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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  • 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.

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