel headers may be perfectly located for smaller mITX cases, but the USB 3.0 header is placed near the rear I/O panel, making it quite difficult to access in some situations since many ITX chassis feature shorter-than-normal front USB cables. Meanwhile, the USB 2.0 header is even further away. Using an internal USB extension cable can mitigate these shortcomings but it will have to be purchased separately since we’ve yet to see an ITX or micro ATX chassis that includes one.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
Included Software

Included Software


While we are hesitant to use words like “suite” in the same sentence as the EVGA Z87 Stinger, the included software suite consists of three main programs, of which two are the generic stock applications which accompany any motherboard equipped with Creative’s Core3D audio chipset. Those are slim pickings considering the epic list of add-ons ASUS has included with their boards.

Naturally, SoundBlaster Pro Studio application has been included. This app boasts features like a full-band equalizer, noise reduction capabilities, and allows for the tweaking of individual channel volume levels. It’s certainly not unique but still welcome.

SB_roll_sm.gif

Creative’s excellent Scout Mode has also been rolled into this Core3D iteration. This enhances the soundstage for improved positional auditory cues in games. While a poor substitute for a multi-speaker surround sound configuration, when used in conjunction with a pair of good headphones it has the capability to provide a noticeable advantage that you would not normally get from ‘onboard’ sound solutions.

creative_app_sm.jpg

As the blurb on the main screen of the Creative Alchemy application suggests, the it restores hardware accelerated audio so that you can enjoy EAX and 3D audio effects while playing DirectSound3D games. Unlike the SoundBlaster Pro Studio this application will not merit much attention as it can radically change the audio of certain games - sometimes for the worse. However if you wish to hear your games in a 'different' way you may want to explore this simple program in greater detail.

eleet.gif

The last program, EVGA’s E-LEET Tuning Utility X is the centerpiece of the Stinger’s Windows-based overclocking capabilities and roughly mirrors ASUS’ TPU OC Genie. It is a rather simple program that contains some rather interesting features. Not only does it have a customized version of CPU-Z but also offers additional tabs related to software overclocking.

We will get into this program in greater detail in the feature testing section but when compared against the competitors, it comes up short. There are no included overclocking presets, zero fan control abilities, and the included options in the overclocking tabs are extremely limited.

Even with the latest revision, some of the information it listed lacked fine-grain detail. Take for example the Bus Speed and Multiplier section. While CPU-Z would state the processor’s correct Multiplier Range and Bus Speed, the latter of which would vary from 100.10 - 100.18Mhz, E-LEET would only list "8-80" for the multiplier and always list a flat "100.00Mhz" for the bus speed. We assume a listing of '80' for our 4770K is simply a bug in the program and that the Bus Speed section does not represent a true speed but rather simply lists what it is supposed to be.

Truth be told, the most obvious omission from E-LEET are the custom fan tuning profile abilities found on other comparatively price boards. This is something many enthusiasts will want to control. There isn’t even a 'Boot to BIOS' application, a staple addition to current-generation offerings which makes access to the BIOS so much more streamlined. The lack of such abilities also makes implementing Windows 8 and the Stinger's Fast Boot abilities contraindicated until you are 100% confident in an overclock. EVGA needs to spend more time and effort on their software suite if they expect consumers to pay their premium asking price.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
BIOS Rundown

BIOS Rundown


Unlike past motherboard generations, EVGA's latest UEFI makes great strides in the functionality and ease of use departments. It may not be as effective, user-friendly, or as powerful as alternatives from MSI, ASUS, or Gigabyte, but it is markedly better than the BIOS which accompanied the last EVGA motherboard we reviewed. More importantly it is highly responsive and overall there is very little for an average user to dislike.

bios1_sm.jpg

The largest and most obvious difference from past generations of EVGA BIOS interfaces is the look. This new UEFI does not look like an early 90s DOS page. Gone is the black background with plain white lettering and in its places is a very aesthetically pleasing layout which emulates a modern website.

Like a website with horizontal page navigation this new UEFI has been broken up into two main sections. The top section gives a brief overview of your system as well as offering quick access to the five subsections. Also like a website's navigation bar, this section is static and does not change but the information it displays is updated in real time. For instance it will give you detailed information about the RAM and CPU installed alongside what CPU and power subsystems temperatures are. It can even indicate what type of card is installed in the PCI-E slot (ie PCI-E 3.0, 2.0, etc compliant).


bios2_sm.jpg

The first of the five subsections is the Overclock area, which is where most enthusiasts will spend the majority of their time as it features the usual grab bag of nearly everything related to overclocking. By the same token, if you are used to the fine grain control ASUS or MSI offer in their comparable sections, there will be some initial disappointment with the lack of advanced features. For example, there is an almost complete lack of fine grain control over the VRM configuration.

bios3_sm.gif

On the positive side all the basics and even most of the advanced voltage adjustments necessary for a long term stable overclock are here, including a very decent subsection aptly labeled CPU Configuration. To be fair our slight disappointment with these BIOS options is more a case of EVGA simply not going the extra mile like we have grown accustomed to with enthusiast grade motherboards.

bios4_sm.gif

Unlike the Overclocking section, the Memory section is very well appointed. While you will not find pages upon pages of minutia that you can tweak, the level of options EVGA has included is nearly perfect and well above average once you take into consideration the Memory Training and Memory Debug areas. All but the most hardcore of RAM overclocking enthusiasts will be more than pleased with this BIOS' abilities as EVGA has ticked all the right boxes and included a fine list of adjustments which range from the very basic to the very advanced.


bios5_sm.gif
bios6_sm.gif

The Advanced section deals with all things non-overclocking. In the numerous subsections you will find options for everything from turning on and off the onboard LEDS – via the so-called Dark Mode - to configuring aggressive Link Power Management to hardware monitoring and CPU Smart Fan configurations. The only minor issue we take with this section is that Link Power Management has been set to “On” by default which can cause issues with older SSDs. There also isn’t a way to create a custom 'favorites’ list to quickly change any sections without first digging down manually through the sections.


bios7_sm.gif
bios8_sm.jpg

The Boot and Save & Exit sections are fairly straightforward and contain all the usual features one would find in any modern UEFI BIOS. This includes saving and loading of custom profiles and permanently or temporarily changing boot order.

What is missing however is the ability to upgrade / flash the BIOS to a newer firmware while inside the BIOS. At this time EVGA wants you to either create an old fashioned DOS disk or first install your OS and then upgrade the firmware. Needless to say ideas about BIOS flashing without a CPU first installed - like ASUS offers - have been ejected out the nearest airlock.

Overall we do have to applaud EVGA and the advancements they have made in the BIOS department. This new BIOS is much more modern and significantly better than what we’ve seen from them in the past. However it still does have a long ways to go before it will be up to the premium standards that this board’s asking price infers.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
Hardware Installation

Hardware Installation


In order to test how different hardware combinations will fit onto the EVGA Z87 Stinger, we installed a Noctua NH-U12S, a 16GB dual channel kit of G.Skill Trident X memory, and a PNY GTX 780Ti XLR8 video card. The NH-U12S is a moderate sized aftermarket CPU cooler so it should provide a good reference for any optential clearance issues.

air8_sm.jpg


Even though this is a mini-ITX motherboard the amount of space allocated for the CPU socket and its cooler is very generous. While overly deep heatsinks will overhang the first and possibly even second memory slots there should be no issues with standard height RAM.

air3_sm.jpg
air_alt_fan_sm.jpg

In our U12S' case the fan touched our taller than standard TridentX modules but not enough to put pressure on the RAM and didn’t concern us enough to mount the fan higher on the fin array. With that being said, EVGA obviously did not take dual fan configurations into account when doing their Stinger's final layout and design. They’ll pose a problem as second fan will nearly completely overhand the 8-pin power port.

Naturally, memory coolers are also a non-starter as there is simply not enough room on this tiny motherboard for them to comfortably fit alongside a moderately sized CPU cooling solution. This is par for the course for mITX motherboards and we consider this level of compatibility well above average for the SFF market niche.

water_sm.jpg
water2_sm.jpg

Switching from air to water cooling also proved rather uneventful as there is more than enough room between the waterblock and the RAM slots. Once again the gap was rather small and larger water blocks could be a tricky proposition. We do have to wonder how difficult it would be to install an LN2 pot but assume that while tight it would not post too much of an obstacle.

As expected, the single PCI-E slot is close to the RAM slots and SATA ports but unless your GPU has a thick backplate, there likely won’t be any installation issues. We could actually (just barely!) remove and reinsert both memory modules without first removing the GPU. This is something that many ATX motherboards cannot boast and is a noticeable improvement over the Stinger's main completion, the Maximus VI Impact.


air5_sm.jpg
air7_sm.jpg

Unfortunately there was one issue which was not expected and had to do with the nice I/O panel cover. While this cover is optional, the amount of clearance between it and the GPU is almost nil. If your video card has a backplate the cover may have to be removed to avoid ESD interference.

air6_sm.jpg

On the positive side, our PNY 780Ti XLR8 had no problem fitting on this motherboard - even if it was nearly twice the Stinger’s length. With that being said, you will want to ensure the GPU is fully seated and secured inside your case of choice since the board’s retention clip isn’t functional and does nothing to keep the video card secured. Much like the ASUS Maximus VI Impact, having both a high performance CPU cooling solution and an ultra high end GPU installed makes for amazing showpiece.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
Test System & Testing Methodology

Test System & Testing Methodology


To full test the built in over-clocking abilities of a given motherboard, we have broken down testing into multiple categories:

Stock Turbo Boost - To represent a 4770K at stock with turbo enabled.

Software - To represent a Stinger Z87 at best proven stable overclock achieved via included software based overclocking (4.2GHz).

Manual OC –To represent an experienced overclocker that is looking for the optimal long term overclock to maximize system performance while keeping voltage and temperatures in check.

We chose benchmark suites that included 2D benchmarks, 3D benchmarks, and games; and then tested each overclocking method individually to see how the performance would compare.

The full list of the applications that we utilized in our benchmarking suite:
3DMark 8
3DMark 2013 Professional Edition
AIDA64 Extreme Edition
Cinebench R11.5 64-bit
SiSoft Sandra 2013.SP4
SuperPI Mod 1.5mod
RightMark Audio Analyzer 6.2.5
Sleeping Dogs Gaming Benchmark
Metro: Last Light Gaming Benchmark
Tomb Raider
BioShock Infinite


Instead of LinX or P95, the main stability test used was the AIDA64 stability. AIDA64 has an advantage as it has been updated for the Haswell architecture and tests specific functions like AES, AVX, and other instruction sets that some other stress tests do not touch. After the AIDA64 stability test was stable, we ran 2 runs of SuperPI and 2 runs of 3DMark to test memory and 3D stability. Once an overclock passed these tests, we ran the full benchmark suite and then this is the point deemed as “stable” for the purposes of this review.


To ensure consistent results, a fresh installation of Windows 8.1 was installed with latest chipset drivers and accessory hardware drivers (audio, network, GPU) from the manufactures website. The BIOS used for overclocking and benchmarking was version 1301 and the Nvidia drivers used were version 332.21.


Our test setup consists of an Intel Haswell 4770K, EVGA Z87 Stinger motherboard, a PNY GeForce GTX 780Ti XLR8, 16GB of G.Skill Trident X 2133 9-11-11-31 1.6v memory, a Intel 335 180GB SSD, and a WD Black 1TB. All this is powered by an EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 P2 1000 watt PSU.

For cooling we used a Corsair H100i AIO w/ four 120mm fans attached. For hardware installation testing we also used a Noctua NH-U12S and a XSPC Raystorm waterblock.

Complete Test System:

Processor: Intel i7 4770K Retail Lot# 3335B824
Memory: 16GB GSkill 2166 Trident X 9-11-11-31 1.6v
Graphics card: PNY GeForce GTX 780 XLR8 OC
Hard Drive: 1x 180GB Intel 335 SSD. Western Digial Black 1TB.
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 P2
CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i AIO

Special thanks to EVGA for their support and supplying the SuperNOVA 1000 P2.
Special thanks to G.Skill for their support and supplying the Trident X RAM.
Special thanks to PNY for their support and supplying the PNY GeForce GTX 780Ti XLR8
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
Feature Testing: Core3D Audio

Feature Testing: Core3D Audio


While the EVGA Z87 Stinger is mainly orientated towards gaming & Small Form Factor enthusiasts, the upgraded on-board audio is one of its selling features. As such, it behooves us to see exactly what this upgrade brings to the table. To do this we have used RightMark Audio Analyzer followed by 40hours of real world testing. These tests consist of numerous hours of video (movies), audio (music), and gaming using the motherboards built in soundcard and a Sennheiser HD955 headset.


RMAA_sm.jpg

For a typical mITX motherboard which doesn't have the shielding seen on ASUS' Impact or the audio software chops of MSI's Z87I GAMING, these results are quite decent given what we know of Creative's Core3D sound processor. Obviously the Z87 Stinger will never replace dedicated soundcards, but this level of performance should be more than good enough for the average gamer.

With that being said these numbers are downright inferior to those displayed by the similarly priced ASUS Maximus VI Impact and just underscore how more advanced that motherboard is compared to 'classic' designs like the EVGA Stinger. If EVGA wish to continue to price their mini-ITX motherboards into the premium category they are going to have to work harder on their delivery.

On the positive side, the included Creative software does help mask some of the underlying issues with this motherboard's integrated soundcard. While the soundstage is smaller and noticeably less detailed than it could be, most consumers will be more than satisfied with the Core3D's abilities. This goes doubly for anyone who is using sub $100 headsets as they will still be the bottleneck in any sound fidelity department.
 
Last edited:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
Feature Testing: Software Auto-Overclocking

Feature Testing: Software Auto-Overclocking


One thing EVGA is known for is creating easy to use and extremely powerful overclocking tools. For example their Precision X software is used by countless video card overclockers and even by owners of non-EVGA branded cards. With such an impressive history behind it we must admit to having high expectations for the Z87 Stinger and were really looking forward to what this motherboard brought to the table. After all, not only does EVGA set the bar high in GPU software overclocking, they actually advertise the included overclocking tool on the Stinger's box.

Needless to say what we found while using their E-LEET was disappointing to say the least, but before we actually get to the application's shortcoming there is one minor caveat we need to mention: to use the included software you will first have to install Intel's Management Engine software. Considering it comes as part and parcel of the driver install package this is neither here nor there. However, if you have not installed all the drivers via the software CD but have E-LEET running, don’t be surprised if nothing happens. Luckily, every time EVGA’s program starts up, it reminds you that Intel ME needs to be installed first.

e-leet-5_sm.jpg
e-leet-6_sm.jpg

As mentioned in the software section, the E-LEET utility includes a highly customized CPU-Z program but the 'overclocking' tools are quite sparse. First and foremost it doesn’t include any predefined overclocking settings, nor does it contain any stress testing tools to ensure an overclock is actually stable. It does not even include any fan adjustment abilities. There are a few paltry few voltage adjustments alongside bare bones CPU multiplier and BCLK modifiers.


soft_oc_sm.jpg

After working with E-LEET extensively we only managed a 42X multiplier and as usual, for stability’s sake we left uncore alone at stock 3900. To be fair this is about as good results as we obtained with the ASRock Fatalt1y Pro Z87’s software overclocking.

While RAM overclocking and voltages can be issued as needed, you won’t be able to adjust the RAM timings or even performance settings via the software. General settings are displayed, but the vanilla version of CPU-Z does this all on its own. Needless to say we were unable to do anything besides enable XMP settings - DDR3-21333 - in the BIOS and verify it was working.

While the RAM limitations and lack of included overclocking presets were disappointing the absolute largest limitation here is an absolute lack of stability when overclocking the BCLK. Any BCLK frequency boost done through E-LEET resulted in a system hang quickly followed by an automatic reboot and then…..nothing. EVGA desperately need to improve upon this application's abilities as consumers expect better than this, even from their mITX motherboards. From all indications, that’s exactly what’s going to happen as Intel’s new boards are launched in the coming months.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
Manual Overclocking

Manual Overclocking


After the less than stellar software overclocking we were not expecting, but hoping for a more impressive showing in the manual overclocking abilities of this rather expensive mITX motherboard. For the most part we did walk away pleased with what the Stinger can accomplish at the hands of a dedicated enthusiast. With that being said this motherboard is not the most straightforward, nor most forgiving to work with. It is one of the most finicky boards we have encountered since the days of DFI. The Stinger can and will go into an infinite loop on POST as there is no automatic failsafe reset or “safe boot” after three consecutive failed Power On Self Tests.

We don’t know why EVGA didn’t include such a basic yet invaluable overclocking tool. In addition, the POST process doesn’t seem to do much testing since the Stinger corrupted not one, not two, not even three but nearly a half dozen OS installations.

Even getting beyond the ill-suited POST issue, the BIOS itself is not as refined nor as easy to use as most other GUIs. Some of this can be forgiven as EVGA continues to refine it, but its less than optimal layout makes for a rather tedious experience.

man_oc_sm.jpg

Even when we did dial in our 4770K's, the 6-phase all digital power subsystem seemed to let us down. So much so that to get a stable 4.7GHz overclock, voltage and board heat became an issue even in our cold climate. Unlike the recently reviewed - and main competitor to the Stinger - ASUS Maximus VI Impact had no problems reaching 4.7GHz at 1.350 volts, whereas the Stinger would have needed something significantly higher to achieve stability. Considering the heat output at 4.7Ghz was nearly too much for our cooling solution it came as no surprise to see the system start to throttle during stability testing. The only solution was to downgrade to a 4.6GHz overclock.

We completely understand the realities of mITX boards and opting for a 8 phase VRM in a classic design is not easy, however this is no longer an excuse for doing things the 'old way'. ASUS is able to offer overclocking enthusiasts multiple mITX boards which feature an 8 phase design and do so at about the same asking price as the Stinger. This would have allowed the board to take some heavy lifting away from the CPU, lowering heat and reducing the necessary voltage for a stable overclock.

On the positive side, 4.6GHz still represents a very respectable overclock especially when we were easily able to pair it with our usual 4.4GHz Uncore speed. This did result in a very fast - but stable - system and to be fair for, an SFF build we couldn’t ask for all that much more.

On the RAM side of the equation, the GUI BIOS once again is an exercise in patience but because we knew our sticks’ abilities inside and out, dialing them in wasn’t overly difficult.

bclk2.jpg

For people interested in 'non-K' / non-CPU ratio multiplier overclocking, base clock manipulation is not overly easy on the EVGA Stinger Z87. One could go as far as saying that BCLK options were more of an afterthought by EVGA's engineers. Even with the latest firmware, the Stinger offers a whopping two choices for 'easy' bclk overclocking or 1.125 and 1.25. Considering most boards include 1.5 and 1.65, this will put you at a disadvantage. Luckily the various divider options are included and with effort you can get a reasonable overclock out of it. However, unless you are experienced with BCLK overclocking you will hit a wall at 125.1Mhz and pushing through it will take a good amount of time.

Overall we consider the Stinger to be below average in its user-friendly abilities but slightly above average in its capabilities. This is a motherboard that really does require some prior experience in overclocking Haswell chips but for some that certainly won’t be a bad thing. Fortunately if you do invest the time you will get good results, but you should be prepared as the Stinger is a harsh and unflinching taskmaster to say the least.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
System Benchmarks

System Benchmarks


In the System Benchmarks section we will show a number of benchmark comparisons of the 4770K and Z87 Stinger using the stock speed (turbo enabled), maximum stable software overclocking (4.5GHz) and our manual overclock (4.6GHz). This will illustrate how much performance can be gained by the various overclocking options this board has to offer.

For reference the CPU speeds, memory speeds, memory timings, and uncore speeds used for these tests are as follows:

results_chart.jpg



SuperPI Benchmark


SuperPi calculates the number of digits of PI in a pure 2D benchmark. For the purposes of this review, calculation to 32 million places will be used. RAM speed, RAM timings, CPU speed, L2 cache, and Operating System tweaks all effect the speed of the calculation, and this has been one of the most popular benchmarks among enthusiasts for several years.

SuperPi was originally written by Yasumasa Kanada in 1995 and was updated later by snq to support millisecond timing, cheat protection and checksum. The version used in these benchmarks, 1.5 is the official version supported by hwbot.


superPI.jpg



CINEBENCH R11.5


CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer's performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation.

In this system benchmark section we will use the x64 Main Processor Performance (CPU) test scenario. The Main Processor Performance (CPU) test scenario uses all of the system's processing power to render a photorealistic 3D scene (from the viral "No Keyframes" animation by AixSponza). This scene makes use of various algorithms to stress all available processor cores. The test scene contains approximately 2,000 objects which in turn contain more than 300,000 polygons in total, and uses sharp and blurred reflections, area lights, shadows, procedural shaders, antialiasing, and much more. The result is displayed in points. The higher the number, the faster your processor.


cine.jpg



Sandra Processor Arithmetic & Processor Multi-Media Benchmarks


SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility. The software suite provides most of the information (including undocumented) users like to know about hardware, software, and other devices whether hardware or software. The name “Sandra” is a (girl) name of Greek origin that means "defender", "helper of mankind".

The software version used for these tests is SiSoftware Sandra 2013 SP3. In the 2013 version of Sandra, SiSoft has updated operating system support, added support for Haswell CPUs, as well as added some new benchmarks to the testing suite. The benchmark used below is the Processor Arithmetic benchmark which shows how the processor handles arithmetic and floating point instructions. This test illustrates an important area of a computer’s speed.


sis.jpg



PCMark 8 Benchmark


Developed in partnership with Benchmark Development Program members Acer, AMD, Condusiv Technologies, Dell, HGST, HP, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Samsung, SanDisk, Seagate and Western Digital, PCMark 8 is the latest version in FutureMark’s popular series of PC benchmarking tools. Improving on previous releases, PCMark 8 includes new tests using popular applications from Adobe and Microsoft.

The test used in below is the PCMark 8 Home benchmark. This testing suite includes workloads that reflect common tasks for a typical home user such as for web browsing, writing, gaming, photo editing, and video chat. The results are combined to give a PCMark 8 Home score for the system.


pcm8.jpg



AIDA64 Benchmark


AIDA64 Extreme Edition is a diagnostic and benchmarking software suite for home users that provides a wide range of features to assist in overclocking, hardware error diagnosis, stress testing, and sensor monitoring. It has unique capabilities to assess the performance of the processor, system memory, and disk drives.

The benchmarks used in this review are the memory bandwidth and latency benchmarks. Memory bandwidth benchmarks (Memory Read, Memory Write, Memory Copy) measure the maximum achievable memory data transfer bandwidth. The code behind these benchmark methods are written in Assembly and they are extremely optimized for every popular AMD, Intel and VIA processor core variants by utilizing the appropriate x86/x64, x87, MMX, MMX+, 3DNow!, SSE, SSE2, SSE4.1, AVX, and AVX2 instruction set extension.

The Memory Latency benchmark measures the typical delay when the CPU reads data from system memory. Memory latency time means the penalty measured from the issuing of the read command until the data arrives to the integer registers of the CPU.


aida_mem.jpg

aida_lat.jpg
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
3D and Gaming Benchmarks

3D and Gaming Benchmarks


In the 3D and Gaming Benchmarks section we will show a number benchmark comparisons of the 4770K and using the stock speed (turbo enabled), highest stable software overclock of 4.5Ghz and our manual overclock. This will illustrate how much performance can be gained by the various overclocking options this board has to offer.

For reference the CPU speeds, memory speeds, memory timings, and uncore speeds used for these tests are as follows:

results_chart.jpg



3DMark Fire Strike Benchmark


The latest version of 3DMark from FutureMark includes everything you need to benchmark everything from smartphones and tablets, to notebooks and home PCs, to the latest high-end, multi-GPU gaming desktops. And it's not just for Windows. With 3DMark you can compare your scores with Android and iOS devices too. It's the most powerful and flexible 3DMark we've ever created.

The test we are using in this review is Fire Strike with Extreme settings which is a DirectX 11 benchmark designed for high-performance gaming PCs. Fire Strike features real-time graphics rendered with detail and complexity far beyond what is found in other benchmarks and games today.


3DM.jpg



Valve Particle Simulation Benchmark


Resolution: 1920x1200
Anti-Aliasing: 4X
Anisotropic Filtering: 16X
Graphic Settings: High

Originally intended to demonstrate new processing effects added to Half Life 2: Episode 2 and future projects, the particle benchmark condenses what can be found throughout HL2:EP2 and combines it all into one small but deadly package. This test does not symbolize the performance scale for just Episode Two exclusively, but also for many other games and applications that utilize multi-core processing and particle effects. As you will see the benchmark does not score in FPS but rather in its own "Particle Performance Metric", which is useful for direct CPU comparisons.

valve.jpg



Sleeping Dogs Gaming Benchmark


Sleeping Dogs is an open world action-adventure video game developed by United Front Games in conjunction with Square Enix London Studios and published by Square Enix, released on August 2012. Sleeping Dogs has a benchmark component to it that mimics game play and an average of four runs was taken.

The settings used in the testing below are the Extreme display settings and a resolution of 1920x1200. World density is set to extreme, high-res textures are enabled, and shadow resolution, shadow filtering, screen space ambient occlusion, and quality motion blur are all set to high.


sdogs.jpg



Metro: Last Light Gaming Benchmark


Metro: Last Light is a DX11 first-person shooter video game developed by Ukrainian studio 4A Games and published by Deep Silver released in May 2013. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world and features action-oriented gameplay. The game has a benchmark component to it that mimics game play. Scene D6 was used and an average of four runs was taken.

The settings used in the testing below are Very High for quality and a resolution of 1920x1200. DirectX 11 is used, texture filtering is set to AF 16X, motion blur is normal, SSA and advanced physX turned on and tessellation is set to high.


met.jpg



BioShock Infinite Gaming Benchmark


BioShock Infinite is a first-person shooter video game developed by Irrational Games, and published by 2K Games released in March 2013. The game has a benchmark component to it that mimics game play and an average of four runs was taken.

The settings used in the testing below are UltraDX11 for quality and a resolution of 1920x1200.


bio.jpg



Tomb Raider Gaming Benchmark


Tomb Raider is an action-adventure video game. Published by Square Enix released in March 2013. The game has a benchmark component to it that mimics game play and an average of four runs was taken.

The settings used in the testing below are Ultimate default settings for quality, VSync disabled and a resolution of 1920x1200.


TR.jpg



Overall 3D Gaming Results:
The combination of a high performance motherboard and high end video card allows for some downright excellent performance results. Though as expected the difference between stock and software overclocking results are not that great and in no shape nor form help justify this motherboard's high asking price. Luckily EVGA's Stinger is capable of even more and as long as you have the patience to turn this potential into reality, it will prove to be a very firm foundation upon which you can build one killer Small Form Factor PC gaming rig.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Top