151a Mid Range X79 Boards VRM Tested, Equally Stable, Equally Flawed

On Wednesday, Taiwanese tech community site XFastest ran a public event where it tested five similarly-priced mid-range socket LGA2011 motherboards for CPU VRM performance and stability. This comes at a particularly-important time for Gigabyte, when it's faced with CPU VRM problems that it's dealing with.  The results are in.

On Wednesday, Taiwanese tech community site XFastest ran a public event where it tested five similarly-priced mid-range socket LGA2011 motherboards for CPU VRM performance and stability. This comes at a particularly-important time for Gigabyte, when it's faced with CPU VRM problems that it's dealing with.  The results are in.

151a Mid Range X79 Boards VRM Tested, Equally Stable, Equally Flawed

In the event, XFastest compared the ECS X79R-AX, MSI X79A-GD45, ASRock X79 Extreme4, ASUS P9X79, and Gigabyte X79-UD3. Earlier this week, Gigabyte issued a press-release in which it acknowledged that some of its X79-UD3 motherboards may have got damaged by users as a result of bad firmware. It offered free replacements to affected users, and strongly recommended others to update the BIOS of their X79-UD3, X79-UD5, and G1.Assassin 2 motherboards to the latest one available on the company's support website. It is with this on the backdrops, that XFastest ran this public test. It recieved quite some attention from the local media, some company representatives were also present to witness the event.

151h Mid Range X79 Boards VRM Tested, Equally Stable, Equally Flawed

XFastest set a common test bench with common components, which included Intel Core i7-3930K processor, Kingston HyperX memory, Antec PSU and high-performance CPU cooler. The test itself involved subjecting the motherboards' VRM to extreme stress, and measuring stability, performance, and VRM temperatures. This was done by setting CPU core voltage to 1.4V, maxing out the motherboards' load-line calibration (aggressive V-droop correction), and running multi-threaded Prime95 stress test.

151i Mid Range X79 Boards VRM Tested, Equally Stable, Equally Flawed

The parameters on which the motherboards were evaluated on were:

  • CPU VRM temperature, measured using a thermal probe attached to the VRM heatsink
  • CPU Speed
  • CPU voltage, effectiveness of the load-line calibration
  • CPU temperature, measured using software