Gigabyte GA-MA74GM-S2: AMD 690G, Take 2

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Gigabyte GA-MA74GM-S2 Motherboard: 690G - Take 2

August 28, 2008 by Lawrence Lee

Product Gigabyte GA-MA74GM-S2
AM2/AM2+ Motherboard
Manufacturer Gigabyte
Street Price US$60

The AMD 690G chipset with its Radeon X1250 integrated graphics processor was a breakthrough when it was released almost a year and a half ago. Not only did it perform unusually well with 3D graphics (for an IGP), but it was also more versatile than anything the competition had at the time. AVIVO made high definition playback much easier, SurroundView allowed users to use two displays at once (even with a non-ATI graphics card) and DVI and HDMI outputs were standard features.

The HD3200 IGP that is part of the newer 780G chipset was even more powerful, redefining 3D performance for an onboard video sub-system, and put Intel IGPs to shame. 780G wasn't as revolutionary as its predecessor — for high definition playback and power consumption, our testing showed very little difference. This is a testament to 690G. The 690G is far from obsolete, and AMD seems to realize this as well. Traditionally, older chipsets just get left by the wayside as technology marches on, but this time, AMD has refreshed the 690G with a die-shrink, reducing the fabrication process from 80mm to 65mm, to lower power consumption and reduce production costs. It could very well breathe a little extra life and excitement into a chipset that isn't quite ready for retirement.

The revised chipset has a new name, 740G, though the fabrication process seems to be the only thing that has changed. On paper, it appears virtually identical to 690G so we don't expect any surprises. The board we are looking at today is made by Gigabyte, one of their "S-series" of motherboards positioned as low-cost, value products. As such, it isn't loaded the brim with features like most 780G boards, but it's rare that we find use for all the extra features anyway.

The board ships in a typical, not oversized box.

Box contents.

Gigabyte GA-MA74GM-S2: Specifications (from the product web page)
1. Support for Socket AM2+/ AM2 processors: AMD Phenom™ FX processor/ AMD Phenom™ x4 processor/ AMD Phenom™ x3 processor/ Athlon™X2 processor/ AMD Athlon™ processor/ AMD Sempron™ processor

(Note) If you install AMD AM2+ CPU on AM2 motherbord, the system bus speed will downgrade from HT3.0(5200MHz) to HT1.0(2000 MT/s) spec; however, the frequency of AM2+ CPU will not be impacted. Please refer "CPU Support List" for more information.
Hyper Transport Bus
1. 2000 MT/s
1. North Bridge: AMD 740G
2. South Bridge: AMD SB700
1. 2 x 1.8V DDR2 DIMM sockets supporting up to 8 GB of system memory (Note 1)
2. Dual channel memory architecture
3. Support for DDR2 800/667 MHz memory modules
Onboard Graphics
1. Integrated in the North Bridge
1. Realtek ALC888 codec
2. High Definition Audio
3. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel (Note 2)
4. Support for S/PDIF Out
5. Support for CD In
1. Realtek 8111C chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
Expansion Slots
1. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot
2. 1 x PCI Express x1 slot
3. 2 x PCI slots
Storage Interface
South Bridge:
1. 1 x IDE connector supporting ATA-133/100/66/33 and up to 2 IDE devices
2. 6 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors supporting up to 6 SATA 3Gb/s devices
3. Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1 and RAID 10

iTE IT8718 chip:
1. 1 x floppy disk drive connector supporting up to 1 floppy disk drive
Integrated in the South Bridge 1. Up to 12 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (4 on the back panel, 8 via the USB brackets connected to the internal USB headers)
Internal I/O Connectors
1. 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
2. 1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector
3. 1 x floppy disk drive connector
4. 1 x IDE connector
5. 6 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
6. 1 x CPU fan header
7. 1 x system fan header
8. 1 x front panel header
9. 1 x front panel audio header
10. 1 x CD In connector
11. 1 x S/PDIF In/Out header
12. 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
13. 1 x Serial port header
14. 1 x chassis intrusion header
15. 1 x power LED header
Back Panel Connectors
1. 1 x PS/2 keyboard port
2. 1 x Parallel port
3. 1 x D-Sub port
4. 1 x DVI-D port (Note 3)
5. 1 x coaxial S/PDIF Out connector
6. 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
7. 1 x RJ-45 port
8. 3 x audio jacks (Line In/Line Out/Microphone)
I/O Controller
1. ITE IT8718 chip
H/W Monitoring
System voltage detection 1. CPU/System temperature detection
2. CPU/System fan speed detection
3. CPU overheating warning
4. CPU/System fan fail warning
5. CPU/System fan speed control (Note 4)
1. 1 x 8 Mbit flash
2. Use of licensed AWARD BIOS
3. PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.4, ACPI 1.0b
Unique Features
1. Support for @BIOS
2. Support for Download Center
3. Support for Q-Flash
4. Support for EasyTune (Note 5)
5. Support for Xpress Install
6. Support for Xpress Recovery2
7. Support for Virtual Dual BIOS
Bundle Software
1. Norton Internet Security (OEM version)
Operating System
1. Support for Microsoft Windows Vista/ XP
Form Factor
1. Micro ATX Form Factor; 24.4cm x 23.4cm
1. Due to different Linux support condition provided by chipset vendors, please download Linux driver from chipset vendors' website or 3rd party website.
2. Due to most hardware/software vendors no longer offer support for Win9X/ME. If some vendors still has Win9X/ME drivers available, we will publish on website.
(Note 1) Due to Windows XP 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than 4 GB.
(Note 2) To configure 7.1-channel audio, you need connect with the port of HD Audio standard via front panel and enable the multi-channel audio feature through the audio driver.
(Note 3) The DVI-D port does not support D-Sub connection by adapter.
(Note 4) Whether the CPU/System fan speed control function is supported will depend on the CPU you install.
(Note 5) Available functions in Easytune may differ by motherboard model.

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