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Asus P2-M3A3200 HTPC Review

Zertz    -   November 6, 2008
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Testing:

Extras:

Obviously, when it comes to gaming, the 780G chipset, although it does perform much better than previous integrated graphics chipsets, is quite a failure. However, that's not the market AMD was targeting when they were designing this chip. What they we're really aiming for is the low-end segment as well as HTPC's like this one from Asus. With movies and series being released in high resolutions such as 720p or even 1080p, it's important to have capable hardware to have stutter-less and smooth video playback, which is exactly what this chipset does. As you may know, it can do hardware video decoding, so it takes the load off the processor, which really struggle when it's time to play high definition content.

In order to test this, I haven chosen a random 1080p movie and since they all have to show the same amount of pixels, they all put the same load on the computer. I went with the extended edition of the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and opened Windows' task manager to monitor processor usage. Finally, VLC media player was used since it is my software of choice for video playback. This one can play nearly every format without a hitch, it's light weight, it's free and it's open. What else is there to ask for? I picked up random scenes within the movie in order to showcase processor usage.

 

 

 

 

The Asus board was able to keep the flimsy 2.2GHz Athlon X2 under very little stress. Processor usage constantly hovered between 30 and 40%, always keeping a smooth and flawless movie experience going while enjoying the highest image quality currently available. The only situation in which it struggled, as you can see from the spikes in the first screen shot, is when I would force the movie to another scene using the slider. This operation took just a few seconds, three or four, before everything went back under control. With such a light load, the heatsink's fan never kicked up so noise was kept at minimal levels.

It is now time to wrap this up.




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