|A member of the Funky Media Group|
|Review: ASRock Z77-Professional Motherboard|
|Posted by Ed Smith|
|Saturday, 07 April 2012 22:00|
Page 9 of 12
Software DVD Tour
Feeling adventurous I clicked the "Install EVERYTHING" box on the DVD. Don't do that.
Some of the stuff is very useful, the F-Stream Tuner for instance is great, the drivers are rather useful as well, Virtu MVP is interesting. Xynga games installed as a recurring uninstallable desktop and taskbar icon? Not so much, that's more like malware. Norton Security (which doesn't get rid of Xynga, sadly)? No thanks.
You do get the option of installing all the drivers and none of the "utilities", which is nice. Then you can pick and choose the non-driver bit you want to install.
Here's what my desktop looked like five (automated) reboots and endless software later:
That's right, 13 icons and "gadgets", plus more stuff running. Brutal.
On the plus side the F-Stream Tuning program is really quite good, I'd even say that it is the best in-windows overclocking software I have come across so far. That's right, better than even Asus' ROG software.
Virtu MVP is a very cool concept, it is designed to improve the efficiency of GPUs by telling them what can be re-used from the previous frame and what cannot. In certain cases this can result in as much as a 90% improvement in frame rates!
I tested it in Unigine's Heaven DX11 benchmark, where it caused a 10 point drop in score (oh well), as well as 3DMark03, where it did nothing and 3DMark06 where it gave a huge increase in frame rates and score at the cost of a lurch every second or so. Virtu MVP certainly has promise, but it still needs some polishing.
Then there are the 555 claims. I find them amusing right off the bat due to the "555" timer being one of the most prevalent ICs out there, it's useful for all sorts of things and has absolutely nothing to do with this motherboard. Beyond that, the claims are:
How do those stack up? Well... The 5x lower latency is flat out impossible I'm afraid, unless it is measuring the latency of just the network controller itself. Then maybe it can drop the latency from 1ms to 200 microseconds, or something along those lines. Not useful. Now the same program can also do some bandwidth shaping and that can be very useful indeed. My only issue here are the marketing claims, the actual program is interesting and entertaining to watch and play with and I definitely like it. Why do I say impossible? Because a huge portion of ping times to good servers are spent waiting for the electrical impulses to get from here to there. No amount of software will make the networking electrons travel faster than 0.7 lightspeed, sorry. At best in fiber your ping time will be 2ms per 189 miles of fiber, plus buffer and packet width times. Server on the other coast? Fiber will get your signal there and back in 31ms or so. Using copper all the way directly with no servers between it and you? That's 2ms per 132 miles. I'm getting carried away so I'll finish it off with this: Bandwidth shaping is useful. No software on your computer will give you 5x lower ping times.
5x faster photoshop execution? Maybe, the difference in read/write speeds between RAM and a mechanical disk is spectacular, and it's almost as large between RAM and a SSD. Whether it speeds photoshop up that much I don't know as I do not own photoshop, but using spare RAM for caching purposes does speed thing up substantially. Of course, you need spare ram. The ramdisk software included with this board can use ram beyond the 4GB cap imposed by 32bit operating systems, which is a very nice feature. So all in all, I like this one and don't have any issues with its marketing.
5x faster USB performance in ATTO? I shall test it!
First, my OCZ Rally2 16GB USB2 flash drive with the 5x stuff turned off:
Now with the 5x USB doodad turned on:
Definitely different! By and large it is higher, significantly so at most file sizes.
Last on the list are the gold capacitors. Are they better than normal colored polymer caps? I have no idea and no way to test. Do they look awesome? Yes.
That's enough marketing, it's time for performance testing. You know, the important stuff!