lg_whafu: To provide precise test results, the test systems should run on an updated copy of Microsoft’s Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1. The BIOS, Chipset, and Video Card drivers should be updated too, as much as possible. No other software’s should be running while benchmarks are on-going, unless it is stated. Below are the test system’s specifications:
The_Big_Viper : take it away bro, just the same hardware for testing but this is a compromise with no trivial matters.
lg_whafu : AIDA64 is a streamlined Windows diagnostic and benchmarking software for home users. We’ll use the built-in CPU benchmark tools of the AIDA64 to determine the system’s CPU performance.
The_Big_Viper : As comprehensive as Aida64 for diagnostic and benchmarking it still give you round the mark performance test results.
lg_whafu : CINEBENCH R11.5 is a real-world cross-platform test suite that evaluates the computer’s performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation.
lg_whafu : wPrime is a multi-threaded benchmarking application designed to measure the raw computational power of a CPU. It can be configured to run on a custom number of threads to accommodate multi-core CPUs.
lg_whafu : SuperPI Mod is another benchmarking tool that utilizes the pure computational power of a CPU. It shows us the performance of a multi core CPU which gives us a good picture of how a processor performs on similar tasks.
lg_whafu : Right off the bat, the ASRock Z87 OC FORMULA showed us great results across the CPU hungry benchmarks.
The_Big_Viper : Quite impressive as Haswell is very in tune with the OC Formula in delivering quality results as seen in these benchmarks scores.
lg_whafu : Aye, for once I cannot believe it either. The performance gap from my own Ivy Bridge system is just outstanding.
lg_whafu : AIDA64 is a streamlined Windows diagnostic and benchmarking software for home users. We’ll use the built-in memory benchmark tools of the AIDA64 to determine the memory’s performance.
lg_whafu : Memory performance seems to be good, and this has to be expected with Intel’s newest micro:architecture. I’m sure that our brother here had the same expectations.
The_Big_Viper : The IMC of Z87 to Haswell is a much much better compared than its predecessors and its very noticeable here with these results
lg_whafu : 3DMARK (2013) is a multi-platform benchmarking tool from FUTUREMARK, consisting of comprehensive tests that aims to gauge your gaming hardware; be it a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, or a desktop PC.
lg_whafu : Resident Evil 6, is a survival horror video game developed and published by CAPCOM. It’s one of my favorite PC games, mainly because I’m a fan of the series. It also has a built:in benchmarking tool to measure your PC’s performance.
lg_whafu : Tomb Raider (2013) is the fifth game, and the reboot of the Tomb Raider series. It is developed by Crystal Dynamics, and published by Square-Enix. We disabled Tress FX for this benchmark.
lg_whafu : A system’s gaming performance is expected to lean towards the GPU side, and this is still evident with the games and benchmarks that we have tested with the Z87 OC FORMULA.
The_Big_Viper : Despite branded as an Overclocking motherboard the OC Formula is doing well in the gaming department. As you can see the physics score of 11285 is no push over as with the Sandy Bridge at 5Ghz with just a 10k physics score
lg_whafu : To test the synthetic networking performance of the hardware, we opted to use the already popular, online based speedtest.net, and pingtest.net benchmarking websites from Ookla.
lg_whafu : With an Intel GIGABIT LAN, we expected the OC FORMULA to shine on this category and it didn’t failed to amaze us with a good looking latency test despite my ISP’s heavy server loads at the tested time of the day.
The_Big_Viper : Good low pings here for the pingtest results but I think the ISP (PLDT) came up way short as basis for speedtest.
lg_whafu : you’re damn right brother. If only we have a good network on our home to test with, sighs… As always, take this networking benchmark with a grain of salt. We like ours with peanuts, and garlics though.
RightMark Audio Analyzer (RMAA) is a suite designed for testing quality of analog and digital paths of any audio devices. The results are obtained by playing and recording test signals passed through the tested audio path by means of frequency analysis algorithms. A more common mark is also provided for those unfamiliar with measured technical parameters.
lg_whafu : ASRock dubbed the Purity Sound as an “Audiophile Grade” audio solution, but I’m afraid that it’s not what it seems to be. Looking at noise levels alone, the Purity Sound is looking great, but taking other factors into account such as the harmonic distortion + noise, it is evident that this audio solution lacks the punch to provide our ears a satisfying audio playback. We tend to experience muddy playback starting from 2kHz to 10kHz, and that my friends is not a proper way to deliver rich tunes, especially if you’re the kind of guy who wishes to hear higher frequency ranges with utmost quality. Bass is present, but is not that good too. Mind you, we tested this with lossless audio codec files from our favourite bands.
The_Big_Viper : I had to listen to my ears here besides the benchmarks as we both decided to hear out some flacs like Runaway by Corrs, September by EWF and Africa by Toto. For the most part with audios at high notes the sound stage was never lacking. However from the intro before chorus noticeable were some lacking sound details. This was evident when you can’t hear some of the strumming and piano playing in the song intro as well the violins was flat in the song Runaway. Heck you couldn’t even hear Andrea’s tongue clasping her upper mouth’s hard plate around the 23 second mark of the song. Africa chorus was good on sound stage but lacked some bass mids. September was a rather disappointment, was expecting loose sound vocals but there were subsequent hisses at low tones and the lack of select instruments weren’t that much of an enjoyment. Despite scoring a Very Good in the Right Mark Analyzer, the ears weren’t deceived here. I think the Purity branding here needs improvement.
lg_whafu : Now with that said, the Purity Sound looks like a gimmick. With a PCB gout, and EMI shielding, we surely expected it to perform at least better than other integrated solutions in the market. We just hope that ASRock stripped it off from the Z87 OC FORMULA and focused on other matters instead.
Crystal Disk Mark measures the sequential reads/writes speed of your storage devices. It also measures random 512KB, 4KB, 4KB (Queue Depth=32) reads/writes speed.
lg_whafu : Storage performance results were pretty good, considering that we have an aging SSD here in our labs.
The_Big_Viper : It’s quite the way to go with the scores here. The SATA 3.0 is living up to its expected speeds despite an aging ssd.
lg_whafu : That be true, since SSD performance varies with its age. Taking wear and tear into account, I’d say that it really is still a pretty good result. Mind you, this is almost 1 ½ year old, and has shared multiple BSOD adventures with me.
lg_whafu: Marketed as an overclocking motherboard, we expected the ASRock Z87 OC FORMULA to give us a great experience when it comes to overclocking. That said, user experience and the overall overclocking performance of the board should be top freakin’ notch.
We started with what ASRock has to offer and that’s the overclocking presets built inside the BIOS/UEFI. We find that the Z87 OC FORMULA’s overclocking presets are quite useful and would help any users to get a baseline for their own settings.
Now we used ASRock’s 4.6Ghz presets, but we felt like it’s running a bit hotter than the usual with its recommended 1.320v. It is way too high for this frequency, but it’s no biggie with a room temperature below 20*c. But, let’s be honest here that everyone doesn’t have the luxury of having an air:conditioned room, and in the Philippines, we are left with around 27*c of ambient room temperature most of the time. That said, we tried to lower the voltages while maintaining the baseline frequency of 4.6GHz, along with some fiddling here and there thrown in the mix. We also disabled some stuffs that we do not need to use. Here are our stable settings for 4.6GHz, along with the validation link, and some benchmarks: http://valid.canardpc.com/2886206
The_Big_Viper : Haswell has been living it up as a very hot processor here. Performing a stable overclock here proved a task as maintaining stability without throttling as the best option came after subsequent tweaking and trial and error.
The_Big_Viper : The initial test we had overclocking this beast was a 5Ghz at let go however some settings throttled down leaving us at first with 5Ghz at 4 cores/ 4 threads until the tweaking came in. Here’s our initial validation: http://valid.canardpc.com/2882665
lg_whafu : That said and done, we tried to reach the 5.0 GHz barrier at the comforts of our home, with HT enabled, along with some memory overclocking. As expected, the Z87 OC FORMULA didn’t fail us to reach our goal. Here are the maximum clocks attained of our processor, and memory: http://valid.canardpc.com/2886992
lg_whafu : Compared to our stock runs, the overclocked performance results of our test system are worlds apart. For starters, we achieved a 67.486s time shaved compared to our stock SuperPI runs. wPrime also achieved a nice 1.109s + 31.423s lead over the stock’s 32M and 1024M runs. Other benchmarks such as the CINEBENCH also gained a whooper too. Nice.
The_Big_Viper : Very impressive results with the Haswell and Z87 OC Formula Combination. The super pi and wprime runs were on Windows 7 x64 SP1 with no tweaks. Cinebench scores are impressive as well. The Physics score at 13191 is 2000 marks up from stock.
POWER CONSUMPTION / TEMPERATURE
lg_whafu : We check to see how motherboard makers tune their default BIOS settings and see how it impacts power consumption, and temperature. The system is left to idle for 30 minutes before readings are taken, and load data is taken 30 minutes while AIDA64 Stress Test is running. Power readings are taken for the entire system from the socket.
lg_whafu : Along with snazzy stuffs laid to its motherboard real estate, it is evident that the Z87 OC FORMULA sips more juice compared to other Z87 motherboards. Now while it’s hungrier than most, results were still good, as we maxed stock power consumption at just 270W. Overclocked results were pretty good too with additional 30W load compared to our stock results.
The_Big_Viper : Power consumption was quite still in tune despite the figures as the 7950 are 200watts TDP cards. The peak load consumption is just as is. But the idle is a different story. More 6o watts is a treat on your electric bill and more than 80 watts at OC is thumbs up.
lg_whafu : Those UEFI settings that we disabled, along with some voltage tweaking surely paid off, I must say. And mind you, it’s an E:ATX motherboard for gawds sake.
The_Big_Viper : Temperatures are another story as evident that Haswell is quite the thermo processor. One thing to keep in mind is thermal throttling here at 4.6Ghz is already evident despite a cold environment we were into. When we tried benching at 4.8 it always throttles down to 4ghz due to temperature rising as high as 102c and forces a shutdown.
lg_whafu : Indeed, we can see that Haswell CPUs are one of the hottest performers in the market today (sarcasm), with stock frequencies reaching 84*c max, and a not so good 92*c max when overclocked. Idle performance were good though, courtesy of the Gelid GC Extreme that comes with the motherboard.
The_Big_Viper : Rich Features, intricate design as well as powerful overclocking features are at the heart of Asrock Z87 Formula. Made to be an Overclocking board for the PRO Overclocker yet never sacrificing detail as your everyday board for work or play, it’s a winner in my department. However its attempt to satisfy Newbie and Mid-level Overclockers isn’t much as some setting was not for the faint of heart. The overclocking profile features that Nick Shih introduced were mostly catered for LN2/Dice. A noted option we liked was air:cooling on Super pi that meant Nick never abandoned the idea for regular enthusiasts to play with. The use of the Rapid OC button was more of a gem for those who want to start into overclocking yet decided to invest in a better and meant for overclocking board are in for a treat. The option to tinker with rams on the Formula Drive software package
lg_whafu : That said, we felt that ASRock is gunning for the ultimate motherboard crowd, instead of catering the needs of overclockers alone, were GIGABYTE, MSI, and ASUS already have their own champions. It’s not a bad move; however, ASRock needs to sharpen things up if they want the gold, especially with the not so good Purity Sound that could be just replaced by a simple audio solution, and a PLX chip for a better multi:GPU overclocking action.
Performance wise, this board is good. So good, that we achieved good stock performance results, along with reasonable overclocked results with little to no problems blocking us along the way. Overclocking is not just about easily achieving your desired frequencies alone, and that’s what the Z87 OC FORMULA taught me with a not so steep learning curve. I tell you this board is far from perfect but it leaves us wanting to take a shot at it every time we push its buttons.
The_Big_Viper : Sound wise it’s your regular built-in for me which was quite a disappointment despite being labelled as Purity but save for the other features its worth having it. The decision to add Ten (10) SATA 6Gbps ports meant for work and storage is a treat as well as 8 USB 3.0 ports at the rear I/O ports in favour of an E:Sata port. The Status Led a first is a welcome treat from their usual Dr. Debug Led that spews out numbers which you patiently find the answer on your manual; this is so informative that it helps you track the source of problems as well as pinpoint information on the touch of a button.
lg_whafu : Those things said, the ASRock Z87 OC FORMULA is still, and will always be a proper overclocking motherboard with innovative features added to the mix that is first seen on this side of the industry. It has the looks, and the genes of overclockers written all over its PCB. This is a board to look out for, if you want to break records while enjoying a fully loaded system at the same time.
The_Big_Viper : Kudos to Asrock on this one but as they say there’s room for improvement especially the built in sound card.