Asus M3A78-T: AMD's IGP Gets Another Boost

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TEST METHODOLOGY

Test Setup:

Measurement and Analysis Tools

We determine the overall system power consumption at various states (measured using a Seasonic Power Angel), and test the integrated graphics' proficiency at playing back high definition videos. Standard HD-DVD and Blu Ray discs can be encoded in three different codecs by design: MPEG-2, H.264/AVC and VC-1. MPEG-2 has been around for a number of years and is not demanding on modern system resources. H.264 and VC-1 encoded videos on the other hand, due to the amount of complexity in their compression schemes, are extremely stressful and will not play smoothly (or at all) on slower PCs, especially with antiquated video subsystems.

We use a variety of H.264/VC-1 clips encoded for playback on the PC. The clips are played with PowerDVD 8 and a CPU usage graph is created by the Windows Task Manger for analysis to determine the approximate mean and peak CPU usage. High CPU usage is indicative of poor video decoding ability on the part of the integrated graphics subsystem. If the video (and/or audio) skips or freezes, we conclude the board's IGP (in conjunction with the processor) is adequate to decompress the clip properly.

Cool'n'Quiet was enabled and the following Vista features/services are always disabled during testing to prevent spikes in CPU/HDD usage that are typical of fresh Vista installations:

  • Microsoft Defender
  • Windows Sidebar
  • Indexing
  • Superfetch
  • Aero interface

Video Test Suite



1080p | 24fps | ~10mbps
H.264: Rush Hour 3 Trailer 1 is encoded in H.264 with Apple Quicktime.


1080p | 24fps | ~7.5mbps
WMV3: Coral Reef Adventure trailer is encoded in VC-1 using the WMV3 codec (commonly recognized by the moniker, "HD WMV").


720p | 60fps | ~12mbps
WVC1: Microsoft Flight Simulator X trailer is encoded in VC-1. It is encoded using the Windows Media Video 9 Advanced Profile (aka WVC1) codec — a much more demanding implementation of VC-1.


1920x1080 | 24fps | ~19mbps
WVC1: Drag Race is a recording of a scene from network television re-encoded with TMPGEnc using the WVC1 codec. It is the most demanding clip in our test suite.



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