AMD 780G: Best Ever Integrated Mainstream Chipset?

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TEST RESULTS

First, a quick comparison between the Gigabyte MA78GM-S2H and the Asus M2A-VM HDMI to see how the chipsets compare. In our M2A-VM review we used a X2 BE-2400, so the X2 4850e was underclocked to the same clock speed (2.3Ghz) to make a more fair comparison. They are both 65nm processors with a thermal design power of 45W. We also used Windows Media Player for playback (we've since acquired a Blu Ray drive and are now using PowerDVD to take properly take advantage of ATI's UVD/AVIVO and nVidia PureVideo technology) — the last time we will do so, just for comparison purposes. The rest of the hardware was the same, with 1GB of RAM and 128MB assigned to video memory.

Comparison: 780G vs. 690G Chipset
(Gigabyte MA78GM-S2H vs. Asus M2A-VM HDMI)
Test State
MA78GM
M2A-VM
Mean CPU Use
System Power
Mean CPU Use
System Power
Off
N/A
8W
N/A
2W
Sleep (S3)
N/A
9W
N/A
3W
Idle (C&Q)
1%
36W*
1%
35W
H.264
22%
~61W
25%
~57W
WMV3
36%
~64W
29%
~58W
WVC1
52%
~71W
52%
~65W
CPUBurn
100%
94W
100%
84W
CPUBurn + ATITool
100%
102W
100%
87W
1GB of system RAM and 128MB of VRAM were used during testing.

Blu Ray drive not installed and both CPUs clocked at 2.3Ghz

* Arrived at by manually underclocking and undervolting. Underclocking disables C&Q by default.

As far as power consumption goes, we weren't impressed. The 780G chipset seemed to use between 5W and 15W more than 690G at various loads. The difference was even evident when the system was powered down or in standby. Stressing the the HD3200 GPU drew an extra 8W compared to 3W for the X1250, indicating the newer IGP has a lot more horsepower.

Test Results: Gigabyte MA78GM-S2H
Test State
X2 4850e @ 2.5Ghz
Mean CPU Use
Peak CPU Use
System Power
Idle
1%
2%
38W
H.264
2%
8%
~53W
WMV3
28%
39%
~65W
WVC1
47%
68%
~69W
Blu Ray
23%
31%
~70W
CPUBurn
100%
101W
CPUBurn + ATITool
100 %
109W

In our main test, using PowerDVD, we found that the HD3200 IGP and X2 4850e was more than up to the challenge of playing back our test clips. Surprisingly, the WVC1 clip was more demanding than an actual Blu Ray disc, presumably because it was encoded with a monsterous 60 frames per second. PowerDVD may also be more optimized for playing back Blu Ray titles rather than VC-1 clips encoded by some smuck. Though the CPU usage is lower, the Blu Ray drive's motor and laser made the power draw slightly higher.



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