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To test boot time, the BIOS/UEFI was optimized by setting the hard drive recognition
and other delays set to minimum, taking care not to disable common functionality
like USB support, POST messages, etc. and measured the time it takes to reach
the Windows loading screen (we stop here because this is the point where the
rest of the hardware becomes a factor).
The boot process on the H77TN is incredibly quick, hitting the Windows loading screen in a mere 8.5 seconds. It was faster than every desktop motherboard we've tested over the past year or so.
Note: each of the systems compared were tested with different power adapters, which possibly played a significant role in the noted power consumption differences.
When sitting idle, the H77TN had a huge power consumption advantage over the DQ77KB while video playback was more or less even. However when it comes to energy efficiency, Intel's Core i3 powered NUC is tough to top.
The H77TN barely edged out the DQ77KB in our heavy load tests. The numbers are very close, primarily due to the similar feature-set, and the fact that the Pentium G2120's 55W TDP isn't enough to push the system hard enough to reveal any advantages in either board's power regulation. Under normal conditions, neither board combination pulls over 40W from the wall.
To test the board's cooling, the CPU was stressed for ~15 minutes with Prime95. Temperatures of the boards' chipset heatsinks were recorded using a spot thermometer. The highest temperatures were taken for comparison.
The H77TN's chipset heatsink is up to task, matching the DQ77KB heatsink's result. Both run very cool with a 55W TDP chip on an open testbed. The bare MOSFETs next to the CPU socket measured in the 30~35°C above ambient range which is very low in our experience.
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