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.
For LightWave 3D things fall into place about where we thought they would. If you remember, there was only one board that was ahead of the Sabertooth for stock HDD performance. This is the same board that is in the lead here by one second. Of course, once we overclock the CPU most of the usual rules go out the window. Here it is all about who has the better memory and CPU throughput which can overcome the HDD deficiencies in many cases.
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.
As AutoGK has a demand for good HDD performance (to write and read the data written during the transcode), it is not surprising to find the Sabertooth in third place for the stock run. As both the HDD and the DVD-ROM that handled the video file are using the same controller, it becomes an aggregate issue. Still, less than 15 minutes to transcode a 2 hour movie is nothing to be ashamed of.