Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H Reviewajmatson - April 16, 2008
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I went into this review with a mindset that this board is geared to being used in a workstation or Home Theater PC and at that, it does very well. In the science benchmarks, the Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H pulls off some impressive numbers compared to competing boards using the same chipset. The Gigabyte board has an array of features and capabilities that would make any system like this drool for more. I liked how Gigabyte included all three video ports for this board because if you are like me and lose adapters easily, you will not be left out from using them down the road. Another feature of note i absolutely loved is the number of USB headers available. For a media PC or workstation, that is a great move. I am always using USB for my external drives, keyboards, mice, Thumb Drives, and all sorts of things, so it is nice to have the ability to add more ports without having to buy expansion cards to do it. It would have been nice to have included a bracket or two to use the headers, but that is a personal preference. I also like that Gigabyte went with the mATX design, which makes this a great board for those cramped HTPC cases.
I was surprised, that with all of the buzz Gigabyte puts out about having the most durable boards using its Durable 2 technology, to see that it was left out on the GA-MA78GM-S2H . Even buying a mid-range board such as this you want it to last as long as another board you would purchase, especially with the heat that gets generated in a cramped HTPC style case. Some sort of heatpipe or other cooling method should have been used so that you do not have to place fans all over the case. Another drawback was the performance while using a high-end graphics card. The hybrid and integrated scores pulled high numbers, but when paired with a faster card, the GA-MA78GM-S2H was only slightly faster in about 50% of the tests performed and in the other 50% some of the scores were poorly low. The Integrated graphics and Hybrid graphics are not good if you are into gaming, especially if you want detail in those games you play. Overclocking was also hit or miss. Overclocking the GPU, I was able to get 125MHz over stock, but overclocking the CPU causes a lot of instabilities when changing anything but the multiplier. If you are looking for a motherboard for a workstation or that home theater PC you have always wanted, then the GA-MA78GM-S2H is a great choice, but if you do any gaming, I would look for something more geared toward gamers.
- Hybrid CrossfireX capable
- Overclockability for GPU
- Plenty of great BIOS features
- VGA, HDMI, and DVI ports for integrated graphics
- Supports DDR2 up to 1066MHz
- Number of USB 2.0 headers
- mATX design for HTPC cases
- Lackluster gaming performance with the IGP
- CPU overclocking not impressive
- No advanced cooling design or heatpipes