ASRock A770 Crossfire Motherboard - Test Setup, RAIDXpert and Subsystem Tests

Article Index
ASRock A770 Crossfire Motherboard
ASRock A770 Crossfire Up Close
Chipset and Motherboard Features
BIOS, Overclocking and Energy Saving
Test Setup, RAIDXpert and Subsystem Tests
ASRock A770 Crossfire Benchmarks
Gaming and Real-World Performance
 

Test Setup:

We have recently reviewed another pair of AM2+ motherboards, the ASRock AM2+ motherboard - the K10N750SLI-WiFi as well as the K10N78hSLI-WiFi and where possible we'll compare the results of this board with the other two boards we reviewed recently.  All boards offer very similar BIOS options but the latest board - the A770 Crossfire actually takes our processor to levels we've not seen before - both in raw clock speed and in FSB speed.  

 

RAIDXpert:

Before we take a look at the HDD tests, we'll cover the RAIDXpert feature that is available on this board.  This is AMDs answer to NVRAID and Intel's Matrix Storage.  AMDs RAIDXpert is accessible through a web browser and offers many features that we may not expect from a consumer product.  On this board only RAID 0, 1, and JBOD are available and the beauty of this is that you can switch between RAID 0 and RAID 1 on the fly.

RAIDXpert Main
RAIDXpert Main

 

Initially I set up a RAID 1 mirror for most of the testing and part way through testing I pulled a drive from the mirror array to see what would happen.  As expected the system popped up a notification that a drive had failed, but ran as normal so I installed another program or two with only half of my RAID 1 set functioning.  After this worked successfully, I plugged the drive back into the system easily thanks to the Zalman GS1000 case and it proceeded to rebuild the array and synchronize both drives to working order again.  After this was completed, I migrated the RAID 1 array into a striped RAID 0 array for some performance numbers.  Before we get into the numbers, feel free to click on any of the thumbnailed images below for a closer look at RAIDXpert.

 RAIDXpert Physical Drives
RAIDXpert Physical Drives
RAIDXpert RAID1 Logical Drive
RAIDXpert RAID1 Logical Drive
   
 RAIDXpert Migration
RAIDXpert Migration
 RAIDXpert Controller Info
RAIDXpert Controller Info

 


Subsystem Tests - HDD:

We start off the subsystem testing with some HDD tests.  For the HDTach test below we used both the RAID 1 mirror and the RAID 0 stripe on a new pair of 640GB HDDs.  You can see that these drives are pretty fast no matter how you slice them - RAID 0 obviously showing it's prowess as it averages 163MB/sec read speed - take that for what it's worth though as this is a synthetic benchmark.

RAID0 vs RAID1
RAID0 vs RAID1

 

Subsystem Tests - Audio:

ASRock claims that some of their motherboards have HD Audio that is capable of 110db dynamic range through the ALC890 codec.  You can find our results of those boards here.  The ASRock A770 Crossfire doesn't make those claims however, so we expected it to have slightly poorer audio quality.  The truth is that most people won't hear the difference when plugged into a $50 pair of speakers or headphones, but for those of you that care about audio quality on the integrated audio, RightMark Audio Analyzer results are below.  We tested a few different bit and sampling rates and have posted the chart below for your viewing pleasure.

 RMAA
RMAA

 

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.

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 Performance
iPerf Performance

 

Please keep in mind that the network performance numbers indicate maximum throughput that the networking hardware is capable of.  In reality, you won't see these numbers due to Operating System overhead, CPU and even Hard Disk Drive limitations.  The truth is though; the A770 Crossfire has one of the best performing networks of any of the tested ASRock motherboards.

CPU load averaged 23% when running the wired tests.  CPU load is quite acceptable considering the high bandwidth that the ASRock A770 Crossfire network is capable of.  The wired performance is the best we've ever seen.

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