Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H Reviewajmatson - April 16, 2008
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Gigabyte chose to go with an mATX design for the GA-MA78GM-S2H, unlike ECS who went for the full size design on the A780GM-A board reviewed previously. The PCB is the same bluish color that Gigabyte uses for the majority of its boards. This allows room for expansion without taking up the whole case, but can be limiting on the number of expansion cards that you can add. The back has the standard backplate that is used to support the heatsinks for the CPU.
Gigabyte has always done well with the abundance of connections available on its motherboards. The back panel has everything that you could ever need and then some. On the GA-MA78GM-S2H motherboard, Gigabyte has included the two PS2 ports for older keyboards and mice, a VGA D-Sub port, a DVI port, an HDMI port for high definition video, one optical S/PDIF Out port, an eSATA port, a Firewire port, four USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port, and audio ports.
The Gigabyte 780G board, despite being an mATX board, has a very non-cramped design. Starting at the top, this board has a socket AM2 design which supports AM2 and AM2+ processors. The capacitors used around the CPU are all solid caps. This board only requires a 4-pin power plug for the CPU instead of an 8-pin like most other boards. There are four memory slots which support up to 16GB of Dual Channel DDR2 1066MHz modules, one floppy and an IDE slot, an LPT header, and the 24-pin ATX power plug. One thing I would like to point out is the small chip above and between the RAM slots and the ITE I/O chip is the BIOS. The BIOS on the GA-MA78GM-S2H board is non removable and features an 8Mbit capacity with the AWARD BIOS loaded on it.
Moving on down to the lower part of the board you can see the 780G Northbridge which is where most of the magic happens. There is one PCI Express x1 slot, one PCI Express x16 slot which can be utilized for the Hybrid Crossfire setup, and two PCI slots for audio cards and more. Like I said earlier, Gigabyte does not skimp on the headers available either. Along the bottom of the board is a CD in header, SPDIF IO header, COM header, TPM (Trusted Platform Module) module header, clear CMOS jumper, Firewire header, system fan header, front panel header, four USB 2.0 headers, and five SATA II ports.
Now that we have gotten a look at the board and what it has to offer, let's swing on over to the Operating System and install the drivers and software.