ASRock K10N78hSLI-WiFi Motherboard - Test Setup and Subsystem Testing

Article Index
ASRock K10N78hSLI-WiFi Motherboard
Closer Look at the K10N78hSLI-WiFi
Chipset and Motherboard Features
K10N78hSLI-WiFi BIOS and Overclocking
Test Setup and Subsystem Testing
ASRock K10N78hSLI-WiFi Benchmarks
Gaming and Real World Performance
 

Test Setup:

We have recently reviewed another ASRock AM2+ motherboard - the K10N750SLI-WiFi and where possible we'll compare the results of this board with the 750SLI based board we reviewed recently.  Both boards offer almost identical BIOS options and in fact take our Athlon 5000+ Black Edition to exactly the same clock speed confirming that the processor is the limiting factor in this system.  

 

Subsystem Tests - HDD:

We start off the subsystem testing with some HDD tests.  I have been using an older Hitachi 120GB SATA HDD that appears to be pretty fast for an old drive, but I'm sure that new drives would perform faster than the old 120GB unit that I've had to use for this review.  The following tests no doubt show the limitation of the HDD - not the motherboard, but the results are still pretty good.

HDTach
 HDTach

 

HDTach shows that the drive starts out at a little over 60MB/sec and creeps down to 30MB/sec for an average read speed of 48MB/sec.  CPU utilization is low and random access is 12.6ms.  This test shows the HDD controller is quite efficient.  I have no doubt that a newer drive would be faster, but the results are respectable with an older 120GB drive.

 

Subsystem Tests - Audio:

ASRock claims that their HD Audio is capable of 110db dynamic range through the ALC890 codec.  We fired up the RightMark Audio Analyzer and took it for a spin.

We tested a few different bit and sampling rates and have posted the chart below for your viewing pleasure.

RMAA

While it clearly falls short of 110db Dynamic range, it is a lot better quality than the audio from the Intel Q35 mATX motherboard, and is very close to the results shown by the ASRock K10N750SLI-WiFi motherboard we looked at recently.


Subsystem Tests - Network:

One area that we have started testing is network performance.  It is easy for a company to claim great networking features as many users never test them out and are puzzled when they can only transfer files at a mere 250Mbit/sec on their 1000Mbit/sec NIC.  We use iperf for testing network performance and on this board we tested out both wired and wireless performance.

Like the K10N750SLI-WiFi, the K10N78hSLI-WiFi comes bundled with an 802.11b/g adapter that plugs directly into a motherboard header.  The nifty thing about this feature is the included software and the 1-click ability to set up the motherboard as either a wireless client or a wireless access point.

 Network Access Point
Network Access Point
Network Monitor
Network Monitor

 

In iPerf, we ran single threaded tests as well as a multi-threaded network test that used five streams at the same time.  Multi-threaded performance always looks better and shows how the network system will hold up when accessed from multiple machines at the same time.  Single thread performance shows client-to-client file sharing performance.

iPerf

 

CPU load averaged 30% when running the wired tests and 10% when running the wireless tests.  CPU load is quite acceptable considering the high bandwidth that the ASRock K10N78hSLI-WiFi network is capable of.  The wired performance is the best we've ever seen and the wireless performance falls on-par with what we've come to expect from 802.11g device.  It is about 34% of theoretical performance.  CPU load on this motherboard is somewhat higher than the K10N78hSLI-WiFi, but it shouldn't be an issue with a fast dual-core processor.

On the next page, we'll run some performance benchmarks and see how this board rounds out.