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MSI Z270 SLI PLUS Review

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MSI Z270 SLI PLUS Testing:

AIDA64 Extreme Edition 3.0 is a software utility designed to be used for hardware diagnosis and benchmarking. I will be using the Cache and Memory benchmark tool to measure memory performance.

 

  
  
  
  

 

CrystalDiskMark 3.0: CrystalDiskMark is a hard drive benchmark designed to measure the read and write speeds of drives by using 4K blocks, 512K blocks, and sequential data. For the test, we chose the 1000MB option.

 

 
 
 
 

 

ATTO 2.47 will be used to measure USB 3.0 performance using an SSD attached to an external USB 3.0 drive dock.

  
  
  
  

 

LAN performance will be tested via a utility to gauge the performance of the onboard network solutions. The motherboard being tested will be connected via a Gigabit switch to another system with an integrated Gigabit network solution on board.

iPerf is a small lightweight utility run from the command prompt and can be used to measure both TCP and UDP performance on a network. iPerf is cross-platform software and open source. The test is configured to run for 20 seconds with a window size of 256 KB and four simultaneous streams that should be able to saturate the TCP link on a good NIC.

 

 

RightMark Audio Analyzer 6.25 is used to test the sound solution on board each motherboard. Nothing beats a good set of ears and headphones, but this is a graphic representation of the capabilities of the installed hardware. Sampling mode is 24-bit 48kHz.

Motherboard
MSI Z270 SLI PLUS
ASUS ROG M8E
Frequency Response dB
+0.00,-0.01
+0.50, -1.56
Noise Level dBA
-98.0
-99.2
Dynamic Range dBA
98.3
99.2
Total Harmonic distortion %
0.0028
0.025
Intermodulation distortion +noise
0.0048
0.586
Stereo Crosstalk,db
-93.5
-97.8
Intermodulation distortion + noise (Swept Freq) %
0.0042
0.032
Frequency Response (Swept Sine), db
+0.0,-0.0
+0.2,-2.0

 

 

Looking at the memory and drive testing, the faster memory in the MSI board allows it to excel in the memory testing, while the 3600MHz DIMMs do hold their own. The drive testing shows both boards delivering comparable results that present no clear winner when you look at the Z170 and Z270 6Gbps results. Moving to the USB 3.0 testing, it looks as if MSI has caught up with ASUS on this front by optimizing the USB bus for maximum transfer speeds. I have to say that MSI has done its work on this generation of boards to shrink the performance gap on USB 3.0 transfers. 

In iPerf, the MSI Z270 SLI PLUS delivers data throughput of 944 Mbits/s by using an Intel I219-V controller to manage the LAN functionality. By comparison, the spread between it and ASUS' implementation is still, at most, 5 Mbits/sec. MSI uses its own Network Manager software to prioritize traffic to support your own specific usage scenario, if you choose to use it.

While ASUS pioneered the concept of separating the audio hardware on board the motherboard PCB from the other electronics to improve audio quality, MSI has steadily been working on its own implementation of this philosphy. MSI is using an isolated circuit with separate layers for the left and right channels to improve sound quality, along with adding audio grade hardware on board. In the RightMark Audio testing, the overall rating was Excellent. While listening to the sound through my headphones, I was able to enjoy music, movies, and games with crisp notes and deep bass tones. Throughout the audio testing I found that MSI's Audio Boost 4 sound solution was up to the task. 




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