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

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With effective third party heatsinks on the market, and many low power CPUs available, overclocking, to an extent, can improve performance without compromising the noise level of a silent PC. A simple overclocking investigation was conducted with the CPU multiplier set to 5x and RAM at 533Mhz/2.10V. The CPU frequency was increased in increments of 5Mhz/10Mhz until the system failed a 5 minute run of Prime95 with ATITool 3DView running simultaneously or failed to boot or showed other signs of instability.

The maximum FSB overclock with our X2 4850e.

Our sample board and processor could take a maximum frequency boost of 255Mhz, or 28% above stock. No graphical anamolies were detected by ATITool suggesting the overclock did not compromise the video subsystem. With ample voltage applied to our X2 4850e processor, we managed to get it stable at 2.93Ghz using a 11.5x multiplier.


To get a rough estimate of how well the HD2100 GPU plays games, we ran 3DMark05/06. As a synthetic benchmark, it has limited value, but it should give you a good idea of how well it performs.

3D Performance: Futuremark Comparison
(X1250 IGP)
Gigabyte MA74GM-S2
(X2100 IGP)
Asus M3N78 Pro
(GF8300 IGP)
Gigabyte MA78GM-2SH
(HD3200 IGP)
Gigabyte MA78GM-2SH
(HD3450 256MB)
All systems equipped with 2GB of system RAM and 256MB of VRAM assigned for IGPs.

As you can see there was very little improvement over the X1250 IGP. While you may look at the results and think, "HD3200 is twice as fast," keep in mind that none of the current integrated GPUs on the market are a match for even a $30 discrete graphics card such as the Radeon HD3450.


To test how well the chipset heatsinks performed, we overclocked the CPU frequency to 255Mhz, and lowered CPU cooling fan's voltage to 7V to reduce the amount of top down airflow the board received. After 20 minutes of stressing the system with CPUBurn, the northbridge heatsink reached 61°C according to an IR thermometer — hot enough that three seconds of direct skin contact was too much to handle. The southbridge cooler on the otherhand was only mildly warm, registering only 48°C. The power regulation circuitry to the left of the CPU socket also got extremely hot — a few of them registered between 90°C and 95°C. This suggests that efficiency drops at higher load; the board drew more power during full load testing than the 690G and 780G boards.

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