Asus M3A78 Pro: An ATX 780G Motherboard

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FINAL THOUGHTS

The Asus M3A78 Pro has a lot going for it. 780G high definition playback remains solid, and under heavy load, the board boasts much lower power consumption than the Gigabyte 780G board we reviewed. The M3A78 Pro allows two fans to be controlled, though the Q-FAN profiles exhibit very primitive behavior. Luckily, in Windows, they can be controlled via SpeedFan. For power users, it overclocks extremely well, especially considering there is an onboard graphics chip present. Express Gate is a simple, yet effective tool if you're in a rush — a one minute bootup sequence can seem like an eternity when all you want to do is check the weather.

However, there are several unresolved issues that left us nonplussed. While the inability to run 3DMark and a slightly distorted HDMI image we can live with, the inability to POST following BIOS changes, and Cool-N-Quiet being disabled in Vista when H.264 video is played are extremely annoying bugs. Individually, they may seem like minor problems but when they coexist together, it makes us wonder what else doesn't work properly. All these issues arose during only a single day of testing.

In comparison, the nVidia 8300 chipset Asus M3N78 Pro had only one minor HDMI issue, a slightly zoomed-in image — everything else worked almost perfectly. It does not overclock as well, and its power consumption is worse at high load, but in all other regards, it is less buggy product. These issues need to be resolved, perhaps with updates in the BIOS, before it can earn our full recommendation. The M3A78 Pro may be the better hardware, but it's hard to tell with so many blemishes.

PROS

* Good high definition playback
* Low power consumption especially under heavy load
* Excellent overclocker
* Express Gate convenient for simple tasks
CONS

* Several miscellaneous bugs/issues




Our thanks to Asus for the M3A78 Pro sample.

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