Sapphire PI-AM3RS785G 785G Chipset Motherboard Reviewajmatson - November 30, 2009
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The Sapphire PI-AM3RS785G motherboard uses a dark color scheme, which helps keep the system looking good when presented in a case with a window. The design of the board is done in an mATX form factor, which makes it ideal for smaller computers, such as workstations and HTPC's. This would not be a great board for a home server with the limited number of memory slots, however. The back of the motherboard has the CPU retention bracket, which off loads the stress of the CPU from a small portion of the board to even out the weight. Sapphire has built this board to support DDR3 memory and AM3 processors, as well as Windows 7 and DirectX 10.1 for pure gaming and video immersion.
On the left side of the motherboard is the back panel. The back panel allows you to expand your system as needed with peripherals. On the Sapphire Pure PI-AM3RS7805G, there is everything you need to get you up and running. From the top are the PS/2 ports, an SPDIF Out port, an HDMI port, a VGA port, a DVI port, four USB 2.0 ports, one LAN port, and the audio jacks. The audio is a 6-channel setup powered by the Realtek ALC662 HD codec and 3D Audio.
Below the back panel connections you see the expansion ports. Since this is an mATX motherboard, there is less space for expansion. As such, Sapphire made the best of it with what they had. To expand the Pure PI-AM3RS785G, there is one PCI Express X16 slots with 16 full lanes for graphics power and two legacy PCI slots for older cards, such as your audio card. There is no X1 or X4 PCI Express slots for newer audio cards or other PCI Express based devices, so you only have one slot to add to and no compromise.
The CPU area is open and not crowded, so you will have no issues installing large heatsinks or water cooling blocks. The board supports AM3 processors including the latest Phenom II and Athlon II CPUs for maximum performance. The board also supports HyperTransport 3.0 to keep data flowing as fast as possible when it is needed. There are only two memory slots on the Pure PI-AM3RS785G motherboard, supporting up to 8GB of memory with a maximum speed of 1333MHz DDR3. It would have been nice to see four slots for memory, especially with the price of 4GB modules these days so high.
On the bottom of the board are the headers for expansion. Here you can add more ports for functionality as it is needed. From the left there are the audio header, a COM header, two USB headers, and the front panel headers. To the left of the audio header is the 3D Audio button, which enables 3D Audio support. In addition to the headers, there are six SATA ports that support RAID 0,1, and JBOD, as well as one IDE port supporting up to two devices.
To keep the chipset cool, Sapphire has placed two aluminum heatsinks to provide passive cooling via the case's natural airflow over the Northbridge and Southbridge. The Northbridge heatsink uses a fanned out design for maximum cooling.