Abit AN78GS ReviewThe Smith - November 10, 2008
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To test the Abit AN78GS, I will be running a series of CPU-oriented and video-oriented benchmarks to find out what kind of performance this motherboard can deliver. Obviously, to get comparable results, each test, including the AN78GS and the comparison motherboards, will be run using the same hardware, with a fresh install of Windows Vista Ultimate. I will then look at what CPU and RAM overclock can be achieved using this Abit motherboard, and I will run once again the benchmarks at the overclocked settings.
- Processor: AMD Phenom 9850 "Black Box" (200x12.5)
- Motherboard: Abit AN78GS
- Memory: Mushkin Redline XP2 8000 2 x 2 GB 5-5-5-12
- Video Card: ASUS Radeon HD 4850 w/ Catalyst 8.8
- Power Supply: Mushkin 800watt Modular Power supply
- Hard Drive: Seagate 7200.11 750GB SATA w/32MB Cache
- Optical Drive: Pioneer DVR-212D BK
- OS: Windows Vista Ultimate Edition SP1
- Comparison Motherboard 1: Sapphire PC-AM2RX780
- Comparison Motherboard 2: Foxconn A7DA-S
- Comparison Motherboard 3: MSI DKA790GX Platinum
- Comparison Motherboard 4: ASUS M3N78 Pro
- Processor: AMD Phenom 9850 "Black Box" @ 203x14 = 2844MHz
- Memory: Mushkin Redline XP2 8000 2 x 2 GB 5-5-5-15 @ 1084MHz
The Abit AN78GS overclocking was not that easy. The overclocking itself was, but the board gave me some troubles. Often, when I changed settings in the BIOS and hit F10 to save and exit, the board simply wouldn't restart. The screen was left blank and my keyboard/mouse did not light. Then, I needed to do a hard restart, and it would POST fine with the overclocked settings I put. If I changed one or two settings at a time, I didn't get this problem. Furthermore, the clocks are not that accurate. For example, if I set the external clock to 225MHz, I ended up getting 223.3MHz. This 1.7MHz is a huge difference on the processor's clock because of the multiplier.
So to achieve the settings on the picture below, I first began to raise the external clock, as the motherboard is really what we want to push to its limits. At 230MHz, I could boot into Windows, but I was getting errors when running OCCT. No blue screen of death, luckily. Finally, I was able to achieve a stable external clock of 223.3MHz (225 in BIOS). The key point was to overvolt the integrated memory controller by 50mV; however, I did not dare to go higher. I also needed to reduce the HyperTransport to 2010MHz instead of the 2233MHz generated by the external clock. I also raised the CPU voltage to 1.4V, but going higher did not seem to help at all. Once I got this, I tried to overclock the RAM, though it really didn't want to. When I set it to the 1066MHz multiplier I was able to bring it to 1190MHz, but I got the same problem, not being able to restart. But this time, a CMOS reset was a must to get it to POST. In fact, I never got this memory stable over 1140MHz, so I was not surprised at all. Finally, as a last step, I verified whether I couldn't raise the processor clock any further by setting a higher multiplier, but I couldn't. In conclusion, 223MHz of external clock is the best I was able to do on the Abit AN78GS.
But this is not the highest stable overclock I got on the processor and memory. By increasing the CPU multiplier first, and then the external clock, I could get 2844MHz out of the CPU and 1084MHz out of the RAM, by using an external clock of 203MHz. The CPU needed a higher voltage than the previous settings, as it was clocked higher. Once again, maybe it could have reached a higher frequency if another boost in voltage was applied, however at 1.48V, this quad-core ran quite hot on air. So for all of the overclocked tests, I will use these settings.
- Scientific & Data:
- SPECviewperf 10
- PCMark Vantage Professional
- SiSoft Sandra XII
- ScienceMark 2.02 Final
- CineBench 10
- HD Tune 2.55
- Knights of the Sea
- Call of Duty 4
- World in Conflict
- Call of Juarez
- Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts
- 3DMark 06 Professional