AMD 785G Chipset Motherboard Previewajmatson - August 5, 2009
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Today we are going to be taking a preview at a new motherboard chipset from AMD dubbed the 785G chipset. You may notice that the 785G chipset is much like the 780G chipset, which was very popular among those using integrated graphics or hybrid graphics for light gaming and workstations. Like the 780G chipset, the newer 785G chipset still has an integrated GPU. However, it is much more advanced than the last generation and not to be taken lightly. The 785G chipset is comprised of the ATI Radeon HD 4200 graphics core and is manufactured using a 55nm process. There are still the same 40 stream processors, but the 785G supports Unified Video Decoder 2 (UVD2). UVD2 adds support for accelerated multiple streams, which allows for technology such as picture-in-picture and video detail enhancements. The 785G also has accelerated video transcoding, as well as HDMI 1.3 support. With the new integrated GPU, the HD 4200, like its discrete kin, supports DirectX 10.1 for better gaming and visual performance. One other benefit that the 785G chipset has is the continued support of Hybrid CrossFire. Like the 780G, the 785G chipset will allow a Hybrid CrossFire setup with certain discrete cards to boost performance when it is needed. A big difference between the 780G and the new 785G chipset is multiple memory type support. Like the new AM3 processors, the 785G chipset can be run with DDR2 or DDR3 memory, depending on what the manufacturer chose to develop the motherboard with. The three boards we are going to be previewing today vary depending on the setup to give the users the technology they need. First up is the Gigabyte MA785G-UD3H, which is a full-size board, followed by the Gigabyte MA785GMT-UD2H, and finishing with the MSI 785GM-E65.
Just a note, this is a preview of some of the 785G boards that are on the review schedule. Look for the testing results and more in depth looks at the boards in the next few weeks.
The Gigabyte MA785G-UD3H is a 785G board that uses the older DDR2 memory standard, although it does run up to DDR2-1333MHz overclocked. This board supports not only AM3, but AM2+ and AM2 as well, which included the Phenom, Phenom II, Athlon, Athlon II, and Sempron processors. On this particular board, the 785G is paired with the SB710 Southbridge. The MA785G-UD3H still uses HyperTransport 3.0 and uses Gigabyte's patented Ultra Durable 3 technology for lower temps and better efficiency. The MA785G-UD3H has a blue-colored PC Board and has the orange and yellow scheme that Gigabyte used for its DDR2-based boards in the past. The MA785G-UD3H is designed in an ATX form factor and measures 30.5cm by 22.9cm.
The MA785G-UD3H offers a lot to the inner geek. For the I/O panel, there is a PS/2 port that supports a keyboard or a mouse, a VGA port, a DVI port, an HDMI 1.3 port, an optical SPDIF port, six USB 2.0 ports, a Firewire port, one LAN port, and the audio jacks. For the expansion side of the MA785G-UD3H, there are two PCI Express x16 slots, which support CrossFire for a multi-GPU configuration. One thing of note is that the orange PCI Express slot runs at only x4 speeds and when it is populated, the middle PCI Express x1 slots are unusable because they share the lanes with the orange x16 slot. In addition to the graphics card slots, there are three PCI Express X1 slots and two legacy PCI slots for older hardware support.
The MA785G-UD3H supports both AM2+ and AM3 processors so you have more flexibility with the upgrade path that you choose. There is a 4+1 power phase design to ensure stable power and there is an enbedded controller on the board that supports Advanced Clock Calibration for the AMD Overdrive utility. As I mentioned earlier, the MA785G-UD3H uses DDR2 memory up to 1333Mhz when overclocked. The area around the CPU and memory are pretty much clear, which will allow for large heatsinks and water cooling blocks to be used with little to no blockage.
Just as with the I/O panel, the headers provide a lot of connection options, should you need them. Starting from the left, there is a COM header, a floppy drive port, two Firewire headers, a LPT port header, the front panel headers, six SATA 3.0Gb/s ports that support RAID 0,1, 10, and JBOD, and one IDE port for support of two devices. Above the orange PCI Express X16 slot there are also three USB 2.0 headers. One nice feature of the MA785G-UD3H is the Dual-BIOS design, which has an exact backup of the BIOS should something happen to it.
To cool the MA785G-UD3H, there is a heatsink over the 785G Northbridge with a fin design to help dissipate heat and another one over the Southbridge. Combined with the Ultra Durable 3 design, which has 2oz of copper in the PC board and stronger components, such as the solid Japanese capacitors and lower RDS(on) MOSFETs, Gigabyte designed this board to last up to the torture of the enthusiast and more.