First, here’s a list of the other components in my bench system.
CPU: Intel Core i7-7700K
RAM: Geil EvoX 3200 MHz
Video Card: Sapphire R9 290 Vapor-X
SSD: Crucial MX300 750 GB
PSU: Seasonic Gold 750W
Case: NZXT S340 Elite
I mention this in my video, but benching a motherboard doesn’t seem to be as much about how the board itself performs, as much as making sure the board is allowing the other components perform at full potential. In short, the Aorus Gaming 7 seemed to work excellently in allowing each component to reach max performance. On the CPU side, I stuck with two tests that seem to represent a broad spectrum of software performance. It isn’t exactly fair to compare a 7700K to an old 8350 system, but that’s the benefit of being the first of a kind in my bench system. Just to clarify for those who might not understand the chipset differences, the lower scores on the Asus are not representative of an under performing product, but an entirely different, plus older, system. The Sabertooth is using the older AMD FX-8350 CPU and DDR3 memory, but it has been the best board I’ve used for my 990FX system. This just gives us something to compare to, and helps highlight what upgrading to a Z270 platform with DDR4 memory can give in performance improvements.
I believe memory and L3 cache can depend heavily on the motherboard. On one hand, there’ll probably be little difference if the board is working great, but if something isn’t keeping up, I’d be willing to bet it will show the most here. In this case, we see some phenomenal performance from the Aorus.
On my SSD benchmark, I had to test two different drives since my 990FX system is actually my main system. My bench system gets all the best stuff! While the specs are pretty similar, the 990FX is sporting an older OCZ drive and the Aorus is using the Crucial MX300. Some performance variance is due to that, but I think some of it also has to do with the throughput of the newer system. It was the random writes that seemed to stand out more than they should. While this test can be showing the benefit of the newer chipset, it could also be showing the weakness of the different SSD controllers.
Time to look at gaming. In general, the CPU, RAM and GPU are going to hold the main impact on actual performance. That said, some unusual drops in FPS could be due to the board and chipset. One benefit of DirectX 12 is that it seems to take a lot of dependancy off of the CPU. This is great news for those of us who have older systems. The graph below shows the FPS curve over 80 seconds of the benchmark. As we can see, the performance is surprisingly even, showing both systems having enough overhead for the GPU. That said, the 990FX has a couple of steep FPS drops the Z270 system doesn’t.
I was surprised to see DirectX 11 perform very similarly to DirectX 12 in this case. It goes to show that so much of gaming performance depends on how well the game code is implemented. In the case of Rise of the Tomb Raider, it looks like Square Enix has done an excellent job of optimizing for PC. Once again though, we see the older system experience some hard drops in FPS. Averages can be deceptive because even though a single drop in frames can be rare, they also stand out as the points that stutters or tears show up in gaming. These graphs will showcase a lot more when comparing multiple Z270 boards, but if nothing else, we might be giving holdouts some good reasons to consider a system upgrade.