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EVGA Z77 Stinger mini-ITX Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: EVGA

Board Port Device Testing

ATTO Disk Benchmark

To validate that the board’s device ports were functioning correctly, we connected an OCZ Vertex 3 90GB SATA III SSD to the system and ran the ATTO Disk Benchmark against the drive. ATTO was configured to test against transfer sizes from 0.5 to 8192 KB with Total Length set to 512 MB. The SSD selected for testing has a maximum read throughput of 550 MB/s and a write throughput of 500 MB/s on a SATA III port and a maximum read throughput of 280 MB/s and a write throughput of 260 MB/s on a SATA II port .

External device testing was done against the USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and eSATA ports using conversion cables to connect the SSD. The SSD was connected to the internal SATA II and SATA III ports as well. The SATA device ports were set to work in AHCI mode in order to optimize SSD device operation. All tests were run 3 times with the highest repeatable read and write scores recorded in MB/s values.

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According to various other testing sites, the real-world performance maximum of USB 2.0 peaks at 35-40MB/s (about 60% of its rated 60MB/s throughput, USB 3.0 peaks at 200-250MB/s (about 60-75% of its rated 350MB/s throughput), and eSATA peaks at about 400-450MB/s (about 60-75% of its rated 700MB/s throughput).

Due to unknown circumstances with the board, we could not get the board to recognize a single drive connected to the eSATA ports in the rear panel. Therefore, only numbers for devices connected to the USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports were reported.

Both external device ports performed within expectations. While neither device type performed at the upper limits of the expected performance spectrum (as referenced above), both fell within allowable ranges of error. One of the more surprising results was the performance synchronicity between the ASMedia and Intel-based USB 3.0 ports. Normally, the Intel ports have a slight advantage due to the chipset’s internal optimizations, but not in this case. Given the reported results, you should not be disappointed with USB 2.0 or 3.0 devices speeds connected to this board.

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With the internal SATA ports, device speeds again fell well within expectations. The SATA III SSD drive maxed out the SATA II port throughput while the SSD itself maxed out on throughput when connected to the SATA III port.

SoftPerfect Research NetWorx Speed Test

In conjunction with Windows Task Manager, SoftPerfect Research NetWorx Speed Meter application was used to measure the upload and download performance of the motherboards integrated network controllers. Speed Meter was used to measure average network throughput in MB/s with Windows Task Manager used to measure CPU utilization during the tests.

Intel GigE controller

For the wired network adapter, the testing consisted of copying two file sets from and to a remote system directly connected to the local system via a crossover cable. Use of a crossover cable eliminates the possibility of throughput loss due to router passage. The two file sets used consisted of a single 3.0 GB archive file and a folder containing 3.0 GB of audio files.

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The Intel network controller performed well above average in both the large file and small file transfer tests, with the average speeds seen during the large file transfer coming awfully close to the theoretical maximum throughput for gigabit Ethernet (125 MB/s). The average speed spread between upload and download was negligible for the large file tests, while just under 15 MB/s during the small file transfers. In both cases, the average CPU utilization remained under 10% during both tests.

Atheros Bluetooth adapter

For the Bluetooth network adapter, the testing consisted of copying two file sets from and to a remote system directly connected via the Bluetooth link. The two file sets used consisted of a single 10 MB archive file and a folder containing 10 MB of audio files.

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For both tests, the Bluetooth adapter performance was inconsistent at best with the reported averages being repeatable results over many runs. The large file transfer download results were the most inconsistent, with transfer speeds ranging from 25 MB/s to over 100 MB/s. The average download speed reported was the most consistently reproducible. The small file transfer results fared better, coming in at 115 MB/s. However, this is well below Bluetooth’s maximum rated throughput of 375 KB/s (3.0 Mbps). Like its faster 802.11-based siblings, Bluetooth-based connections suffer the similar overhead and packet loss issues.. For CPU utilization, the numbers remained an average of 0 for the duration of all tests.

December 3, 2012 | 10:12 AM - Posted by Daniel Nielsen (not verified)

Will you ever do a Mini ITX round up sort of thing? By the looks of the recent ones that been featured on PCP'er i will strongly consider a Mini ITX Motherboard for my next upgrade.

December 3, 2012 | 03:38 PM - Posted by Kitten Masher (not verified)

This should have the "mini-itx" tag.

December 3, 2012 | 03:41 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

indeed, added

December 4, 2012 | 01:07 AM - Posted by Justin 150 (not verified)

NO MSata?

Having used Mini-Itx boards in a couple of builds the crucial area that MB makers need to consider is cable management - in most mini-itx cases it is a real pain. There is not a lot that can be done with the Sata cables, in an ideal world I would want a MSata 3 socket on back of board, but there is something that can be done for the 24 pin ATX and 4/8 pin Aux power sockets: it is not enough to have them on the edge of the board they need to be at right angles to current norm.

Personally I would go with the ASRock z77 e-itx board over the EVGA

December 18, 2012 | 01:49 PM - Posted by TheBoss (not verified)

If anyone goes Asus over EVGA you are either misinformed, have never dealt with Asus before, are filthy rich and do not care about throwing money away, are just an Asus fanboy, or possibly retarded.

I have built 100's of PC's this year alone. I bang them out like Rihanna gets hit. All the time. They have a higher than failure rate than EVGA, use inferior parts in most cases, and WORST of all you can not do an Asus RMA to save your freaking life.

ASUS = HEADACHES AND HASSLES

EVGA = GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE, SUPERIOR COMPONENTS, GREAT DESIGN, GREAT ENGINEERING

I sell more Asus stuff than EVGA, so don't count me a "Fanboy" by any means. But for someone to PREFER an Asus MoBo to this little stinger is just dumb. No offense inteded here btw.

TheBoss
BossRigs.com

December 31, 2012 | 08:01 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Strange, but I have had almost the exact opposite experience. I have had problems of bad capacitors leaking in a few EVGA products, and few construction problems with ASUS. I have had a dead MOBO or two from ASUS, and getting an RMA was not difficult (I do live close enough to drive down to ASUS and pick up the replacements). I'm happy with the quality of both EVGA and ASUS, in fact just installed a couple of the new ASUS ac routers.

February 27, 2013 | 10:28 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I believe he suggested an ASrock board... not ASUS. Seems like you blew a gasket about nothing

June 3, 2013 | 11:20 PM - Posted by Mason (not verified)

I really love your site.. Pleasant colors & theme.
Did you build this website yourself? Please reply back as I'm trying to create my very own blog and want to know where you got this from or just what the theme is named. Thanks!

Here is my website - his comment is here

December 4, 2012 | 07:13 AM - Posted by orvtrebor

This really should have been compared to the Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe (ITX) board. They are at the same price point and trying to accomplish the same level of performance.

But I understand you guys don't have an endless supply of hardware to compare with :)

Either way its great to see another high performance ITX board.

December 4, 2012 | 08:54 AM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

There will likely be more mini-ITX reviews in the future, along with the possibility of some type of comparison article as well.  Stay tuned...

December 9, 2012 | 01:28 PM - Posted by Rocco (not verified)

"It's [sic] performance both at stock settings and while overclocked were nothing short of astounding"

Astounding? 4.36GHZ is downright anemic compared to the other mini-itx boards and the vdroop issues and memory OC failure don't scream quality. Considering the price, I would give this board a 6/10.

December 10, 2012 | 07:47 AM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

While 4.36GHz may not seem high comparatively speaking, but for the 3570K CPU we use in testing, it is on par with what we've seen with other boards.  Also just in terms of base clock overclocking, aq 104MHz base clock is nice, since most won't go above 103MHz if you're lucky.

The memory o/c was a bit odd to me also, but it wasn't something to distract from an otherwise stellar board - on the Intel side, o/c'd memory does not buy you a huge performance gain for most things (read real-world gaming).

The VDroop issue can be controlled via careful BIOS tweaking, so that in my mind is a non-issue...

December 26, 2012 | 09:05 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

What about the power consumption numbers without an add-on video card?

January 7, 2013 | 12:43 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Good point, something we'll consider adding in future m-atx and m-itx reviews...

January 7, 2013 | 04:10 PM - Posted by Luxferro (not verified)

Avoid EVGA at all cost. This board does not work correctly. The bios settings are all messed up, don't save, don't clear either optimized defaults or the clear CMOS button.

EVGA ignores all the problems related to this board on their forums. They don't even answer support tickets.

Save yourself a huge headache and just buy another brand. It's pretty clear they did no validation on this motherboard.

March 2, 2013 | 11:48 PM - Posted by Anonymal (not verified)

...no , it`s a pretty nice MB, some peoples or programers just made wrong stuff on BIOS or bad flash bios, that`s all... any brand have some trouble , i remember downloaded a Bios from ASUS for a ROG.mATX board...
Very bad thing...the worst is that they changed the bios update some days after...with the same name and denomination 1.xx ,i had 2 downloaded files with the same name , frome the same place at ASUS...but with diferent bios inside...thank you ASUS you crushed my very expensive ROG MB ^^

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