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MSI Z97 XPOWER AC Review

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MSI Z97 XPOWER AC Testing:

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 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 44kHz.

 
MSI Z87M Gaming
MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming
ASUS ROG M6G
ASUS ROG M7H
MSI Z97 Gaming 7
Biostar Hi-Fi Z97 WE
ASUS Z97-A
ASUS Z97-Deluxe
MSI Z97 XPOWER AC
Frequency Response dB
+0.46,-0.10
+0.52,+0.30
+0.42,+0.03
+0.22,-0.56
+0.49,-0.33
+0.07,+0.01
+7.04,-19.31
+0.2,-0.44
+0.61,-0.43
Noise Level dBA
-91.0
-91.3
-102.2
-91.6
-91.0
-82.8
-97.0
-98.0
-94.3
Dynamic Range dBA
91.0
91.2
102.1
91.7
91.0
82.7
96.7
98.0
94.3
Total Harmonic distortion %
0.130
0.131
0.463
0.0043
0.130
0.0082
0.0039
0.0056
0.0036
Intermodulation distortion +noise
0.266
0.259
0.463
0.114
0.260
0.025
0.813
0.133
0.014
Stereo Crosstalk,db
-89.4
-91.6
-94.9
-91.7
-91.4
-80.2
-16.4
-97.8
-90.8
Intermodulation distortion + noise (Swept Freq) %
0.323
0.323
0.430
0.0091
0.323
0.222
0.015
0.011
0.010
Frequency Response (Swept Sine), db
+0.1,-0.1
+0.1,-0.1
+0.1,-0.2
+0.0,-0.2
+0.1,-0.1
+0.0,-0.0
+6.9,-10.3
+0.2,-0.3
+0.0,-0.0

The LAN test showed a slightly lower result than the comparison boards. CPU usage with the Intel-based NIC was in the 1-4% range and averaged close to 3% during the duration of the testing. Testing MSI's new Audio Boost 2 Realtek ALC1150-based sound solution shows the efforts put behind making the sound a point of difference. While listening to music and watching a couple BluRay movies, it delivered what I consider good sound quality. The RMAA results rated the solution as Very Good.




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