by Rob Williams on February 24, 2010 in Motherboards
Are you looking for the most feature-rich P55-based motherboard possible? With its P55A-UD7, Gigabyte looks like its up to the challenge. In addition to the usual slew of features we’ve come to expect, the UD7 includes a built-in waterblock, a Silent-Pipe add-on, 24 power phases, SATA and USB 3.0, four PCI-E 16x slots, and more.
Synthetic benchmarks have typically been favored for performance testing, but the results they provide can be fairly abstract, and the methods they use to assign their scores can be dubious at times. By contrast, real-world application benchmarks provide performance metrics that apply directly to real-world usage, and we endeavor to apply both in our performance comparisons.
SYSmark 2007 Preview from BAPCO is a special case, because its synthetic scores are derived from tests in real-world applications. However, we still believe that synthetic benchmarking scores are best used to directly compare the performance of one piece of hardware to another, and not for developing an impression of real-world performance expectations. SYSmark is more useful than most synthetic benchmarking programs in our opinion, because its tests emulate tasks that people actually perform, in actual software programs that they are likely to use.
The benchmark is hands-free, using scripts to execute all of the real-world scenarios identically, such as video editing in Sony Vegas and image manipulation in Adobe Photoshop. At the conclusion of the suite of tests, five scores are delivered: an E-learning score, a Video Creation score, a Productivity score, and a 3D Performance score, as well as an aggregated ‘Overall’ score. These scores can still be fairly abstract, and are most useful for direct comparisons between test systems.
A quick note on methodology: SYSmark 2007 requires a clean install of Windows 7 64-bit to run optimally. Before any testing is conducted, the hard drive is first wiped clean, and then a fresh Windows installation is conducted, then lastly, the necessary hardware drivers are installed. The ‘Three Iterations’ test suite is run, with the ‘Conditioning Run’ setting enabled. Then the results from the three runs are averaged and rounded up or down to the next whole number.
Like most of the motherboard benchmarks we run, the results in SYSmark 2007 don’t vary too much from board to board, but that’s a good thing. If a board happened to score far below the others, then we’d see a problem. But if the results keep in line, we know that what we have is typical, and that’s exactly the case with the P55A-UD7.