For a bright-eyed teenager in 1976 that had high hopes of becoming a journalist one day, the satirical film Network was a revelation suggesting maybe choosing another profession would be a wise move. (Ed: Look at where that got you.)  After years of intense investigative coverage of Watergate and the resulting rise in credibility of the journalistic profession, it seemed the right - maybe even honorable - field of study during the college years... until that fateful New Year’s Day in 1976.

In 1976, the country was celebrating its bicentennial, trying to put Watergate and the Vietnam War out of our minds, and looking forward to an election that would chart a new direction in American politics. (These subjects sound familiar 32 years later.) Top films of that year really did represent what we were going through, and to some degree what we would become in the near future. 

Rocky found us in love with the underdog who never gave up. All the President’s Men gave us a short synopsis of the Watergate scandal from the perspective of the journalistic team (Bernstein/Woodward) that broke the story and proved that journalists were sexy, provided you resembled a young Robert Redford. The Bad News Bears allowed us to take a humorous look at sports obsessed parents realizing that winning at any cost had taken the joy out of playing the game for many kids (kids who would become today’s Soccer Moms and Dads).

I enjoyed many other movies that year with my friends, which more or less fit in with our very sarcastic yet humorous personalities.  Some were dark like Taxi Driver, Marathon Man, The Omen, Obsession, and Carrie, while others were on the lighter side such as Silent Movie, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Silver Streak, and Mother, Jugs & Speed. Of course, we also had the breakout science fiction films, Logan’s Run and Futureworld. (Told you we were sarcastic.) All told, it was a decent year for film, and some thirty years later we still have Rocky, Pink Panther, and King Kong remakes.

However, there was one film that year that left a lasting impression on us; that film was the aforementioned and critically acclaimed Network. What All the President’s Men did to glorify the journalistic profession; Network succeeded in displaying the dark and seedy side of media. In retrospect, it also provided a fairly accurate glimpse of where TV/Print media was headed along with society. Sensationalism - some would say yellow journalism - sells and is what a large cross-section of society enjoys, whether they openly admit it or not. 

In Network, Peter Finch played the aging news anchor, Howard Beale, who at one point in the film makes an impassioned speech that resulted in an extremely popular catch phrase of the time. He persuaded his watching audience to step outside and shout, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”  This phrase struck a chord with mainstream America during that year and with us now.

It has been a couple of rough weeks for the motherboard team. Our best laid plans have been thwarted for a variety of reasons, most of which have us shouting the above phrase, and we are sure some of you feel the same way.  Since the news and review sections are fairly quiet over the weekend, we thought it would be a good time to discuss those items that put a burr under our saddle - to address issues that our readership is having with the technology and companies that we cover on a periodic basis. Believe it or not, we rarely get to rant (and for very good reasons as you will see), but sometimes it's necessary to say what one thinks.  So here is Rant Session #1 for your weekend enjoyment.

 
AMD 780G Goes Boom
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  • braddy752 - Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - link

    Seeing this Gigabyte case has being flaming with gasoline.. Though the board maker should take certain responsibilites of having mistake information..

    However, we all knew that from the starting point it's the chipset makers issue, delivering too aggressive assumptions on supporting processors which the chip maker had not validated. Not mentioning those buggy issues created by Nvidia.

    Nvidia has been keeping quiet for those issues found by journalist or end-users, and making their so called partners (board makers) to deal with it.

    So, who should be blamed for the faulty products? Board maker or the Chip maker? For me... I'll still trust the board makers who deliever good quality products, and blame the root cause to the chip maker.
    Reply
  • aguilpa1 - Monday, April 07, 2008 - link

    I approached Anandtech a looong time ago way back when Yorkfields first came out about 680iSLI not being compatible as I soon found out. They ignored my posts.

    I had an EVGA 680i SLi and they provided their customers with a 780iSLI step up, which I am now running trouble free. Maybe you guys should have gone EVGA.
    Reply
  • Tanclearas - Monday, April 07, 2008 - link

    Gary,

    I'm not sure if you recall, but I was the one you helped get in contact with Nvidia regarding the nforce4 corruption issues related to the hardware firewall. I still have all of the email messages associated with that. You definitely tried harder than Nvidia in working with me on identifying the issue. I responded to the suggestions by the Nvidia rep quickly, and provided as detailed information as I could to them. I offered to completely reformat my system, and follow any specific directions they wanted, but their only suggestion for me was to install a driver that I had already tested with.

    You followed up with me, and contacted Nvidia again, but they still never contacted me again. You eventually let me know that Nvidia's solution was to discontinue support of the hardware firewall, even though that was a major "bullet point" on the feature list of nforce4.

    I won't go so far as to say "I'll never buy nvidia again!", but I definitely won't buy until the products have been on the market an extended period and there is reasonable confirmation about which "features" of their products actually work as advertised.
    Reply
  • chucky2 - Monday, April 07, 2008 - link

    Gary,

    Personally, I think instead of working behind the scenes with the mobo manufacturers, you ought to publish the review and slam them all for dying. The fact seems to be that these manufacturers will just not fix their ways until it blows up in their faces.

    Maybe being embarrassed on the front page of AnandTech in a full out review will serve as sufficient embarrassment for them to put enough engineering into their products so those of us who buy a 125W Phenom and OC it (through the BIOS options the manufacturers themselves provide) the boards won't fry.

    In college teaching the saying goes Publish or Perish...maybe for the manufacturers it should be Engineer it or be Embarrassed....

    Chuck

    P.S. Now your 780G review will be further delayed because of their shodding underengineering....should give AnandTech time to review a couple of the past 690G boards to see how they compare and if they have the same problems. I just looked, and the Gigabyte 690G boards have the 6000+ and 6400+ listed as supported, and the 95W Phenom's as well. Should make for a good comparison....
    Reply
  • whatthehey - Monday, April 07, 2008 - link

    I completely support your suggestion: reviewers should put the reviews out there as soon as a product is available on the retail shelves. By all means, go ahead and delay a preview or a first look while you wait for a BIOS respin, but when boards are available to the average Joe shopping at Newegg, it's time for manufacturers to put up or shut up.

    I respect all the hard work you do, Gary, but I'd much rather read reviews of imperfect products than to wait (and wait... and waaaaait.......) for a review of an ephemeral "perfect" motherboard and BIOS.

    As for the motherboards, I'd say you should stick to reviewing whatever CPUs they list as working and put in information about what CPUs *don't* make that list. Then let us know how the board works in practice. If it's flaky and your article ends up killing sales for a board, that's just too bad.

    Finally, less time spent on extreme overclocking and more time spent getting articles out the door would be appreciated. I don't use water, let alone phase change or LN2, and I'm not going to push my system to the ragged edge. I'll take a reasonable overclock if it's easy to achieve. Spending hours/days/months tweaking and adjusting various BIOS settings to get the last .05% performance boost means nothing to 99.999% of people. Let the XS braggarts worry about the ORB charts!
    Reply
  • nubie - Monday, April 07, 2008 - link

    I don't know if anything I have ever seen on Anandtech qualifies as extreme overclocking (if you want that go to vr-zone.com and see Shamino or Kingpin), unless we are talking about 3.8+ Ghz air-cooled CPU's, and I guess that is a little extreme, but only as far as the retention mechanism goes. I don't recall any voltage modifications or phase-cooling on this site. (If you can buy it for $100 or less, and put it on the CPU in one piece, without soldering, vacuum pumps, or bleeding of coolant, and it fits in the case, I don't really consider it extreme.)

    I think what they point to here is that general mild overclocking will completely destroy a motherboard with certain CPU's, CPU's that are supposed to be supported and should by rights have plenty of headroom for worst-case scenario running, and should thus be exploitable by their "best case" test methodology with a mild overclock.
    Reply
  • Dsjonz - Monday, April 07, 2008 - link

    I agree with whatthehey. "Warts and all" reviews TODAY are what many of us want. But despite the overclocked CPU limitations of the initial crop of these three 780G motherboards, I won't "waaaaait' for this issue to be resolved with more expensive board respins six months from now. I will be buying a 780G next week for my HTPC hardware refresh. Why?

    I'm buying a 780G board today because they offer precisely what I have been waiting a long time for. All three deliver full-featured low-power MATX boards, all hitting the feature set sweet-spot for HTPC/Windows Home Server/general productivity use -- and all offered at the crucial under-$100 "single-spouse-decision" pricepoint.

    Also consider what these 780G boards are NOT. They are clearly not oriented toward the "addled overclocker/uber-gamer/power-workstation" crowd. Yet, that's how they are being reviewed and judged. Am I the only one who is objecting to a prevailing pattern among many PC reviewers today to evaluate non-gaming/overclocking MATX motherboards only for their overclocking and gaming prowess?

    Let's separate the issues. The beef is with the three motherboard makers who should have prominently listed support limitations for overclocked CPUs. It's hard to believe that all three deliberately under-engineered their products, but it's at all not hard to believe that rushed and inexperienced product marketing staffers at all three companies either ignored engineering caveats or were "out of the loop" about these issues and did a "cut-and-paste" of standard product requirements on the specifications section of the datasheet.

    Unlikely, you say? I'm in the business, and it happens all the time.
    Reply
  • garydale - Monday, April 07, 2008 - link

    Not quite what the originator of that phrase had in mind, but it makes me very happy I stayed with the lower power (95W) version of the Phenom. I have an inexpensive all-in-one mainboard that doesn't seem to be having any problems with the 9500 (B2). However, until reading this article, I thought I was just being energy efficient.

    I'm also happy that we have sources like this to turn to. I've never paid much attention to CPU compatibility charts before, naively believing that if it was the right socket, at worst a BIOS upgrade would allow the processor to work. Now it seems I have another problem to worry about.
    Reply
  • Johnniewalker - Monday, April 07, 2008 - link

    Saved me lots of time and headaches! Reply
  • anindrew - Monday, April 07, 2008 - link

    I've been an avid reader of anandtech.com since 2000 or so. I am very impressed by how candid and gutsy your article is. Besides benchmark and real world tests, every user wants to know about issues with products. When issues this big present themselves, you are doing a great service by bringing them to the forefront.

    I've been wanting to build a new system for about a year (since my motherboard had a bit of a heart attack 6 months ago). I've held off for a few reasons (mostly financial). If I built right now (which I'm not), I'd probably go for an X38 board and a Q9450. I haven't heard about any issues with that combination as of yet.
    Reply

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