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ASRock N3150M Review

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    Posted: 21 Jul 2015 at 1:05pm
ASRock N3150M (Braswell)

Today we will be taking an in depth look at ASRock's new Braswell based N3150M. The N3150 is one of Intel's new Braswell SoC lineup which packs 4 cores running at 1600mhz with a Turbo clock of 2080mhz, 2mb of level 2 cache, Gen 8 Intel HD Graphics with 12 execution units and DDR3 1600 RAM support all tucked neatly into a miniscule 6w TDP.



Braswell is the successor to Intel's Bay-Trail line and seems to be focused more on efficiency than actual performance improvements. The 14nm architecture ensures lower TDPs across the Braswell line. Another major difference is that Braswell sports Intel's Gen 8 HD Graphics which offers significant 3d performance improvements over Bay-Trail. With Braswell Intel are now actually competitive with AMD's fairly popular AM1 solutions in this segment. Sadly I do not have an AM1 system to test against at present.


Specifications and features


The ASRock N3150M is deceptively well featured for a small form factor budget platform. It sports most if not all the features one would expect from a standard desktop motherboard. Without further ado lets have a look at what we are getting with the N3150M.


CPU: Intel Celeron N3150 Quad Core with 2mb level 2 cache. Now don't let the Celeron branding fool you here, all that separates the N3150 from its Pentium N3700 counterpart is 400mhz on the turbo clock and 4 execution units on the integrated GPU. The major difference between the two here is price. I suspect that the N3150 will be the price/performance sweet spot of the Braswell line.


Memory: Dual channel DDR3/DDR3L memory technology. With support for up to 16gb of RAM running at DDR3 1600/1066. This is yet another improvement over the Bay-Trail line as it supports DDR3 1600 RAM over Bay-Trail's DDR3 1333 support.


Graphics: IntelĀ® 8th generation (Gen 8) graphics. The N3150 sports 12 execution units clocked at 320mhz with a 640mhz boost, 4 less EUs than the N3700 which is clocked at 400mhz with a 700mhz boost. Intel's 8th gen HD Graphics apparently offers significant improvements over previous generations, especially in 3d workloads.


Audio: 7.1 CH HD Audio (Realtek ALC887 Audio Codec). The ALC887 is a more budget oriented solution but should still prove more than adequate for an HTPC. It is nice to see even budget solutions featuring ELNA Caps from ASRock, this little extra really makes a difference to audio quality, even on cheaper sound chips.


LAN: PCIE x1 Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s provided by Realtek RTL8111GR. Pretty standard fare here. When I read this I finally figured out where the 4th PCIE lane provided by the Braswell CPU went. 3 PCIE slots + 1 PCIE LAN controller.


Slots: 2 PCIE 2.0 x1 slots and 1 PCIE 2.0 x16 slot in x1 mode. This really impressed me, a full length PCIE x16 slot adds a lot to this board. Finding PCIE x1 graphics cards is both difficult and costly, a full length slot allows you to install a standard PCIE x16 GPU which potentialy opens up some options for the N3150M as a budget ultra low budget gaming system.

Note: Braswell CPUs only offer 4 PCIE 2.0 lanes hence no true PCIE x16 slot support.


Connectors:

- 1 x Print Port Header

- 2 x COM Port Headers

- 1 x TPM Header

- 1 x Chassis Intrusion Header

- 1 x CPU Fan Connector (3-pin)

- 1 x Chassis Fan Connector (3-pin)

- 1 x 24 pin ATX Power Connector

- 1 x Front Panel Audio Connector

- 2 x USB 2.0 Headers (Support 4 USB 2.0 ports) (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))

- 1 x USB 3.0 Header (Supports 2 USB 3.0 ports) (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))


Rear Panel I/O:

- 1 x PS/2 Mouse Port

- 1 x PS/2 Keyboard Port

- 1 x D-Sub Port

- 1 x DVI-D Port

- 1 x HDMI Port

- 2 x USB 2.0 Ports (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))

- 2 x USB 3.0 Ports (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))

- 1 x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED)

- HD Audio Jacks: Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone


All things considered this is a pretty impressive feature set.



ASRock N3150 Walkthrough


The box itself is ASRock's standard packaging, the only point worth noting is its size.

The back of the box contains information about the motherboard, its embedded CPU and features.

The contents of the box are the standard fare, the motherboard itself, driver CD, user manual and a case badge. I was a little disappointed to see that there were no IO connections for the legacy LPT and serial ports included on the motherboard. It isn't a huge deal as most people today would never use them and they can be purchased for next to nothing. It still would have been nice to see included.

Now onto the motherboard itself. The N3150M packs quite a few features for a budget platform. Here you will note the standard DDR3 slots, 2 PCIE x1 slots as well as what appears to be a PCIE x16 slot. Looking over the documentation however you will discover it in fact operates at x1. This is a great feature as it will allow a full sized discrete GPU to be used with the N3150M. It is also worth noting that the motherboard does not require a 4/8 pin CPU power connector. My only issue here is the location of the SATA ports, I would have preferred them to be on the lower edge of the board for easier cable management.

On closer inspection you can see that the connections do not go all the way to the end of the slot. It does seem however that additional power is provided to the slot in order to support discrete graphics cards or RAID controllers. More on this later.

Moving on to the IO panel we are greeted with 2 PS2 ports for a keyboard and mouse (gotta love all the legacy functionality here), a Dsub, DVI and HDMI port for up to 3 displays, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports, a gigabit LAN port provided by a Realtek RTL8111GR PCIE x1 controller and lastly the audio connections provided by a Realtek ALC887 audio chip. All in all, a lot of features for a budget platform.


Product installation and setup


Installing the N3150M is a very quick and painless exercise. Its small size and simplicity make for a very simple setup. I had no problems at all during installation, once everything was nestled into my testbed all that was left to do was power up and install windows. Installing windows was likewise a simple matter with no additional drivers needed during the installation process.


I decided to break down the driver installation process in this review as I have seen numerous forum posts from people confused as to what drivers they need and how to install them. ASRock provides a very simple and intuitive application that makes this process simple and painless. All one need do is navigate to your motherboard product page, select the download page for your OS then download and install "ASRock App Shop"

Opening the program you will be greeted with a list of applications. Click the settings tab at the top of the window and select the server for your region. Failing to do this will result in painfully slow downloads.

Next simply click on the "BIOS and Drivers" tab and check the appropriate boxes. Feel free to check them all, except for BIOS updates, if you are unsure what you need as it will not harm your system. Be mindful of updating your BIOS, if you experience a power loss during the BIOS flashing process it could permanently damage your system so if you live in an area with unstable power you may want to avoid updating the BIOS unless absolutely needed.


With all that done the system was ready to thrash... ahem I mean test.



Test bed setup and specifications

As this is my first motherboard review I do not have numerous systems to test against. For the sake of filling the tables with something other than just the N3150M I decided to include a Pentium G3258 in the gaming benchmarks. In addition I felt it would be prudent to include results for the previous generation Bay-Trail D Intel Celeron J1900 Quad Core. These results were taken from benchmark result databases on the benchmark's official sites. I did not test the J1900 but have validated the results from multiple sources and systems and only chose scores from comparable systems running in dual channel memory mode. Results in grey are for comparison purposes only.


Braswell

I found it interesting that Intel chose to use an 80mhz base clock on the Braswell series of CPUs.


CPU: Embedded Intel Celeron N3150

Motherboard: ASRock N3150M

RAM: 8gb (4x2gb) Apacer Tunderbird DDR3 2800 @1600

GPU: Intel Gen 8 HD Graphics with 12 EUs clocked at 320mhz/640mhz boost

Discrete GPU: Gigabyte GTX 960 G1 Gaming 2gb

Storage: 128gb ADATA SP610 SSD


Haswell

CPU: Intel Pentium G3258 Anniversary Edition (stock)

Motherboard: ASRock Z97 Extreme3

RAM: 8gb (4x2gb) Apacer Tunderbird DDR3 2800 @1600

GPU: Intel HD Graphics with 10 EUs clocked at 340mhz/1100mhz boost

Discrete GPU: Gigabyte GTX 960 G1 Gaming 2gb

Storage: 128gb ADATA SP610 SSD



Baseline comparison to Intel Celeron J1900

CPU: Intel Celeron J1900 Quad core @2ghz/2.42ghz turbo (Bay-Trail D)

RAM: Dual channel 4/8gb

GPU: Intel Gen 7 HD Graphics

Motherboard: Various

Storage: Various SSD


Synthetics


For the synthetic phase of this review I have only used free benchmarks or the free versions of payed ones. The goal here is for the reader to be able to reproduce these scores or test their own system/s against them. Wherever possible I have included links to online results so anyone looking for more in depth info will have access to it.


Geekbench v3


Here we see the N3150 falling a little behind the higher clocked J1900 in single core performance but once we move on to multi-core tests it becomes too close to call. Given that there is very little difference in the actual CPU architecture between the J1900 and the N3150 these results are fairly impressive. Bare in mind the J1900 is a full 400mhz higher clocked than the N3150. 

RAM performance falls behind in Single-Core testing but leaves the J1900 behind in Multi-Core testing. These are not the numbers I expected to see from the N3150. The N3150 supports DDR3 1600 RAM yet the scores here are very close to one another even with the J1900 only supporting DDR3 1333. I tried 2 different 8gb RAM kits, the high performance Apacer Thunderbird DDR3 2800 kit as well as an Adata XPG 1600 9cl kit. The results in the graph came from the Adata kit as they ended up yielding the best results with the N3150M. The reason for this is that the Apacer RAM is rated for 1.65v and the N3150M supports only 1.5v RAM. Be careful what RAM you choose with these SoC desktop boards, in this case, less is more. A regular 1.5 DDR3 1600 9cl RAM kit here will serve you better than higher clocked enthusiast RAM.


N3150M score


Cinebench R15


Not much to see here, neither the G3258 nor the N3150 offer up decent numbers in Cinebench which is to be expected as neither CPU is designed for this kind of workload. I was surprised to see how small the margin between the CPUs was however. The G3258 is clocked a full 1.12ghz faster than the N3150 and has 3mb of level 3 cache which the N3150 also lacks. While the N3150 isn't going to win any awards for raw power it does perform very well for its segment.


PCMark 8

PCMark 8 score

I was surprised to see the N3150 actually score higher than the J1900 in the overall score here given the J1900's higher clock speeds. Again the G3258 illustrates what a desktop part can do with nearly 9 times the TDP. When you look at it like that the performance gap is not so daunting. 


3dMark Firestrike

Integrated GPU Score

Here things start to get interesting with the N3150 delivering 72% of the G3258 score. This is exactly what Intel was trying achieve with the Braswell line, to improve the terrible integrated GPU performance of the Bay-Trail line. The Braswell Gen 8 graphics is clocked at just 640mhz (boost) while the G3258 boosts to 1100mhz. In the pure graphics score the N3150 manages a whopping 68% of the 58% higher clocked G3258's score. It is clear Intel has made some major strides in the iGPU department. The physics score of the N3150 is 67% of the G3258 here for the first time showing greater than 30% per core performance over the G3258.


Dedicated GPU

Now ordinarily it would not be possible to test a dedicated GPU in an SoC system like the N3150 without the use of PCIE risers or modifying the PCIE slot/GPU but the N3150 comes with a full length slot so the geek in me would not allow me to skip testing out my GTX 960 with this little system. As I expected both the PCIE x1 performance slot and the low clocked N3150 CPU bottleneck the GTX 960, however, not enough to make it a waste of time. While I would not recommend the GTX 960 in conjunction with this system, a GTX 750 or R7 250/260 should provide some very nice numbers with this board. One thing I need to mention is that the motherboard did not provide enough power to keep my factory overclocked GTX 960 stable. I was forced to install MSI Afterburner and lower the "power limit" to 70% in order to complete the firestrike benchmark without crashing. However once that was done the GTX 960 performed flawlessly in the system. I also kept the power limit set to 70% for all game testing.



SATA Performance:


AS SSD Benchmark

The results here are within the margin of variance for the benchmark. Repeatedly testing it is likely that at some point the results will be close to identical. This means that SATA 3 performance on the N3150 is more or less identical to typical desktop systems.



Boot time from post to desktop:


Both systems were tested with a fresh installation of Windows 8.1. The N3150 is only marginally slower.


Gaming Benchmarks


I chose to use Tomb Raider (2013 reboot) and Middle Earth: Shadows of Mordor for benchmarking as they both contain benchmark options and are both still included on most GPU reviews.


For the purposes of this review a game is deemed "playable" at 30+ fps and "ideal" at 60+ fps.


Tomb Raider:

Integrated Graphics benchmarked on Low preset with no AA/AF at 720p.

Dedicated GPU benchmarked on Ultimate preset default AA/AF at 1080p.


The N3150 actually manages near playable FPS in the iGPU benchmark. Once benchmarking was complete I was actually able to play the game with mostly 30+ fps in most areas, only during heavy action scenes and in scenes with a lot of effects going on did the fps drop into the 20s. While I wouldn't want to play an online FPS with these fps they are adequate for light gaming in this title. The G3258 offered better performance and was completely playable never dropping under 30fps. That said, in a real world gaming scenario the G3258's lead has shrunk considerably. 


The addition of a discrete GPU makes all the difference on both systems. Both systems yielded playable fps on the ultimate preset at 1080p. The difference in performance this time was negligible with barely a few fps separating the N3150 and the G3258. I was very surprised at these results, I honestly expected the PCIE x1 mode slot to seriously bottleneck the GTX 960 but as you see here the difference was within standard variance between benchmarks for the game. Repeated testing may well result in an even score after a few runs.


The results with a discrete GPU in Tomb Raider are very interesting and open up some possibilities for the N3150M as an ultra low budget gaming solution when coupled with a suitable low to mid range GPU. Even the iGPU managed near playable FPS in this graphically stunning game.



Middle Earth: Shadows of Mordor:


Integrated Graphics benchmarked on Lowest preset with no AA/AF at 720p.

Dedicated GPU benchmarked on High preset default AA/AF at 1080p.


Shadows of Mordor brought both the N3150 and the G3258 to their knees, even on the lowest preset neither iGPU was able to offer anything even close to playable FPS.


Adding the GTX 960 into the mix however drastically changes the picture, even on High both systems were able to offer up playable averages with the G3258 offering an ideal gaming experience averaging ~75fps.


Yet again, the N3150 proves it is not to be discounted as a budget gaming platform.




General gaming:


With benchmarking done I decided to see how the N3150 fared in World of Warcraft. Having once played the game tirelessly myself I remember the frustration of some of my guild mates in Raids being unable to keep up with tactics due to sub standard PCs. I was curious to see if the N3150M could prove a viable, affordable upgrade for them.


The game is completely playable at 1080p with low settings and textures set to "high" On average I was getting about 40fps with dips into the mid 20s in places like Orgrimmar and other major hubs, any avid WoW player will tell you that low FPS in hubs is a commonplace thing, especially on lower spec hardware. Where it counts the game is completely playable and in unpopulated areas I frequently noted fps in excess of 60fps. Lowering the resolution to 720p will allow for higher settings and a solid minimum of 30fps.


My brief playtest of both Shadows of Mordor and Tomb Raider were both pleasant using the GTX 960. I noted very little difference between the two systems unless I looked and th FPS counter. For games that require a Quad Core CPU the N3150 would actually be a better option than a desktop dual core part, as ridiculous as that sounds games like Dragon Age: Inquisition are barely playable if at all on a dual core system without a third party hack. One has to bare in mind that current gen consoles use 8 core AMD Jaguar CPUs with low clocks. More and more games are being optimized to use slower extra cores rather than single or dual faster cores. If this trend continues we may see many more games that will simply fail to run on Dual Core setups. While I can't see the N3150M delivering blistering FPS in AAA titles it should be adequate for meduim settings at 1080p when paired with a decent low-mid level GPU like the GTX 750 or R7 250/260. While I would personally not buy one of these for gaming when you consider one can purchase the ASRock N3150M for about the same price as the G3258 CPU on its own it does make some pretty sound sense for a small/TV gaming PC especially at 720p.


The major problem here is the lack of an upgrade path given that the CPU is soldered onto the board one would need to upgrade both CPU and motherboard and quite possibly RAM when DDR4 becomes the standard.


Video Playback and HTPC functionality


I have been using the N3150M as an HTPC for over a week after testing and I have played videos using all the standard video formats flawlessly with no dropped frames or hiccups all the way up to 1080p 60. Video playback is smooth and responsive and tracking for the most part is near instantaneous with the exception of some of the more uncompressed streams which even the GTX 960 takes a few seconds to track when the time slider is moved. All in all the N3150M makes for a perfect HTPC, easily able to handle all of the popular codecs at resolutions up to 1080p and likely even 4k. 

My attempted 4k testing proved problematic as I do not have a 4k monitor/TV to test with and so the video samples had to be downsampled in real time adding tremendous overhead to the playback process. CPU usage while playing 1080p 60 hovers at around 50% - 70% depending on the codec used where downsampled 4k locks all 4 cores at 100% throughout playback. In order to determine if downsampling causes a greater CPU overhead I set the monitor resolution to 720p and played back a 1080p 60 stream and compared CPU usage numbers and found that the downsampled 1080p stream used 80% - 100% of the 4 cores where the same streams at native 1080p used around 60% on average. Downsampled 1080p content still played flawlessly at 720p with no dropped frames and CPU usage only occasionally touched on 100% in my testing. In conclusion, I was unable to properly test 4k playback as without a native 4k monitor I had no way to get an accurate gauge of the resources required by a 4k stream. I suspect that 4k video should be playable on the N3150M without issue but lacking the necessary peripherals I am unable to confirm for certain at this time. During my downsampled 4k testing I did see periods of smooth playback but as soon as there were scene changes or any excessive movement the player began dropping frames.



Temperatures and Power Consumption


In most reviews this would be the most boring part, generally most people only care about performance but given the low TDP of the N3150 this is actually one of the more interesting segments of this review.


Load Temperatures:


Temperatures were taken using CPUID HWMonitor with Intel Burn in Test for loading as well as Furmark to stress the iGPU to fully max out the TDP of the CPU. I have not included the G3258 in the temperature chart as it is using 3rd party active cooling and as such is a pointless comparison.



During testing the room was kept at a constant 26c. The passive cooler does a decent job keeping temps under the 90c thermal limit of the N3150. During the entire testing phase the turbo clock remained active, not once did I see any evidence of thermal throttling. Idle temps were in the region of 4 - 5c over ambient.


During load/temperature testing all fans in my testbench were removed from the testbed and a box was placed over the motherboard to simulate an inclosed case scenario. Temperatures recorded in the chart above should be a close approximation to actual end user figures.


Power Consumption:


Here is where things get interesting, the N3150 has a TDP of just 6w.


With the CPU fully loaded the N3150 uses half the power of the G3258. Adding the iGPU into the mix ramps up the power draw somewhat but even here the N3150 is drawing under 40w from the wall. There are very few applications that will reproduce these figures in a real world scenario. Even when running benchmarks and gaming the N3150 averaged only about 28 - 30w from the wall. Bare in mind my test bench uses a 1000w 80+ Gold rated PSU, power draw will vary depending on both the capacity and the efficiency rating of the PSU used. I would have liked to test the N3150M with a 150w 80+ power supply in order to get more accurate power consumption readings. Nevertheless these serve well enough for comparison against the G3258.



Product target uses


Point of Sale systems:

The first application for the ASRock N3150M that sprang to my mind was Point of Sale systems. With all the legacy support for serial and LPT ports this motherboard would make an ideal drop in upgrade for many PoS systems in use today. The N3150 provides the latest features alongside legacy support.


Mass Deployment:

The N3150M is perfect for mass deployed office machines, low power, sufficient features for office work and ample performance all make the ASRock N3150M a very attractive purchase in offices with 10 or more PCs. At full load the N3150M uses less power than most standard desktops at idle. Even in areas where power is cheap this will take a significant chunk out of monthly electric costs. In addition to the above one could also claim a greener footprint.


HTPC:

With the ability to play back 1080p video flawlessly, passive cooling and low power consumption the N3150M would make an ideal, cost effective home theater system. I don't really have to say much more about this area of use as it pretty much speaks for itself. The ability to play older (pre 2012) games and even run emulators of older consoles would make the N3150M right at home on your TV stand. Unfortunately, lacking a 4k monitor I was unable to test 4k playback so I am unable to comment on the N3150M's 4k capabilities. Playing back 4k on a 1080p monitor creates overhead as the image must be scaled to 1080p in real time so the result of my attempts was a stutterfest with brief hints of smooth playback.


Ultra Budget gaming:

Now while I would not recommend the N3150M to a hardcore gamer one cannot deny it has a certain appeal. Spending under $200 for a new gaming system is nothing to sneeze at especially when you consider the bulk of that cost will go into the power supply, case and an SSD. Adding a discrete GPU actually turns the N3150M into a competent gamer capable of running modern AAA titles albeit at lower settings. Just bare in mind the issue I mentioned earlier about the motherboard being unable to supply enough power through its PCIE x16 @x1 slot for some GPUs. This can be circumvented by using an app like MSI Afterburner to lower the the power limit but you will be better served with a less power hungry GPU as anything that will meet with this problem will likely bottleneck badly on the N3150M anyway. A quick look at some online retailers I found it possible to build a gaming system around the N3150M for about $250 including 4gb of RAM, case, power supply, 64gb SSD and an R7 240/250 depending on deals, throw in $10 - $20 for some peripherals and an HDMI cable and you have a gaming PC ready to hook up to your TV. It is very hard to beat this system at that price point, not only that but is is a Quad Core setup so there won't be any unplayable titles as is becoming the trend with budget dual cores.


Home NAS:

The cost of the N3150M will allow you to purchase a fairly decent RAID controller as well as the motherboard for significantly less than a typical CPU/Motherboard combo. Given that there is a full length PCIE slot on the board your options are not as limited as the ITX versions of the Braswell range would be. The only downside is that you will be limited to a single PCIE lane, it should still prove sufficient for home/small office use however.


Emubox:

The N3150 packs enough graphics power and CPU grunt to easily handle most console/dos emulators pre Playstation 2 and Xbox. It could even be fitted into an old console casing with some modding.


Now I am sure there are many other potential uses for this system but these are the ones that ranked highest on my list.


Conclusion and Verdict


Overall my experience with the ASRock N3150 has been a pleasant one. It has a few flaws here and there and is certainly not the quickest system I have used but the geek in me can't help but smile at the prospect of playing a game with less than 30w of power draw from a desktop system. ASRock have a solid product here. Most of my complaints are for Intel rather than ASRock who cannot make the CPU do things it was not designed to. Nevertheless the TDP of these Braswell CPUs is impressive and at the very least Intel addressed the abysmal graphics performance of the Bay-Trail lineup. ASRock's implementation provides ample features, standard DDR3 slots for cheaper and more varied RAM options as well as the PCIE x16 slot in x1 mode. I have to admit that was probably the most fun part of this review for me, stuffing a mid range GPU into a $70 motherboard.


Verdict:


I rate the build quality as an 8 because no product is perfect, I would have preferred to see the SATA ports mounted on the lower left hand edge of the motherboard and also would have liked to have seen a little more power supplied to the PCIE x16 slot, either via a molex connector as some of ASRock's other motherboards have or via a 4/8 pin power connector.


Performance, well I think the numbers speak for themselves. This is not a system for those wanting top notch performance. The system is snappy and responsive enough for office work, video streaming and even gaming on a budget, especially with the addition of a discrete GPU. A 5 represents a useable system that does not leave you stressing while you wait for pages to load, I would rate the G3258 system tested against the N3150M as about a 7 for comparison. So roughly in the middle between unusable and enthusiast. Not bad going for an SoC.


As for value I think you will be hard pressed to find a motherboard/CPU combo that offers anywhere near the features and performance of the ASRock N3150M at this price point while other manufacturers have/will soon have Braswell variants of their own, I can only speak for the board I have tested. It is one of very few instances where I feel the end user actually gets more than they paid for. I have no problem giving the N3150M a 9 for value.


Build Quality: 8

Performance: 5 

Value: 9

Overall: 9/10 in its class


If you have any questions or comments please feel free to post them below.

Thanks for reading

Xaltar



Edited by Xaltar - 23 Jul 2015 at 1:57pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jul 2015 at 10:07am
Nice review, you put a lot of time and effort into every aspect. Quite impressive!

The comparison to the G3258 processor and board may seem out of place to some people, but I find it quite useful. The G3258 is a good reference point for comparison with the N3150, and how it compares to the best mainstream Intel processors.

My only comment would be that while the G3258 is fine for most everyday tasks and surprised me with its performance in some aspects, it is far behind i5 and i7 Haswell processors in other areas of performance.

I'm surprised that Adata SSD scored as well as it did in AS SSD.

Finally someone using this sub-forum for its actual use! Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Xaltar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jul 2015 at 12:49pm
Thanks Parsec, I tried to cover as many of the boards features as I could without going overboard.

The Adata SSD surprised me too, I ran the benchmark about 10 times to be sure it wasn't some kind of bug but all tests returned similar results. The main reason for the high score is the 4K-64 thrd read score. 



It seems the Adata SP610 series are strong in this area. Overall though my PNY Optima 240gb feels snappier even though it only scores around 600 in the benchmark.

It was nice to see that the N3150M's SATA performance was as good as fully fledged desktop boards, with everything including chipset built in to the CPU I was not expecting that to be the case.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jul 2015 at 7:02pm
You're right about wondering if it was some kind of glitch with that SSD and AS SSD. The result reminds me of what I've seen AS SSD do with some laptops PCs and SSDs. Same kind of thing where the high queue depth performance (4k-64 Thrd) results are crazy high.

The single/random 4K score is the clue that something is odd. I tend to wonder about this benchmark sometimes. So you get a similar result on any mother board?

I just happen to have one of these boards too, time to try it out!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Xaltar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jul 2015 at 8:32pm
Yeah I got similar results on my Z97 Extreme3 too. I ran the test dozens of times on both boards and eventually decided it must be some sort of Adata performance tweak on this model. Let me know if you get different results Smile

Either way though, the results were consistent on both boards and so were adequate for the review's purposes Wink

Here is Cristaldisk though the drive is now almost full with all my benchmarks and games installed for the review.



Still very solid numbers for such a cheap drive, this is benchmarked on the N3150M, the numbers are within margin of error for the benchmark on the Z97 Extreme3 when I test it there too.


Edited by Xaltar - 27 Jul 2015 at 1:54pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jul 2015 at 3:29pm
Yes, a very good budget SSD, here's a review of the 256 and 512GB models if you haven't seen it:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/8180/adata-sp610-ssd-256gb-512gb-review

After seeing the CrystalDiskMark results, I don't see the high queue depth 4K read speed that I was questioning in the AS SSD result.

See the second row of the Crystal results, "4K Q32". That means 32 4K file read requests, the maximum number in a single AHCI IO command queue. Or that means the Queue Depth is 32 (QD=32).

Crystal does the same thing with its "Seq Q32", which is 32 large file IO requests. Below the two Q32 (QD=32) tests, we see the single 4K and Seq (large file) speed results. Those are the same type of test as the AS SSD Seq and 4K tests.

AS SSD calls each command in the IO command queue a "Thrd(s)", abbreviated for Threads (or perhaps German for queue?) and runs two, 32 4K IO command queues, which becomes the "4K-64 Thrds".

Anyway, I was questioning the 644MB/s read result in AS SSD for the 4K-64Thrd test in my earlier post. Looking at the Crystal 4K Q32 test, which is just one half the amount of IO commands of the AS SSD test, the results are quite different. 644MB/s in AS SSD, and 93MB/s in Crystal. That is even with the better single 4K score in Crystal, 23.6 vs 18.98MB/s in AS SSD. Taking half of the AS SSD score, or a 32 command comparison, is still 322MB/s vs 93MB/s. Very weird.

I've got my N3150M board system up and running. Or I should say just into the UEFI/BIOS. If you want a board that completes POST fast, this is the one for you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Xaltar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jul 2015 at 4:00pm
It must be a bug with AS SSD benchmark, I have repeated the test over and over with the same (more or less) results on 2 different systems. In future I think I will just use CrystalDiskMark for SATA testing Wink

I am not overly familiar with what is "normal" for SSD performance so I totally missed that at the time I posted the review. I thought it was odd that the Adata was putting up those kinds of numbers but was not aware of just how much it was off. Thanks for clarifying for me Parsec Big smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rebutia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Aug 2015 at 10:33am
Nice reviewSmile
I bought the same motherboard a week ago.

Am I the only one who found out non-UEFI booting problem in this motherboard?
This motherboard just won't boot with anything that is not UEFI based. I tried CD, DVD, USB stick, USB harddisk and nothing works. After passing the UEFI startup screen, there will be a blinking cursor on a blank screen.

I also turned on/off on all switches in UEFI menu, CSM, USB legacy mode, legacy rom, virtually all combination have been tested.

Yes, UEFI boot is the future and it has many advance features. However, if it is not designed to compatible to old BIOS bootable device, at least Asrock should state clearly on the box, right?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Xaltar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Aug 2015 at 2:02pm
That is pretty odd, I used a USB flash drive to install windows via UEFI so I never encountered that problem. Did you check to see if you have the latest bios version? When I got my review sample it was on a pre-release version, updating it significantly improved performance (particularly RAM). 

The installation and setup of the board was actually one of the quickest and most painless I have ever seen. I had absolutely no problems setting up windows or drivers. 

Try the latest BIOS (if it isn't already using it).

The only problem I have had with this board is specific to World of Warcraft where I occasionally get TDRs (graphics driver has encountered and error and has recovered) but that seems to be a problem with the game not the system as it happens across 3 different platforms, Nvidia, Intel iGP, AMD Radeon so who knows.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rebutia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Aug 2015 at 3:56pm
Hi Xaltar, thanks for your reply. And yes if I'm going through UEFI bootable Win7 USB then it works. In fact I tried both 1.00 and 1.10 bios, the problem exists on both. Hope Asrock will fix this glitch in next bios update.


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