EVGA Z77 Stinger mini-ITX Motherboard Review
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.