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.
When you look at the results here you might think that this is like the Cinebench Scores; after all, the boards are very close in terms of performance. Normally I would say you are right, but in the case of LightWave 3D it is not often that you are rendering a single frame or a single object. Your typical render is multiple frames across a scene (usually hundreds or thousands of frames). As this number adds up the time difference of even a single second can be huge. After all, a difference of one second means one minute over 60 frames and the typical 30 second commercial has between 840 and 960 frames.
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.
The Fatal1ty did well during our transcoding testing; at least it did at stock speeds. Once we pushed the CPU things seemed to drop off rather quickly. This is similar to what we saw with our 3DMark 11 testing and while a cause for concern, can probably be corrected with some additional BIOS work.