AMD 780G - The Three Amigos and a 9850BE

by Gary Key on 4/30/2008 6:00 PM EST


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  • ZootyGray - Monday, July 21, 2008 - link

    I have to say thank you for these articles on 780G manufacturers and cpu support lists. I have never seen such beautifully brutal testing. I have endless respect for real truth. And there is a strong consumer protection thing here too. Reviewing is not about being nice - it's about accurate info, and good journalism.

    I have been burned in the by bogus mobo manufacturer's claims and, even worse, ommisions. My suffering was also facilitated by rosy test reports. I eagerly bought hook, line and sinker and 2 days over the warranty period, I discovered I had been sold old tek. (The mobo was ABITch. The review was on toms hdwe guide.) The problem was the MS announced chg on acpi which brought 24+ irq's into play with the advent of winXP - my board was released after the announcement by Microsoft - it was a tek dump. I told them I knew. I told them I would put the word out. ABITch tek sport - no speakadee eenglish.

    So I was pretty much ready to run out and buy a 780G board. I planned on a small cpu for now - and a big Phenom later. Reviews were good everywhere I went - and then boom - pop goes the mosfet.

    I have been referring a lot of people to come and read up on the real story. And like others have said, it is really too bad that it appears as if AMD did this - rather than this being a mobo manufacturers design issue. And the whole issue of vague or absent CPU Support Lists.

    And you know it has not changed very much - some changes but a lot is still the same.

    But thanx for brilliant testing so far. More to come. This isn't over.
  • ZootyGray - Monday, July 21, 2008 - link

    Well, you said this .......

    That said, we have finally completed our testing and will have performance results from these boards and others in the near future.

    The near future has arrived. It's update time.

    I have been informed of changes by asus - apparently they have some new models in their 780G line of mobos that support 140 WATT CPU'S !!! They have some others that don't seem to have this 140w sticker rating also - and I found it hard to get EXACT CPU INFO to qualify for myself, the nervous consumer. This should be easy for me as a total idiot consumer! Why do I have to learn more tek than an engineer to make sure I am not being conned? Isn't that the bottom, line here? I would not buy most things in such an atmosphere of danger!!

    Anyway, 140 watts MIGHT be enough to handle an oclox Phenom 9950 Black Edition. Apparently also - 140 watts is the realm of the not yet released DENEB cpu. And yes, it begs the question - will the higher or oclok DENEB play pop? :) It seems they use a 4+1 phase.

    It seems the newer 140w mobos only appear on the International website - not on USA or Canada sites (yet?) (WHO KNOWS?). In fact there are no 780g boards on the Canada site at all (at this writing) and a search reveals nothing - no results! Maybe they were never there? - this makes me paranoid. There was a press release in June announcing these boards - about a month ago?

    Biostar has an interesting board with a "space pipe" heat pipe that connects various components including the mosfet area. I thought that was a really unique idea. PLUS BIOSTAR CLEARLY STATED 125 watts as ok on 1 model - IMPRESSIVE :)

    I, personally, am unable to assess clearly what Gigabyte is doing - although I have seen a version 1.1 with no explanation. They WERE my first choice - now, I don't know.

    My experience with MSI is that I have too many unanswered questions, and reading for answers brings only frustration in the face of more vagueness. And what seems like a language barrier.

    And I see a 3-year warranty offered by asus - but I really would prefer to avoid RMA costs and delays and days of computer down time. Has the problem been fixed? Is it safe to play now? Was there ever a problem? Feed me some honest information; because I am very hungry.

    The mobo co's seem content to indulge in self-promotion rather than really taking this issue by the horns and dealing with it completely.
    It would be oh so nice if I read that xyz mobo company admitted fault or problem and identified the exact problem and provided a clean solution that was crystal cleat to me, the average idiot consumer, and that enabled me to relax and trust these scared lil babies with my money; so I could simply buy the board and processor that I want.
    And everybody lived happily ever after and there was infinite peace in the universe too.

    Hey - what's the problem with that? How is it that up-front honesty is such a great difficulty in our beautiful world. If the rules of the game were clear, clean, fair, and announced up front - would that make it all just easy?

    Until then :) it would be wonderful to see a follow-up article to the initial brilliant reports.

    Thank you once again.
  • ZootyGray - Monday, July 21, 2008 - link

    Since I am on such a roll here - (rolling up the number of comments from 18 where it has been stuck for too long) (yes, I check back often)

    I further wish to compliment you on general accuracy of reporting. Unlike some (cough tom cough) sites where blatant bias seems to be a sick joke, you here at Anandtech seem pretty clean and factual.

    Recent example re Ruiz resigns was simply stated. Also the Q2 reports. That other site treated these issues with a lack of respect and furthermore disguised their stupidity by labelling an article "opinion".

    In my search for accurate information I have no use for damage communicated through blatant bias in the face of facts, no use for opinions because I am seeking truth and guidance - and will continue to attend, and refer people to, this site where people seem to have the simple courage to state truth.
    Sometimes all we have is opinion - that's ok - but when opinion is a cover for gloating over the difficulty of certain events - well, that's just trolling and flaming, and is indicative of more and worse.

    I am wandering off the good topic here.

  • dancinguy - Wednesday, May 21, 2008 - link

    Where is the full review of the 780g motherboards? I need more info before I buy! Reply
  • Tarantella - Saturday, May 10, 2008 - link

    Currently, at Jetway and Gigabyte, their cpu support pages show otherwise for the 9850 phenom.">">

  • avi85 - Sunday, May 11, 2008 - link

    Hey!!! There is now a Rev. 1.1 of the gigabyte,"> anybody know what the differences are besides what I found while comparing:
    1. different shaped (larger?) NB heatsink
    2. NB fan header (although no fan on the new heatsink)
    3. no TPM header on the new one

    Does anybody know if they changed the power system???
  • strmbkr - Saturday, May 03, 2008 - link

    Some 780G models costs around the same or more than the full fledged "mid range" motherboards that could support the 125W AMD dual Core and the Quad Core (example Asus M3A vs M3A78-EMH HDMI); so, why it can't support the 125W? heck... even the M2A-VM (690G) motherboard can support the 125W dual core with no problems.

    Building a file server with these boards are cost effective, since cpu power, memory and HDD is more important, and you don't need a good graphics card, then why not pair it with a good cpu when building these basic file/data servers?

    The third point is AMD's announced intent for easy upgradability of the cpus. In the future, the later AM2+ and AM3 cpus will have higher voltages; wouldn't that make AMD's roadmap of "easy upgradability" moot?
  • talos - Friday, May 02, 2008 - link

    The Sapphire and Jetaway 780G boards look the same. Only the MOFSET coolers are missing from Jatway.
    Maybe they are crossflashable.
  • bgd73 - Thursday, May 01, 2008 - link

    A cpu with that much going on is doing more than frying mosfets. Is all old school rules deemed retard by a retard? put it on a bigger board, get a case big enough for a large heatsink and reverse cool precisely. The problems these monkeys are having is over 6 years old, with the first of the hottest cpus known to man, the p4 e line,and hardly a problem to the rest of builders out there with the given tdp already. Oh the pride of closed eared engineers is going to kill somebody.Gov't anybody? never thought I'd be scared enough to request that one... Reply
  • bradley - Thursday, May 01, 2008 - link

    I've never heard of a mosfet going pop... they can crackle, and in instances catch fire. I'm talking about running poorly cooled and/or slightly out of spec, as opposed to extreme overvolting. Capacitors can pop, or even go bang. Although breakaway tops are meant to limit the explosive activity somewhat. Of the two AMD related stories: the Phenom TLB and 780G compatibility, both seemingly have been borne out of an overemphasized misunderstanding. This then spread like Internet wildfire and clearly hurt AMD as a corporation.
    A cynic might even call them hatchet jobs, but the intent is unclear. And I'm not even bothering to include the senseless and irresponsible writings of Ed Stroligo. :) I have seen on occasion potential customers forgoing this great chipset based on information propagated from these series of articles.

    I believe a collective urging for rigid verification and implicit compatibility standards would be the more genuine and germane angle. Manufacturers now have the tools to virtually design these boards within very exacting tolerances. This includes them using less efficient [and thus less costly] parts, which would convert more power to heat. It probably allows manufacturers to build within a very specific price point. I'd imagine you could have a 4-phase design run more efficiently than a poorly designed 8-phase. Less efficient parts, in turn, dampen the function of that very powerful CPU, as would a smaller form factor limit the threshold of current. Otherwise we will know what to expect when 140 Watt Phenoms hit the 780G scene, more of the same.

    Or maybe there needs to be a better understanding of electrical engineering and design. Sharing this inside knowledge right from manufacturer's own mouths would make for very illuminating articles. Perhaps start to list part numbers in these reviews so educated readers can do their own math. Let readers know what makes these boards tick, and the part specifications that allow: memory, cpu, videocard, storage shine. I want to see a greater accountability and responsibility from manufacturers and enthusiast writers alike. This is no longer just some hobby or preoccupation, but big business that affects many groups of people.
  • R3MF - Thursday, May 01, 2008 - link

    the 9850 costs a mere £150, about one fifth the price of the top end consumer chip from intel.

    i have just built a Sugo03 gaming machine using the famous Gigabyte G33 DSR2 board and a £175 Q6700 chip.

    i wanted to get an AMD system but when i am blowing £1300 on a new PC why on earth would i buy a cheap rubbish motherboard that is likely to fry at a moments notice?
  • mczak - Thursday, May 01, 2008 - link

    Ok, so the mosfets don't instantly blow up - good. I wonder though about long-term usage, any chance they'll still work after a year or two if they are operated so close at their limit? Reply
  • hoohoo - Thursday, May 01, 2008 - link

    I run an Opteron 1220 on a 690G uATX board with aan 8800GT in a small Silverstone case. I had to get aftermarket coolers but it works fine - stock or O/C to ~ 3GHz. Civ 2 to Crysis, Cell processor simulator, hand coded threaded C apps, image processing software.

    What are those apps you speak of? Lots of people like microATX because they do not want some maximum tower plastic-and-flashing-lights encrusted behemoth in their home. And let's not mention the wonderful price of your 'serious' boards!
  • bradley - Thursday, May 01, 2008 - link

    You make an extremely valid point about micro-ATX board builders having different considerations and allowances, probably centering around lowering cost, power usage, and decreasing size. Running high-powered cpus without ample cooling on anything but a regular ATX might not be a good idea. I'd be curious how disabling on-board video might affect 780G real-world stability and compatibility though. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, May 01, 2008 - link

    But you are clearly not a typical user of computers or mATX boards. The vast majority of users will surf the internet, watch some movies, listen to music, and run office applications. They might also do some image manipulation, but not for a lot of people. Using just the IGP, we can pretty much rule out games as being a primary consideration... which also rules out Cell simulations most likely. The number of people that do C/[insert favorite programming language] coding is also likely less than 1% when you look at the whole market.

    Just because you in particular do something with computers doesn't mean you're in the vast majority. Not that that's a bad thing. I'm quite sure I don't meet that qualification either.
  • hoohoo - Thursday, May 01, 2008 - link

    That is exactly my point: I do not think I am especially untypical. The marketers, and popular prejudice like yours, would have it that expensive and large ATX boards and cases are the proper place to use higher TDP CPUs. I say that is incorrect and arbitrary on your part because many people care as much about the form factor as the horsepower - and definitely want the horsepower.

    The uATX 780G boards all come with one PCIe 16x slot: I'd say most people are not going to buy 2 or 3 video cards. They want one fast GPU and fast processor and IMHO most people do not want massive cases (at least after they've had to live with they first one). Therefore uATX.

    Heat need not be an issue with uATX. The boards in question ought to have been built with decent power regulators (or that they were not made plain), not built on the assumption that only weak CPUs will be used.

    The desire of marketers to sell expensive ATX boards requires no comment I think.

    FWIW, the Cell simulator does not care about graphics capability. I've got the 8800GT for games.

    An aside: Someone below commented that he doesn't really want SB600. I can only agree, it is very hot and needs a little fan all of it's own on my board. 780G is an excellent chip and the new SB being paired with it on most of these uATX boards is superior to SB600. AFAIK there aren't even any ATX boards being made with the new SB!
  • docmilo - Thursday, May 01, 2008 - link

    As a typical user of one of these boards, the Asus model which is not listed here, I am currently running the 9600 Phenom. I run it in a Q-Pack case and have no heating issues at all. I would love to be able to drop in a 9850BE for converting my tv recorded shows to MPG4, editing home videos and have a higher speed to do the occasional game. Prior to this I was running a 6000+ on a 690G board and it would get way too hot. My 6000+ was faster at converting the video but at 100% cpu usage there was always some lag if I wished to do something else and the cpu would run at 60+ degrees. Converting now rarly goes above 50% cpu utilization and 45 degrees. Reply
  • m3rdpwr - Thursday, May 01, 2008 - link

    I don't think it's un-realistic for someone to run a 9750 or 9850 CPU on these boards.

    I'm not really a gamer.
    However, I do some photo editing that my current AMD system single core doesn't handle well. The onboard video would probably hand this just fine.

    The Gigabyte board is exactly what I want, but I don't want to buy it based on a what if.

    I don't want a 790FX board because of the SB600.
    (I would prefer 790FX/SB700/SB750.)

    Looks like for peace of mind, I need to wait for the 790GX/SB750 board to start appearing...

  • just4U - Thursday, May 01, 2008 - link

    The problem I have is I'd have gone right ahead and grabbed a 9750 not even thinking that it was a 125 one... and paired it up with the 780G but after knowning what I know know I can't just up and do that... The people I'd build those for would require around 3 years of use out of them and I wouldn't want the damn thing to magically die sometime after it's set up. Reply
  • 996GT2 - Thursday, May 01, 2008 - link

    Those bottom 3 fins get very little to no airflow to them, so the MOSFETs aren't cooled well at all. In my experience with the Freezer 64 Pro on a MSI K9N Platinum, the heatsinks over the MOSFETs get quite warm since only a tiny bit of air is being blown at them by the Freezer 64. You also have to run the Freezer at full speed to be able to feel the airflow behind it, and doing so makes it moderately loud.

    I would suggest getting a heatsink that blows directly over the board, such as a Zalman CNPS8000 or a Cooler Master Gemini II. Those would help cool the board as a whole, not just the CPU...however, coolers blowing up-down aren't as effective as heatpipe tower coolers that blow air from the front of the case to the back.
  • avi85 - Thursday, May 01, 2008 - link

    Would the Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro">

    be good enough for airflow? cause it has some fins at the bottom bent towards the MOSFETs...">

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