Performance: Applications [Real World]
AutoGK is our choice for transcoding testing. It is a compilation of commonly used tools for transcoding combined into an easy to use application. At its core is virtual dub for the actual transcoding but it provides much more than that. AutoGK is a good test of a system as it stresses the system drives, memory and the CPU. Although it is not fully Multi-Core compliant it does stagger the rendering load across multiple cores in turn. In our testing we take a 2 hour movie and transcode it to DivX Avi at 100% quality.
And the slow HDD performance finally catches up to us in AutoGK. As transcoding is something that touches almost every major component but needs to eventually write data to the HDD and then check it any issues with HDD performance will hider your progress.
LightWave 3D x64
Lightwave 3D is a full 3D animation software suite from Newtek. This is an industry standard 3D Animation and rendering software from Newtek. Our rendering tests with LightWave 9.6 have changed. I have always been a fan of the Classic Camera and the multi-pass PLD anti-aliasing that it offered. However, what I did not know was that this type of camera model was only capable of about 75-80% CPU utilization. This makes it very inefficient [as I am sure you guessed] so we made the shift to the newer perspective camera and are using its much better [100% CPU utilization] threaded engine as well as a newer and more efficient form of anti-aliasing. Along with this new camera model we get ray tracing and some other nice features. We have also leapt from the 1080p resolutions we used before and are now setup with a 35mm 4K resolution of 4096 x 3072; this should give the CPU a nice workout. To show off the vast difference in performance between the two we ran both and show you the render times here. This also shows what you can do when your application is truly written for a multi-threaded CPU.
Once again the slower than expected HDD performance comes back to haunt us as we see slower times in Lightwave 3D than we would like. Here we see that even the solid memory performance shown was not enough to compensate for the HDD performance lag. For those of you that think 4 seconds is not that big of a deal; well consider the pin ball project, it is 800 frames long. If you multiple 4 by 800 you get 3200 that is 3200 seconds, that is 53 extra minutes at 800 frames. Which at 28 frames per second full motion video is a clip of only about 28 seconds; nothing like needing an extra hour to finish a 30 second clip.
3D Mark Vantage is a DirectX 10 benchmark suite from Futuremark. This suite of tests allows you to get a broad overview of how well your system can handle the basic tasks of today’s gaming. Included in the test are Physics [using the PhysX libraries for GPU and CPU] DX10 Shader tests DX9 Shader tests as well as AI computations. Now since the majority of this is not dynamic it cannot hope to provide a completely accurate picture of gaming performance but it does a very good job despite that limitation. 3D Mark is also used a “bragging rights” test. The person with the best number wins; we are not sure what they really win, but we are assured they do actually win.
Here we had a very interesting result. At stock speeds the UD9 out runs the other board in our group but when overclocked, for some reason the slower clocked board is out in front in total 3DMarks. We, also will be looking at what you can do with 3DMark Vantage on this board with a few GPUs stuff into the PCIe slots in a future article. So we will most certainly be back to take a look at the X58A-UD9 and this benchmark.
Gaming is a very real-world test. We do not use benchmarking scripts but actually play the games though a pre-planned level and record the frame rates using FRAPS. This allows up to see exactly how the CPU benefits [or hinders] performance. We have moved to a new format and will now be bringing you a game of each of the three common Direct X Levels. This should give a broader idea of CPU performance across multiple gaming APIs.
Call of Duty 6: Modern Warfare 2 [DX9]
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is a fast paced first person shooter style game. It covers the gamut of modern ‘low intensity’ and covert style combat that is actually going on in today’s world. Yes the plot line is farfetched but some of the actual types of missions are not far from the mark. As it is a console port it is limited to DX9 for its engine. However due to the massive ‘bar fight’ AI it can be a good test for a CPU. Settings are shown below:
Ok what to say here; well the X58A-UD9 does a great job with Modern Warfare2. The problem is that at 80+ frames per second minimum you would never know it. After all most LCD panels cannot even display more than 60 FPS [although 120Hz and even 240Hz panels are becoming more common]and the human eye cannot truly see more than about 32 FPS; so while we can call a winner, you would never know it to look at them.
FarCry 2 [DX10]
FarCry 2 is a large "sandbox" style game that does not have any real levels. It is all mission based but allows for a great deal of free movement in the environment. You take the role of a mercenary sent to kill "The Jackal" a dangerous gun runner. Unfortunately you are overcome by your malaria and end up serving as an errand boy for a local thug. Settings are show below:
FarCry 2 is another one that is over the average human eye range. Even the slowest subject was at 43 FPS. Still for the sake of "calling a winner" the UD9 was not it, it was a very small number of FPS behind the leader. Still, it would serve very well to play FarCry 2 if that is your game.
Battlefield Bad Company 2 [DX11]
This title from EA also is our first DirectX 11 First Person Shooter. It is a game that is heavily multi-player oriented, but also has a short single player game. In that game you take the part of a World War II commando infiltrating a small island to recover a Japanese defector. Settings are show below.
This is another one of those times when overclocking does not do you any good. The X58-UD9 at stock speed is the leader here with 48 frames per second minimum while the 4.3GHz OC drops back to 47. These results really push home the reality that the CPU, Memory and Motherboard can often have little to no effect on your gaming performance.
Not much to talk about here; the X58A-UD9 is a competent gaming platform. We saw no indications that you would have any issues using it for gaming. Of course we have barely scratched the surface of possibility with this board. The potential for gaming is pretty big with support for four nVidia GPUs chugging along here. We will be publishing the results of that testing very soon though and you might be surprised what we found out.
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