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Written by David Ramsey   
Wednesday, 01 June 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
MSI Z68A-GD80 Intel Motherboard
The Intel Z68 Express Chipset
Closer Look: MSI Z68A-GD80
Closer Look Continued
Z68A-GD80 UEFI BIOS
Motherboard Testing Methodology
AIDA64 Extreme Edition Tests
CINEBENCH R11.5 Benchmarks
PassMark Performance Test
Media Encoding Benchmarks
SPECviewperf 11 Tests
Street Fighter IV and Blender
Z68A-GD80 Overclocking
Z68 Motherboard Final Thoughts
MSI Z68A-GD80 Conclusion

Street Fighter IV Benchmark

Street Fighter IV uses a new, built-from-scratch graphics engine that enables CAPCOM to tune the visuals and performance to fit the needs of the game, as well as run well on lower-end hardware. Although the engine is based on DX9 capabilities, it does add soft shadows, High Dynamic Range lighting, depth of field effects, and motion blur to enhance the game experience.

The game is multi-threaded, with rendering, audio, and file I/O all running in different threads. The development team has also worked to maintain a relatively constant CPU load in all parts of the game so that on-screen performance does not change dramatically in different game scenarios. I ran this benchmark configured two ways: at 1024x768 with all game settings turned as low as possible, and at 1920x1200 with all game settings turned up as high as possible.

Street Fighter IV.png

Lucid's Virtu kicks in in i-Mode to provide excellent performance, but overclocking the Intel Core i7 2600K processor adds almost nothing to the performance at the high resolution settings . At the low resolution settings, though, overclocking the processor more than doubles the frame rate, showing that this game is CPU-limited at low resolutions and GPU-limited at high resolutions.

Blender

Blender is an open-source, free content creation suite of 3D modeling, rendering, and animation capabilities. Originally released in 2002, it's available in versions for Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, and several Unix distributions. It supports rigid and soft-body objects and can handle the draping and animation of cloth, as well as the rendering and animation of smoke, water, and general particle handling.

Benchmark Reviews' Blender test renders multiple frames of an animation of a chunk of ice, with translucency and reflections. Rendering of this model uses ray-tracing algorithms.

Blender.png

From these results it's obvious that Blender processes are entirely CPU based, with no work done on the GPU. The OC Genie overclocked configuration is 16% faster while my manual overclock is 25% faster.



 

Comments 

 
# still oddresere 2011-06-02 10:03
i don't get it why intel limit pci-e lanes. amd don't (good for them).
Yes, the crown is blue. but the halo seems red.
And it's funny this vertu DON'T manage multi GPU. THAT could be a real deal. if it'll work smooth, which still don't, even in single GPU.
As you said, let's trust the near future.
another interesting thing is the layout identical MSI-ASUS. fortunately, i agree with the choice.
Anyway, a review i've read it with pleasure.
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# oops!resere 2011-06-02 10:06
its vIrtu, not vErtu (glossy gsm :P)
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# LINUXThe Techno Alien 2011-06-04 05:59
I guess the OC software won't work under Linux, eh?
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# RE: LINUXDavid Ramsey 2011-06-04 08:24
MSU's Control Center software is Windows-only, but the OC Genie button and manual overclocking through the BIOS will work for any operating system.
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# Errors on page 3?Sam 2011-06-06 04:21
The FireWire port looks like the 6 pin 400Mb/s not the 800. Also, what is DVI-S referring to, looks like a DVI-I port to me.
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# RE: Errors on page 3?David Ramsey 2011-06-06 10:00
My bad. The 1394 port is indeed 400Mb/s, and the "DVI-S" is a typo. Both have been corrected. BTW, although MSI uses a dual-link connector, the DVI port is only single-link.
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