Sapphire Pure PC-AM2RX780 Reviewajmatson - October 5, 2008
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Like I mentioned earlier, the Sapphire PC-AM2RX780 motherboard uses the AMD 770 chipset, which supports AMD processors and pairs it with cutting edge technology such as power saving features and CrossFireX options for a multi-GPU system. Sapphire has chosen to go with a dark brownish PC Board with a subtle color scheme which is pleasing on the eyes. The board is an ATX form factor design that offers enough room to work without having components jammed up on each other. On the backside is the socket support plate, which balances the load of the heatsink on the PC Board.
The back panel of a motherboard is important because no matter how many ports it has if the ones you need are not there then what is the point. The Sapphire 770 board gives a good start but I feel it is lacking on the I/O panel with the type and number of ports included. Starting from the top there are the PS/2 connectors, an S/PDIF Coaxial In and Out port, a Serial port, four USB 2.0 ports, a RJ45 LAN port, and the 8-Channel audio ports. Looking at the panel there seems to be so much wasted space. It would have been nice to have a few more USB 2.0 ports and maybe an eSATA or Firewire port there.
Sliding on down to the expansion slots you get a shot of where some of the magic happens. Since this board is CrossFireX capable there are of course two x16 PCI Express slots, however when in CrossFire mode the slots are only x8 electrical but remember this is at PCI Express 2.0 bandwidth so the decrease with not be very noticeable. There are also two PCI Express x1 slots and two legacy PCI slots for expansion of audio and other cards. One note is that for a single-GPU setup the card must be placed in the red PCI Express x16 slot and the switch card placed in the blue slot to enable the full 16 lanes for the video.
Moving on down to the bottom of the board, this is where the headers for expansion ports can be used as they are needed. Starting from the left side there are the audio header, a parallel header, three USB 2.0 headers, and the front panel header. Continuing up the right spine of the board are one floppy port, four SATA II 3.0Gbps ports, and one IDE port supporting up to two of the legacy devices. The PC-AM2RX780 board uses a 24-pin main ATX power connector and an 8-pin auxiliary power connector to provide the necessary power to run the board and overclock to your heart's content.
The CPU area is clear and open so you should have no trouble installing any heatsinks or water cooling blocks of your choice. This motherboard support AMD socket AM2 and AM2+ processors up to and including the Quad Core Phenom x4 CPUs. The capacitors around the CPU area are all solid for better stability and the board uses a five phase design for clean power while overclocking and pushing your hardware. The Sapphire 770 board also has four DIMM slots available, which allows use of up to 16GB of memory running up to 1066MHz. Each color represents a channel for dual channel setups with the yellow slots being the first channel to be used for optimal results.
The heatsinks on the Sapphire 770 board are small but they get the job done. Sapphire has opted to go with aluminum fin style heatsinks and has placed them on the Northbridge, Southbridge, and on the voltage regulators to aid in keeping the temperatures down and allow for higher stable overclocks.
Now that we have looked better at the board, let's boot up and see what the BIOS has in store for us.