Did ASUS X99 Motherboard Testing Miss The Mark?

Posted by Lisa Patel /

ASUS, a well-known electronics manufacturer, has launched a new motherboard, the X99-A/USB 3.1, primarily targeted towards the online gaming industry wherein players participate over the internet. As online video games rely on highly responsive UDP packets, ASUS has set out to verify, assure and prove that its product would perform extremely well in this dimension.

ASUS’s Claim

On its web page, ASUS explains that its engineers used “[Brand X] an independent network-assessment test tool, to determine just how fast Intel Gigabit Ethernet deals with the smaller (sub-256 byte) UDP data packets vital for responsive gaming. The outcomes unquestionably demonstrate that your X99 game-data packets flow up to two times (2X) faster than competing gaming-LAN technologies.”

Reality or Not?

The part that has been overlooked is that the product ASUS utilized is a load tester. Load testers assist you in learning how the network performs for a specific traffic load in a controlled environment. Specifically in this case the traffic load was small (sub-256 byte) UDP data packets. Furthermore it appears that ASUS determined that under perfect conditions, its X99 product is 2X faster than other products tested under the same perfect conditions.

This may however not always materialize in the real world. In reality, networks are not impeccable. Real-world networks have numerous glitches, from low bandwidth links to tunnels with inadequate MTUs. These impairments cause packets to get delayed, duplicated, reordered, jittered, and so on.

To learn more about network impairments and how they affect network applications, read our white paper: “Causes and Correlation of Network Impairments”

To Be, or Not To Be?

ASUS really should be testing how well the X99 will handle those small UDP data packets in the face of all the network glitches. ASUS can emulate impaired network conditions in the lab with a network emulator. By this, ASUS can determine how well the X99 will work for gamers under all network conditions, from the routine to the extreme. Here after, ASUS will have appropriately characterized the X99 product.

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