System Performance

Not all motherboards are created equal. On the face of it, they should all perform the same and differ only in the functionality they provide - however, this is not the case. The obvious pointers are power consumption, but also the ability for the manufacturer to optimize USB speed, audio quality (based on audio codec), POST time and latency. This can come down to manufacturing process and prowess, so these are tested.

Power Consumption

Power consumption was tested on the system while in a single ASUS GTX 980 GPU configuration with a wall meter connected to the Thermaltake 1200W power supply. This power supply has ~75% efficiency > 50W, and 90%+ efficiency at 250W, suitable for both idle and multi-GPU loading. This method of power reading allows us to compare the power management of the UEFI and the board to supply components with power under load, and includes typical PSU losses due to efficiency. These are the real world values that consumers may expect from a typical system (minus the monitor) using this motherboard.

While this method for power measurement may not be ideal, and you feel these numbers are not representative due to the high wattage power supply being used (we use the same PSU to remain consistent over a series of reviews, and the fact that some boards on our test bed get tested with three or four high powered GPUs), the important point to take away is the relationship between the numbers. These boards are all under the same conditions, and thus the differences between them should be easy to spot.

Power: Long Idle (w/ GTX 980)Power: OS Idle (w/ GTX 980)Power: Prime95 Blend (w/ GTX 980)

There is some variance in our power consumption figures of the Supermicro X11SPA-T motherboard as we are using a 12-core Intel Xeon W-3235 chip which has a rated TDP of 180 W. This didn't make much difference in idle and long idle power states, however, it became more apparent at full load with a maximum power draw from the wall of 255 W. 



Different motherboards have different POST sequences before an operating system is initialized. A lot of this is dependent on the board itself, and POST boot time is determined by the controllers on board (and the sequence of how those extras are organized). As part of our testing, we look at the POST Boot Time using a stopwatch. This is the time from pressing the ON button on the computer to when Windows starts loading. (We discount Windows loading as it is highly variable given Windows specific features.)


As our charts suggest, professional focused models such as the Supermicro X11SPA-T have a much slower POST time than desktop models. This is due to the chipset, controller count, and the type of controllers used including three Ethernet controllers. We achieved a POST time at default settings of 87 seconds, although after disabling as many controllers as the firmware would also us, we managed 69.5 seconds.

DPC Latency

Deferred Procedure Call latency is a way in which Windows handles interrupt servicing. In order to wait for a processor to acknowledge the request, the system will queue all interrupt requests by priority. Critical interrupts will be handled as soon as possible, whereas lesser priority requests such as audio will be further down the line. If the audio device requires data, it will have to wait until the request is processed before the buffer is filled.

If the device drivers of higher priority components in a system are poorly implemented, this can cause delays in request scheduling and process time. This can lead to an empty audio buffer and characteristic audible pauses, pops and clicks. The DPC latency checker measures how much time is taken processing DPCs from driver invocation. The lower the value will result in better audio transfer at smaller buffer sizes. Results are measured in microseconds.

Deferred Procedure Call Latency

None of the boards we have tested so far has been optimized for DPC latency out of the box, and the Supermicro X11SPA-T achieved a DPC latency of 295 microseconds. This is still under our 300 microsecond recommendation, but barely.

Board Features, Test Bed and Setup CPU Performance, Short Form
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  • Pneumothorax - Friday, January 24, 2020 - link

    I'm sure the profit margin on these is quite a bit less then ridiculously overpriced Z390 & X570 boards named after some deity...
  • Operandi - Friday, January 24, 2020 - link

    True for some of them for sure but a lot of the consumer boards that are aimed at the high-end overclocking are the real deal in terms of engineering. Very powerful and efficient VRMs are not cheap and a lot more overbuilt than on something like in this board so the margins are probably not as crazy high as you think (at least in the middle of the Z390 X570 market).
  • airdrifting - Sunday, January 26, 2020 - link

    What overclocking are you talking about? Overclocking a 9900K from 4.7GHz stock all core turbo to 5.0GHz and look at 95C loaded temperature, or overclocking Ryzen 0.1GHz past the precision boost? You kids don't know anything about overclocking nowadays.
  • Ironchef3500 - Monday, January 27, 2020 - link

  • brucethemoose - Monday, January 27, 2020 - link


    There is *a little* headroom in HEDT CPUs, for now...
  • web2dot0 - Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - link

    Still remember those Celeron 300A days OC to 450Mhz

    The glory days of Overclocking ...
  • Operandi - Friday, January 24, 2020 - link

    I will say the marketing sucks though. I don't give a fuck about an Aorus regardless of how extreme it may be and I really don't want to join a republic, thanks for asking though.
  • GreenReaper - Sunday, January 26, 2020 - link

    They're not exactly *asking* - the red-cloaked tide of Gamers have annexed several nearby states. For a while it looked like they'd take the Ministry of Sound, but fortunately Realtek pushed them back.
  • Operandi - Friday, January 24, 2020 - link

    Also, these comments are in reverse order cause there isn't a edit button. Oh well.....
  • rahvin - Friday, January 24, 2020 - link

    The 570 boards are expensive because they are the first PCIE4 motherboards. That and they needed a 12 layer board to get the pcie trace lengths within the spec limits. As the OEM's get more experience with 4.0 they'll drop in price but the first boards are always going be $$$ because of the additional engineering. You might not remember but the first 3.0 boards were more expensive too.

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