Intel DQ35JO mATX Motherboard - Test Setup and Benchmarking

Article Index
Intel DQ35JO mATX Motherboard
Intel DQ35JO - Layout: Up Close
Installation, Software Setup and Testing
Test Setup and Benchmarking
Gaming Tests and Conclusion

Test Setup:

We've been using Windows Vista for our software platform for a while now and while we've had some issues in the past, these seem to have been resolved over the past few months.  While Vista is still a slower OS due to higher overhead, it is here to stay and we'll continue to use it as it is the only option for DX10 game testing.  Intel has claimed full support so we thought we find out how full their support really is.  The Intel motherboard has worked flawlessly under Vista.  Below is the test setup as it stands for this review.

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E4300 CPU @ 1.8GHz (Stock)
  • 4GB Crucial PC2-6400 (DDR2-800 @ 5-5-5-15)
  • Samsung 245BW 1920x1200 LCD
  • Intel DQ35JO Motherboard
  • Western Digital WD2000JB 200GB SATA HDD.
  • LG 18x SATA DVDRW
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit w/ all updates

Our goal was to if the Intel DQ35JO could be a capable HTPC motherboard so we ran some benchmarks in that regard.  We tested out the HDD system, Memory Performance and CPU load when playing back HD-Video content.  We also fired up a few games on the GMA 3100 to see if it had enough power to actually play anything.  The results are below.

 

HDD Testing:

We used HD-Tach and SiSoft to measure HDD performance on this machine.  We are using an older 200GB Western Digital HDD so the performance numbers are quite up to speed with a 1TB Hitachi drive.  Still it's fast enough to serve up videos and music.  The older HDD manages to pull off an average read speed of 41.6MB/sec with a burst rate peaking at 98.8 MB/sec.  Access time is at 13.9ms with CPU load of 2%.

 HDTach
HDTach

 

Memory Performance: 

For testing out memory performance we used SiSoft Sandra XI as well as Everest Ultimate 4.0.  You'll have to keep in mind that we are using a 4GB kit of DDR2-800 that has relatively slow timings of 5-5-5-15.  Tighter memory would provide better benchmark scores, but a solid kit of 4GB memory is fantastic for a HTPC running a 64-bit OS.

Memory Performance

SiSoft Sandra gives us an overall score of 4086MB/sec while Everest breaks things down further.  Check out the chart above for all the details.

HD Video Playback:

We've seen some pretty interesting results when it comes to HD Video playback over the past year or so.  Some graphics cards do the processing which frees up the CPU for other tasks.  Even systems with fast CPUs can bog down if the video card doesn't help processing the video.  We ran several Windows WMV-HD videos at 720p and 1080p as well as a Quicktime HD 720p video to find out how the DQ35JO would operate as a HTPC without an additional graphics card installed.  We are running a mere E4300 CPU which is one of the slowest Core 2 Duo desktop CPUs so it's definitely not a power house.

HDVideo

CPU load when playing WMV-HD video at 720p was the highest when viewing the Half-Life 2: Episode 2 Teaser video.  It averaged right around 33% and never exceeded 40%.  Watching WMV-HD at 1080p took a little more CPU power when watching "Coral Reef Adventures" but there was no stuttering or dropped frames.  QuickTime h.264 video took a bit of power at 35% CPU load when watching "Ruby - Whiteout", and again there were no dropped frames or playback issues.  I believe the X3100 is taking some of the burden as playing back these videos on my laptop (Core 2 Duo T5500 @ 1.66GHz) put the CPU up to 50% - 75% at times.  Out of the box, this board is very capable of HD Video playback - even with a slow E4300 CPU.

On the last page, we'll try and play some games to see how this board's integrated video holds up to a little 3D action.