AMD 780G Update -

To say we stirred up a hornet’s nest with our original article concerning the problems we encountered running the AMD 9850BE on several 780G motherboards would be an understatement at best. Our conversations with AMD and the motherboard suppliers have been numerous, educational, and at times almost as spirited as the election year debates. Fortunately, we are finally at the end of a very long and winding road with this subject. Maybe not exactly the end, more like a new beginning in many ways.

In our last blog, we discussed the quandary that the motherboard suppliers have in meeting a price target and still offering support of the wide breadth of products from the processor manufacturers. Quite honestly, being a product engineer on a IGP product that has multiple usage design criteria and must meet the strictest of price targets is not something we would want to do ourselves.  However, about 90% of the motherboard requirements in the consumer market fall into this category so suppliers have to get it right.

In this case, getting it right means full support for the current AMD processor offerings or specifically stating processor support on the various 780G products. Our primary concern was/is ensuring verification of what the various suppliers state their product should do once it reaches the user. In this case, we were concerned about CPU support, both from a board and chipset perspective.   The 780G, without question, fully supports the 125W TDP processors at stock or overclocked settings. Finding a board that will do it is a little more difficult.

Of the boards that we have retested the last two weeks, three now claim full support for the 125W TDP processors. These include the Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H, Jetway PA78GT3-DG, and ASRock A780FullDisplayPort, all of which passed our test regimen. We have two other boards that do not implicitly state support for the Phenom 9850BE, but we found the Biostar TForce TA780G M2+ and Sapphire PI-AM2RS780G worked fine (read fine print next).  

Let’s take a quick look at our results.

Results via Discussion, No Charts here...
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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.
    Reply
  • ZootyGray - Monday, July 21, 2008 - link

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

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

    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.
    Reply
  • 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.

    Peace.
    Reply
  • 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.

    http://www.jetway.com.tw/jw/support_motherboard.as...">http://www.jetway.com.tw/jw/support_motherboard.as...

    http://www.giga-byte.com/Support/Motherboard/CPUSu...">http://www.giga-byte.com/Support/Mother...d/CPUSup...





    Reply
  • avi85 - Sunday, May 11, 2008 - link

    Hey!!! There is now a Rev. 1.1 of the gigabyte, http://www.giga-byte.com/Products/Motherboard/Prod...">http://www.giga-byte.com/Products/Mothe.../Product... 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???
    Reply
  • 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?
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply

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