ASUS M3N78 Pro Reviewajmatson - July 27, 2008
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Recently, we have done several motherboard reviews featuring the NVIDIA GeForce 8200 chipset, which is geared towards mainstream computer users for projects like HTPCs, workstations, and casual gaming rigs. The GeForce 8200 chipset utilizes an onboard GPU - or mGPU - which brings DirectX 10 and HD playback capabilities to a user without the need for a discrete graphics card, which cuts down on costs and increases performance. Now, take all of that and add higher clock speeds and you have the newer GeForce 8300 chipset. Not long ago, computer builders shunned a motherboard with an mGPU, but these days the technology has erupted - mGPUs are becoming the norm, especially in PCs used for video editing and decoding.
Today, we are going to look at the ASUS M3N78 Pro, which is based on that newer GeForce 8300 chipset. The ASUS M3N78 Pro brings this great new technology to the AMD crowd, supporting both AM2 and AM2+ CPUs - including future 140w TDP Phenom CPUs (current Phenom CPUs max out at 125w TDP). Another interesting feature I found out about the ASUS M3N78 Pro is that it's the first AMD platform motherboard to natively support 1066MHz DDR2 memory. So do I have your attention yet? Well, how about we take a better look at the M3N78 Pro board now!
At first look, this motherboard package gets my interest piqued - the front of the box shows off some of its great features, like HDMI support, Hybrid SLI, all solid capacitors, Express Gate technology, and it's even able to decode HD audio and video on the board! The back of the box expands on what's got me going, with a more in depth look at some of the main features of the ASUS M3N78 Pro.
Wow, after reading all of that I felt like a kid on Christmas, because I could not wait until I could get my hands on what was inside. Flipping open the lid of the box, you can see all of the goodies inside. ASUS has included everything you need to get up and running with the M3N78 Pro. Inside there's the motherboard itself, a manual, a driver CD, three SATA cables, two SATA power adapters, and IDE cable, a floppy cable, the I/O shield, a pack of Q-Connectors, an HDMI to DVI adapter, and a VGA bracket. The VGA port on the M3N78 Pro slides into an empty PCI slot on the case, and plugs directly into the motherboard. I will be taking a better look at this in the next section.
Now that everything is unboxed, let's take a better look at the M3N78 Pro motherboard.