Zotac IONITX-P-E: First CULV-embedded Motherboard

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Test Setup:

Testbed device listing.

Measurement and Analysis Tools

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 clips were taken from two longer videos — the most demanding one minute portions were used. To play them we use Media Player Classic Home Cinema which by default utilizes DXVA (DirectX Video Acceleration) with supported GPUs. For graphics chips that do not support hardware acceleration for either codec, the software decoder CoreAVC is used to render using CPU power alone.

1080p | 24fps | ~14mbps

x264: 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.

1080p | 24fps | ~22mbps

x264: Crash is a 1080p x264 clip encoded from the Blu-ray version of an science fiction film. It features the aftermath of a helicopter crash.

Flash Video Test Clip

Many users watch media online in Adobe's Flash format on sites like Hulu and YouTube. Now that the latest version of Flash supports GPU acceleration, only slower systems like those powered by a single core Atom without a proper GPU struggle with Flash in HD. Our test clip is a HD movie trailer from YouTube played in Firefox.

720p | 25fps | ~2mbps

Flash: Iron Man Trailer #1 is the first trailer from the feature film of the same name. It's a YouTube HD video, though technically it is not quite 720p.

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)
AC Input (W)

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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