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ASUS M3N78 Pro Review

ajmatson    -   July 27, 2008
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Conclusion:

Well, the GeForce 8300 chipset does add that extra "oomph" that the GeForce 8200 chipset could not. With the support for future processors, and an inexpensive, well built board, the ASUS M3N78 Pro is a really good deal if you are looking for a solid platform for your next HTPC or workstation build. Gaming performance with a discrete card was close enough that I could not justify switching from the GeForce 8200 platform if that is what you are currently operating on, but for a new build I would choose this chipset. The integrated graphics, while you will not be able to hardcore game on it, provided decent results at lower resolutions, and was better than the GeForce 8200 mGPU in almost every test. One thing I could not for the life of me understand is why ASUS chose to place the SATA ports and the power ports where they did on this board. With all of the room on it, there are so many other places to put the ports that are out of the way.

Additionally, if you are planning to overclock, I would strongly recommend against purchasing the ASUS M3N78 Pro. The BIOS on this motherboard is pretty weak compared to other boards in this class I have tested, even when compared to the Gigabyte board. The M3N78 Pro only allows you to change the memory speed and voltage to preset limits, and you have no control over the memory timings. This can seriously hurt your performance if you have memory that operates better than JEDEC specs. Also, the processor vCore maxes out at 1.3v, which is why I could only get a 450MHz overclock, and that was it! If I could have gotten to 1.4v, I am sure I would have broken 3.0GHz. Finally, when I was overclocking, the chipset heatsink ran extremely hot, and I had to place a fan over it - so keep this in mind if you do overclock the M3N78 Pro. Overall, for the price it is a decent buy, and if you can live with the little downfalls and plan to run it at stock speeds - give it a whirl.

 

Pros:

  • Strong integrated video chipset
  • Supports NVIDIA PureVideo HD
  • Hybrid SLI support
  • HybridPower Support
  • Supports future 140w AMD CPUs
  • All solid capacitor design
  • Very well priced

 

Cons:

  • Poor port and power connection placement
  • Chipset heatsink runs very hot
  • Limited BIOS tweaking for memory

 




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