Test Setup

We've revamped a lot of our test gear and benchmarks for our Skylake CPU and motherboard testing to bring them a little more up to date. Games are still a question mark when it comes to Intel's mainstream setups - even X99 systems with two GPUs struggle to reveal much of a difference in performance so the difference in our single R9 390X-based system will be even smaller. We've chosen Alien: Isolation as it's one of the more CPU-limited games we've seen, along with Unigine Valley and 3DMark Fire Strike.

For the 2D tests, we've largely matched our X99 suite of tests, with PCMark's video and image editing tests, Terragen 3 and Cinebench R15 and finally idle and load power consumption. In terms of hardware, our major upgrades for our future LGA1151 and Z170 testing are an XFX Radeon R9 390 and 16GB (2 x 8GB) 2,666MHz Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 memory. There are plenty of quad channel kits around but seeing as Skylake only supports dual-channel memory configurations, it makes more sense to opt for a dual-channel kit. This particular kit retails for around £100 so is perfect for a new Skylake system.

Gigabyte Z170N-Gaming 5 Review Gigabyte Z170N-Gaming 5 Review - Test Setup
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We've also updated to Windows 10 - so long as we don't run into any issues we'll continue to use it. To test at stock speed we load the XMP preset to match the memory's rated speed and timings but leave all other settings at default.

Thanks to Corsair for supplying the PSU, memory and CPU cooler, to Crucial and Samsung for the SSDs, to Overclockers UK for the CPU and to XFX for the graphics cards.


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