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BIOSTAR GAMING Z97X (Intel Z97) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Apr 9, 2015 2:12 pm
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: BIOSTAR

Temperature and Power Consumption


System power usage is measured at the AC/DC PSU (the AX1200i) which I have connected to another system to measure the test system and as a backup I have a wall meter to verify. The CPU power is measured through the 8-pin connect which is hooked up to a hall effect IC which measures current and puts out a voltage in proportion to the current. That voltage is logged by a National Instruments ADC which logs the DC voltage level, which I then convert into current.




Note on Thermal Images: In the temperature section we use our Seek thermal imaging camera to capture the surface temperatures of major components on the board; I look at the VRM and then all other things that light up the screen. If there is something to worry about then I will state it, otherwise I will just show the hotter running parts of the board for fun. Unless some component is over 80-90C then there really isn't anything to worry about.


All systems will act differently, so I will look for commonalities, such as how far from the VRM the heat spreads through the PCB and the difference in temperature between the PCB and the chokes. Keep in mind that the majority of the heat from the VRM goes into the PCB as it is a giant soldered on copper heat sink.



Stock Tests:




Here the board is idle on the left and full CPU/Memory load on the right (Intel Burn Test), only a slight increase on the topside of VRM temperatures.




This is the back of the board at idle and load at stock speeds, notice that the phases to the left of the CPU get hot and not those on top. This is perhaps an operating mode of the Intersil PWM to save power by shutting down half the phases.



Overclocked Tests:




Here the whole system is overclocked; idle on the left and full load on the right.




Here the back of the PCB sees the largest increase in thermals.


Now I decided to remove the shield and allow the heat sinks to breathe air.




Temperatures have dropped slightly as air flows over the PCB and heat sinks.




The temperatures at the back of the PCB dropped significantly when the shield was removed.


Overall, temperatures are great, I never saw temperatures go over 50C, which means the VRM is doing an excellent job, especially since it seems the controller shifts most power delivery to the 6 phases closest to the CPU. The 12 phases are more than enough to get the job done, while idle temperatures are higher because of more components, there isn't much difference between idle and load temperatures. Obviously, when the shield is removed, temperatures go down - it's common sense.


It's like wearing sandals or sneakers, sandals will help keep your feet cooler, but I would prefer most people just wear sneakers. It's an aesthetics-versus-performance trade off, you won't lose performance if you keep the shield on and you won't gain any if you remove it. The temperature drop, while present, isn't enough to warrant any action.

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