Asus M3A78 Pro: An ATX 780G Motherboard

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Asus M3A78 Pro: An ATX 780G Motherboard

August 6, 2008 by Lawrence Lee

Product Asus M3A78 Pro
AM2/AM2+ Motherboard
Manufacturer ASUSTeK
Street Price US$110

If you read the title of the review and wondered whether we already reviewed the Asus M3A78 Pro, you're probably not alone. Despite all the good products that Asus has produced over the years, they, as well as scores of other companies, fail in one simple criteria: nomenclature. The M3A78 Pro is an ATX board based on AMD's 780G chipset. That makes enough sense. The M3N78 Pro, which we reviewed recently, is an ATX board featuring nVidia's Geforce 8300 chipset. That doesn't make much sense; why not M3N830 Pro?

The two boards appear to have the exact same feature set, with only the chipset differentiating them. This provides an unique opportunity — assuming that Asus did not favor one chipset over the other in their implementation, this is as close as it gets to direct chipset comparison with actual retail products. And it's a worthy comparison considering the chipsets in question. When 780G was released, it was a milestone for IGP's — providing full high definition video offloading and far superior gaming performance in the form of the Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H we reviewed in the spring. And now after a few months, it's had time to mature. The Geforce 8300 impressed us quite a bit, too. While the Asus M3N78 Pro lacked high 3D performance, it compensated by being extremely proficient in all other areas. We found the M3N78 Pro to be an efficient motherboard that worked very well straight out of the box no real issues, a rarity these days.


The M3A78 Pro box with its semi-reflective green coating is almost identical to the M3N78 Pro. This should be interesting.



The accessories: IDE, floppy and SATA cables, SATA power adapters, HDMI-DVI adapter, manual, support disc, I/O shield and Q-Connector kit.


Asus M3A78 Pro: Specifications (from the product web page)
CPU
AMD Socket AM2+ / AM2 Processors
AMD Phenom™ FX / Phenom / Athlon™ / Sempron™
AMD Cool'n'Quiet™ Technology
Support CPU up to 140W
Chipset AMD 780G/SB700
System Bus Up to 5200/MT/s ; HyperTransport™ 3.0 interface for AM2+ CPU
2000 / 1600 MT/s for AM2 CPU
Memory 4 x DIMM, Max. 8 GB, DDR2 1066/800/667 ECC,Non-ECC,Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel memory architecture
*Due to AMD CPU limitation, DDR2 1066 is supported by AM2+ CPU for one DIMM per channel only.
**Please refer to www.asus.com or user manual for Memory QVL(Quality Vender List).
***When installing total memory of 4GB capacity or more, Windows® 32-bit operation system may only recognize less than 3GB. Hence, a total installed memory of less than 3GB is recommended.
Expansion Slots 1 x PCIe x16 (Support PCIe 2.0 / 1.0 Architecture )
2 x PCIe x1
3 x PCI 2.2
CrossFire Hybrid CrossFireX™ Support (For Windows Vista only)
VGA Integrated ATI Radeon™ HD 3200 GPU
Supports HDMI™ Technology with max. resolution up to 1920 x 1200 (1080P)
Supports DVI with max. resolution up to 1600x1200 @60Hz
Supports D-Sub with max. resolution up to 2560x1440 @ 75Hz
Hybrid CrossFireX™ Support (For Windows Vista only)
HDMI/DVI/RGB Support
Supports Microsoft® DirectX 10, OpenGL 2.0, Pixel Shader 4.0
Maximum shared memory of 256MB
Storage Southbridge
1 xUltraDMA 133/100
6 xSATA 3 Gb/s ports
Support RAID 0,1,10
LAN Gigabit LAN
Audio Realtek® ALC1200 8 -Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
-Coaxial S/PDIF out port at back I/O
USB 12 USB 2.0 ports
ASUS AI Lifestyle Features ASUS Express Gate
- Web browser, file downloading and uploading*
- Further free features upgradable
* File downloading and uploading through USB devices only
ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution
- ASUS AI Gear 2
- ASUS AI Nap
- ASUS Q-Fan 2
- 4+1 Phases ASUS Power Design
ASUS Crystal Sound
- ASUS Noise Filter
ASUS EZ DIY
- ASUS Q-Connector
- ASUS Q-Shield
- ASUS O.C. Profile
- ASUS EZ Flash 2
Overclocking Features Intelligent overclocking tools
- AI Overclocking (intelligent CPU frequency tuner)
- ASUS AI Booster Utility
Precision Tweaker
- vDIMM: 8 -step DRAM voltage control
- vCore: Adjustable CPU voltage at 0.0125V increment
- vChipset 4-step Chipset voltage control
SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection)
- FSB tuning from 200MHz to 600MHz at 1MHz increment
- Memory tuning from 533MHz up to 1066MHz
- PCI Express frequency tuning from 100MHz up to 1066MHz at 1MHz increment
Overclocking Protection
- ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
Special Features ASUS MyLogo 2
Uses 100% All High-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors!
Back Panel I/O Ports
1 x D-Sub
1 x PS/2 Keyboard
1 x HDMI
1 x PS/2 Mouse
1 x S/PDIF Out (Coaxial)
1 x LAN(RJ45) port
4 x USB 2.0/1.1
8 -Channel Audio I/O
Internal I/O Connectors 4 x USB connectors supports additional 8 USB 2.0 ports
1 x Floppy disk drive connector
1 x IDE connector
6 x SATA connectors
1 x CPU Fan connector
1 x Chassis Fan connector
1 x Power Fan connector
1 x 4-pin ATX 12V Power connector
1 x S/PDIF Out connector
24-pin ATX Power connector
Front panel audio connector
COM connector
Chassis Intrusion connector
CD/AUX audio in
System Panel
BIOS 8 Mb Flash ROM
DMI 2.0
AMI BIOS
PnP
WfM 2.0
SM BIOS 2.3
ACPI 2.0a
ASUS EZ Flash 2
Accessories UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
FDD cable
SATA cables
SATA power cables
Q-Shield
1 x HDMI to DVI Convertor
User's manual
2 in 1 Q-connector
Support Disc Drivers
Express Gate
ASUS PC Probe II
ASUS Update
AMD AOD
Anti-virus software (OEM version)
Form Factor ATX Form Factor
12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )



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