Test Setup


The Gigabyte GA-MA780GM-S2H was selected as our AMD 780G platform representative today. AMD provided this board for the press kits as it is one of the most feature laden 780G boards in the market, and Gigabyte has ensured widespread availability over the next couple of weeks. The board we are using is an actual retail kit purchased to guarantee our testing results are representative of product in the retail channel. To be honest, the retail board performed identically to our review sample during testing, so that should put any thoughts about cherry-picked samples to rest.

Gigabyte MA78GM-S2H Testbed
Processor AMD Athlon 64 X2 4850E
Dual-core, 2.5GHz, 2 x 512KB L2 Cache, 12.5x Multiplier
CPU Voltage 1.250V
Cooling AMD Retail
Power Supply Seasonic SS-430GB
Memory OCZ PC2-6400 ATI Edition (4x1GB)
Memory Settings DDR2-800, 4-4-4-12 1.90V
Video Cards On-board HD3200
Video Drivers AMD 8.3
Hard Drive Samsung HD501LJ
Optical Drives Sony BDU-X10S
Case Silverstone SG03
Operating System Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit
.

ASUS P5E-VM HDMI Testbed
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo E2200
Dual-core, 2.20GHz, 1MB L2 Cache, 800FSB, 11x Multiplier
CPU Voltage 1.250V
Cooling Intel Retail
Power Supply Seasonic SS-430GB
Memory OCZ PC2-6400 ATI Edition (4x1GB)
Memory Settings DDR2-800, 4-4-4-12 1.90V
Video Cards On-board X3500
Video Drivers Intel 15.8
Hard Drive Samsung HD501LJ
Optical Drives Sony BDU-X10S
Case Silverstone SG03
Operating System Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit
.

ASUS M3N78-EMH HDMI Testbed
Processor AMD Athlon 64 X2 4850E
Dual-core, 2.5GHz, 2 x 512KB L2 Cache, 12.5x Multiplier
CPU Voltage 1.250V
Cooling AMD Retail
Power Supply CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX
Memory OCZ PC2-6400 ATI Edition (4x1GB)
Memory Settings DDR2-800, 4-4-4-12 2.00V
Video Cards On-board GeForce 8200
Video Drivers NVIDIA 173.68
Hard Drive Samsung HD501LJ
Optical Drives Sony BDU-X10S
Case Silverstone SG03
Operating System Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit
.

Our tests today will concentrate on High Definition image quality output and CPU utilization rates. We are currently working on a five-board roundup that will feature 780G boards from Gigabyte, ASUS, J&W, and ECS. We will go into detail about general performance in the areas of gaming, networking, applications, and overclocking in that article.

Based on the 780G’s penchant for HD playback, we figured the natural competitors in this particular segment would be the Intel G35 and NVIDIA GeForce 8200. Fortunately, our retail GeForce 8200 sample just arrived, but we will be using beta drivers with the GeForce 8200. NVIDIA has not updated the drivers since introducing the chipset in January, so our results could change with final release code. In the meantime, we will pit the 780G against the G35 with publicly available drivers and continue to hope that NVIDIA will answer our requests for a new driver release.

We selected identical components for our three testbeds, with the obvious exception of the motherboard and CPU. Our choice of processors represents the budget-minded user to a certain degree, with AMD’s new 4850e X2 and Intel’s E2200 both retailing for $90. AMD expects to start shipping the 4850e shortly. We ended up having to switch out our Seasonic SS-430GB power supply for a Corsair CMPSU-550VX power supply. The ASUS M3N78-EMH just did not care for our Seasonic power supply during testing as the board would randomly shutdown.

We will provide quad-core results in our follow-up with all three chipsets. One important fact about the 780G and Phenom combination is this combination will perform post-processing on high-definition content. It makes a difference in image quality and fluidity during 1080p playback that we are still trying to capture at this moment.

Details and More Details... HD HQV results as if it matters...
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  • greenfuzion - Thursday, April 17, 2008 - link

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_l2e0mf3CcA">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_l2e0mf3CcA Reply
  • Schugy - Tuesday, March 11, 2008 - link

    The new AMD chipset is a good choice for a MythTV frontend and it will play normal mpeg2 tv flawlessly.
    But I won't need any HD capabilities because video players like kaffeine or mplayer won't support HDCP crap or any hardware accelleration.
    With the lousy closed source nVIDIA linux driver not supporting pureview I can't even watch the unencrypted EA Burnout Paradise demo video fullscreen (VIDEO: [avc1] 1280x720 24bpp) without any performance problems. But I think a Sempron 3000+ SOA and a 7600GT should be enough for this resolution far away from full HD.
    I won't spend any money for HD hardware or HD content because there's no sense in it.

    Reply
  • najames - Tuesday, March 11, 2008 - link

    Since these boards are intended as media PCs, I think you should be doing thorough testing of the onboard LAN. My Biostar TA690G does a decent job on gigabit, my Gigabyte GA-MA69GM-S2H sucked at sending, ok in receiving. Intel Pro1000 PCI-e x1 replacement card did a lot better on the Gigabyte, although I still question the boards throughput. I have done a LOT of LAN testing on Linux for a building server. This kind of stuff needs to be checked, writing to a single WD 640GB drive.

    ftp> put mint.iso
    local: mint.iso remote: mint.iso
    200 PORT command successful. Consider using PASV.
    150 Ok to send data.
    226 File receive OK.
    722104320 bytes sent in 6.41 secs (109965.8 kB/s)
    ftp> quit
    Reply
  • yehuda - Wednesday, March 12, 2008 - link

    Gigabyte's 690G and 690V boards suck at network performance because they use a PCI controller as upposed to a PCI Express controller in most other boards.

    Fortunately, the GA-MA78GM-S2H is free from this drawback. You can check the network results here:
    http://www.techreport.com/articles.x/14261/13">http://www.techreport.com/articles.x/14261/13

    That said, I can't explain your comment on questionable throughput with the replacement PCI-e card.
    Reply
  • rhofmann - Tuesday, March 11, 2008 - link

    1080p HD decode is great, but in my experience I've found that the de-interlacing required by 1080i broadcast HD content has been an Achilles heel for HTPC output with integrated graphics. Reply
  • jamawass - Tuesday, March 11, 2008 - link

    Never thought I'd see the day when Tomshardware actually published a better review than Anandtech. I don't understand how a review article on AMD 780g ends with a paragraph on an Intel chipset talking about strengths in"office applications", heck a igp chipset 10 yrs ago was good in office applications.
    This is the best IGP chipset currently and the article should have stated that categorically instead of using lame " AMD got it almost right". What use is lpcm audio when the image is paused and juddering on your screen?
    Power consumption, sound use are all relevant when reviewing a platform like this I just didn't see the empahsis on these in this article.
    Reply
  • TheJian - Tuesday, March 11, 2008 - link

    I was surprised by TomsHardware too. I haven't put much stock in their site for years (since a ways before they soldout). In the beginning Tom Pabst did an excellent job HIMSELF. But now it's just his name on the site. I expected to read their review over here, and Anandtech's review over at Toms...LOL. Maybe I'll have to start paying more attention to Toms. Jeez, did I say that out loud? Or am I just thinking it... :)

    Toms review was definitely shooting straight. Totally agree that Audio (any kind not just over HDMI) can't get me to lean towards Intel if the picture sucks to begin with. What's the point in Hi-Def if it looks like crap? OH wait...That's right it still sounds good! LOL. Whatever...
    Reply
  • gochichi - Tuesday, March 11, 2008 - link

    Refurbished Dell Vostro 400 desktop with a superior Intel Quad chip, Vista Home Premium, 2GB RAM (upgradeable), 160GB HDD, DVD+/-, 8300 GS (which should do just about as well, very very close I imagine), keyboard, mouse and some sense of synergy. Meaning, you get a keyb/mouse/case that match in some way... even if the thing is not particularly small, it's pretty small and high quality looking than most reasonably priced cases.

    Heck, forget price, only a few cases are passable PERIOD. Vista's pricing even the so-called "OEM" price really messes things up also.

    The Vostro mentioned above, which would outperform any Phenom is $459.00 ready to go... already assembled, perfect matches etc.

    Before you ask me... why don't I just buy it if I like the deal so much? I just might, I just might is the answer.
    Reply
  • Zstream - Tuesday, March 11, 2008 - link

    Utter rubish! A Vostro 400 huh?

    Lets go to dell's site. A Vostro 400 with Intel® Core™2 Duo Proc E4500 (2.20GHz, 2MB L2 Cache, 800FSB), one gig of ram, dvd-rom, 160gb hard drive...

    I would purchase a 780g/tri-core htpc over this any day of the week.
    Reply
  • gochichi - Tuesday, March 11, 2008 - link

    Did you ever consider that you can't find the unit I'm talking about anymore.

    I said nothing about a 2.2Ghz Duo anything. I was talking about a QUAD 2.4 Ghz with a small HDD, 2GB of RAM and a remedial video card (that would perform about as well as the 780G, maybe a little better it was a 8300 GS).

    Dell WAS selling 2.4Ghz quad refurbs as duos... but I don't know if that's changed.

    All of this is really irrelevant. I guess the broader point is that building a computer from scratch blows for a number of reasons (unless you're really going to spend in top end stuff).

    1. Getting a decent case/PSU for under $100.00 is a feat, and even then it's too much.
    2. Vista or any other MS system is over priced.

    About the 780G, my first reaction was: "it's only $70.00" and I started going from there. But you know what? At the end of the day, you're really saving $30.00 on what a remedial 8400 GS would cost. $30.00 when you're building from scratch just isn't that much. AMD has provided a decent part for OEMs though. Hopefully they can deliver.

    As for the Vostro 400 w/ Quad and Vista Home Premium for $469.00 hopefully I'll be able to find it again and buy it. $40.00 upgrades it to 4GB of RAM and you can actually put any video card you want in that thing (just one though obviously). So 9600GT down the line, or wait it out and get something next gen.

    Part of the advantage of building from scratch is overclocking. But no matter how much you overclock a Phenom, it's still pretty much not as good as a basic 2.4Ghz intel Quad. Those things have been around forever. Intel is totally yawning as they pummel AMD. Overclocking also means even pricier parts and headache and I'm just not seeing how you could possibly beat the bang/$ of the Vostro.

    Now, that's me. You want to build a system based AMD and this chipset, it sounds like fun... but it doesn't sound smart.




    Reply

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