Sapphire PI-AM2RS780G Reviewajmatson -
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As we have seen lately, AMD has been releasing "Platforms" geared towards different types of users in the market. We have already seen the "Spider Platform" - a system comprised of one of AMD's quad-core Phenom processors, a 38xx series video card, and the 790FX chipset motherboard - which is aimed at the enthusiast and gaming market. So, what is Team Green planning for the mainstream market, you ask? Well, the CPU giant has been hard at work developing the "Cartwheel Platform", which is meant for more casual computer users - those who game a little bit, but primarily use their PC's for e-mail, Web surfing, and Office-type applications. The 780G motherboard-based Cartwheel can take advantage of a wide range of AMD's desktop CPU's - from single to quad-core - and is rounded out by the motherboard's integrated graphics processor (IGP), offering consumers a highly customizable system that can provide a very nice price to performance ratio.
Today, we'll have a look at the Sapphire PI-AM2RS780G mainboard, which is one of the latest motherboards based on the 780G chipset. AMD's 780G chipset is comprised of the 780G Northbridge and the newer SB700 Southbridge, and supports Socket AM2 and AM2+ processors - from a budget single-core Sempron all the way to a high performance quad-core Phenom. One of the more interesting features of the 780G chipset is that the IGP can be supplemented by adding a discrete 2400 or 3400 series graphics card, allowing the system to run in Hybrid CrossFire mode, which greatly boosts video performance. This is a great option for those who'd like a little extra kick but don't want to break the bank to get it.
Sapphire has packaged the PI-AM2RS780G in a green and black colored box, which is a change from previous Sapphire mainboard packaging, and might be a signal that this RoHS-compliant board was designed with eco-friendliness in mind. The front of the box notes some of the mainboard's key specifications and features, while the rear provides a more in-depth explanation of those features.
Opening the box gives us a good glimpse of its contents; included with the Sapphire PI-AM2RS780G mainboard are one IDE cable, one SATA cable, the backplate, the manual, and a driver CD.
Now that we have everything out of the packaging, let's take a closer look at the hardware.