Real-world testing allows us to see how well a product will perform when used in the same manner as it would be in your house or office. It is an important side to performance testing as it can uncover hidden glitches in the way a product performs.
It is especially true when testing a mainboard; there are so many components of a board that have to interact that any problems between parts can cause a failure of the whole.
For real-world testing we use some common applications and functions. We test with LightWave 3D for rendering performance, AutoGK for transcoding from DVD to AVI and two games for gaming testing.
Rendering of 3D Animation is a system intensive endeavor. You need a good CPU, memory and HDD speed to get good rendering times. For our testing we use LightWave 3D. This software from Newtek is an industry standard and has several pre-loaded scenes for us to use.
To show better multi-thread performance we are also using perspective cameras which make heavy use of the ray tracing engine. We have also increased the resolution to 4k (4096 x 3072) to give the CPU even more to think about.
LightWave is another test that was hurt by the slow memory performance. Even with the much higher clock speed, the P55DE3 is not able to keep up. However, at stock we did only see a 7 second time difference in the same render.
AutoGK stands for Auto Gordian Knot; it is a suite of transcoding tools that are compiled into an easy to install and use utility. It allows you to transcode non-protected DVDs and other media to Xvid or Divx format. For our testing purposes we use a non-DRM restricted movie that is roughly 2 hours in length. This is transcoded to a single Xvid AVI at 100% quality.
At stock speeds the performance difference between the ASRock P55DE3 and the Maximus III is very minimal. This shows that the board is a solid performer. Of course, once we pushed the CPU up to 4.3GHz it walks away from the competition.