ASRock K10N78hSLI-WiFi Motherboard - Gaming and Real World Performance

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

Gaming Performance:

We begin our gaming performance section with the new 3DMark Vantage.  While many will argue that this is not indicative of real-world performance, it is a simple and effective way to compare similar systems to judge how tweaking, drivers and different hardware can affect your performance.  This benchmark is effective at producing consistent results as it is scripted and 100% repeatable.  Once again we show stock 2.6GHz scores with overclocked 3.2GHz scores.  Both the K10N750SLI-WiFi and the K10N78hSLI-WiFi are running at the same speeds at both stock and overclocked settings.

3DMark Vantage
(Click for larger chart)

 

Most of the results are easily within a couple of percent and can be written off as being within margin of error.  However, the stock performance results in the Entry Level System test show almost a 300 point difference in favor of the K10N78hSLI-WiFi.

 

Because we only have a single 8800GT in this machine we only ran a couple of game benchmarks - and those at stock speeds.  The GPU is the limiting factor here; especially in Crysis.  Crysis was ran at medium detail with no AA while CoD4 was ran at 1680x1050 at high detail and with 2x AA.

Gameplay
(Click for larger chart)

 

Real-World Performance:

We wrap up with a look at video decoding (watching) and encoding.  We've used several HD Video clips at 1080p and 720p on both WMVHD and Quicktime H.264.  The faster CPU on this system, combined with the GeForce 8200 chipset provides pretty attractive CPU load numbers and the system easily handles HD Video without so much as breaking a sweat.  The chart can be compared with the results from the K10N750SLI-WiFi here.

HD Video Playback
(Click for larger chart)

 

The K10N78hSLI-WiFi shows better HD Video decoding and yields anywhere between a 5%-15% lower CPU load when playing back 720p and 1080p video files when compared to the K10N750SLI-WiFi.  It's a nice way to boost your media center PC's performance.

 

Video encoding is a very CPU intensive application and shows just how efficient the system is.  We've used DVDShrink, ConvertX to DVD in real world tests as well as the x.265 benchmark - which is a scripted test that merely calculates frames per second.  All tests are very CPU intensive.

 ConvertXtoDVD
ConvertXtoDVD
DVDShrink
DVDShrink
x264
x264

 

We managed to compare both ASRock motherboards on the ConvertXtoDVD and DVDShrink tests and found the K10N78hSLI-WiFi to trail slightly at both stock and overclocked speeds in both tests.  For some reason, the difference on the DVDShrink test is quite pronounced.  In both the ConvertX and DVDShrink test, a lower score is better, but on the x264 benchmark, higher is better as the results are in FPS.


Final Thoughts and Conclusion:

The ASRock K10N78hSLI-WiFi motherboard has a lengthy list of features that should be considered if you're building a mainstream PC.  It supports a single PCIe 16x card, GB Ethernet, 8-channel audio, firewire, eSATA, six additional SATA channels, 12 USB2.0 ports and 802.11b/g WiFi.  It does all of this for under $110 currently.  The K10N78hSLI-WiFi also proves to be a decent overclocker and has a lot of adjustments, voltage settings and performance tweaks to keep your system on the bleeding edge.  The only downside to this is that current AMD processors are not as overclockable as they used to be.  Regardless, the board will be able to take you to the limit of your processor with ease.

That being said, the stock performance is a bit slower in most tests that the nForce 750a board we looked at previously, and the lack of display connector is a bit puzzling.  If the board had a DVI-D or HDMI connector, it would be a great motherboard for anyone looking to build a cheap HTPC as the chipset does a lot of decoding.  The built-in audio is quite good, so all you'd need is some RAM and a cheap processor.

Pros:

  • Lots of features for a ~$100 motherboard
  • Overclocks well
  • Nice little software bundle
  • Blistering fast wired Ethernet
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Good audio quality.

 

Cons:

  • Intelligent Energy Saver doesn't work with Dual-Core processors (Phenom Only)
  • RAM slots are close together
  • No display connector

BCCRating

 

I'd like to thank ASRock for sending over the K10N78hSLI-WiFi for testing.  Make sure you go and post your feedback in the forum at the "Comments" link below.