Zotac H55-ITX-C-E: Stacked LGA1156 Mini-ITX Motherboard

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TEST METHODOLOGY

Test Setup:


Testbed device listing.


Measurement and Analysis Tools
  • CPU-Z to monitor CPU frequency and voltage.
  • CPUBurn processor stress software.
  • Prime95 processor stress software.
  • FurMark stability test to stress the integrated GPU.
  • Cyberlink PowerDVD to play H.264/VC-1/Blu-ray video.
  • Media Player Classic - Home Cinema (with CoreAVC if necessary) to play x264/MKV video
  • Real Temp to monitor CPU temperatures.
  • Seasonic Power Angel AC power meter, used to measure the power consumption of the system.
  • Infrared Thermometer to measure heatsink temperatures.
  • Digital Tachometer to measure fan speeds.
  • Digital Multimeters to measure voltage drop.

H.264/VC-1 Video Test Suite

H.264 and VC-1 are codecs commonly used in high definition movie videos on the web (like Quicktime movie trailers and the like) and also in Blu-ray discs. To play these clips, we use Cyberlink PowerDVD.


1080p | 24fps | ~10mbps
H.264: Rush Hour 3 Trailer 1 is a H.264 encoded clip inside an Apple Quicktime container.


1080p | 24fps | ~8mbps
WMV-HD: Coral Reef Adventure Trailer is encoded in VC-1 using the WMV3 codec commonly recognized by the "WMV-HD" moniker.


1080p | 24fps | ~33mbps
Blu-ray: Disturbia is a short section (chapter 4) of the Blu-ray version of Disturbia, the motion picture, played directly off the Blu-ray disc. It is encoded with H.264/AVC.


1080p | 24fps | ~36mbps
Blu-ray: Becoming Jane is a short section (chapter 7) of the Blu-ray version of Becoming Jane, the motion picture, played directly off the Blu-ray disc. It is encoded with VC-1.

x264/MKV Video Test Clip

MKV (Matroska) is a very popular online multimedia container used for high definition content, usually using x264 (a free, open source H.264 encoder) for video. The clip was taken from a full length movie; the most demanding one minute portion was used. We use Media Player Classic Home - Cinema to play it as its default settings allow it to use DXVA (DirectX Video Acceleration) by default.


1080p | 24fps | ~14mbps

x264 1080p: Spaceship is a 1080p x264 clip encoded from the Blu-ray version of an animated short film. It features a hapless robot trying to repair a lamp on a spaceship.


Estimating DC Power

The following power efficiency figures were obtained for the Seasonic SS-400ET used in our test system:

Seasonic SS-400ET Test Results
DC Output (W)
21.2
41.6
60.2
81.9
104.7
124.1
145.2
AC Input (W)
32.0
58.0
78.0
102.0
128.0
150.0
175.0
Efficiency
66.3%
71.7%
77.1%
80.3%
81.8%
82.8%
83.0%

This data is enough to give us a very good estimate of DC demand in our test system. We extrapolate the DC power output from the measured AC power input based on this data. We won't go through the math; it's easy enough to figure out for yourself if you really want to.

Testing Procedures

If available, the latest motherboard BIOS is installed prior to testing and 256MB is allocated to the integrated graphics core, if applicable. Certain services/features like Indexing, Superfetch, System Restore, and Windows Defender are disabled to prevent them from causing spikes in CPU/HDD usage. We also make note if energy saving features like Cool'n'Quiet/SpeedStep or S3 suspend-to-RAM do not function properly.

Our main test procedure is designed to determine the overall system power consumption at various states (measured using a Seasonic Power Angel). To stress CPUs we use either Prime95 (large FFTs setting) or CPUBurn depending on which produces higher system power consumption. To stress the IGP, we use FurMark, an OpenGL benchmarking and stability testing utility. Power consumption during playback of high definition video is also recorded.

Our video test suite features a variety of high definition video clips. If the video (and/or audio) skips or freezes, we conclude the board's IGP (in conjunction with the processor) is inadequate to decompress the clip properly. High CPU usage is indicative of poor video decoding ability on the part of the integrated graphics subsystem.



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