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

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COOLING

To test how well the chipset heatsinks performed, we overclocked the CPU frequency to 220Mhz, 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 70°C according to an IR thermometer — hot enough that one second of direct skin contact was too much to handle. The southbridge cooler on the otherhand was only mildly warm, registering 50°C. The heatsink cooling the power regulation circuitry was also quite cool at only 60°C. Compared to previous boards, these results are quite good.

3D PERFORMANCE

To get a rough estimate of how well the HD3300 GPU plays games, we attempted to run 3DMark05/06. Unfortunately, we were unable to get either program to run. When 3Dmark was loaded, the GUI would not appear and mouse movement became choppy before Vista reported the application was not responding. We tried three different sets of Catalyst drivers to no avail.

Other sources on the web seem to indicate that HD3300 performs very well, better than any previous IGP. Neoseeker reported that the IGP managed to outpace the HD 3450 discrete graphics card in some benchmarks, and AMDZone found that HD3300 had a 30-40% advantage compared to HD3200. With the power consumption numbers resulting from our own testing, we anticipated it would be the most powerful onboard graphics subsystem ever, and these reports seem to confirm our expectations.

HDMI OUTPUT


The HDMI output on our Asus MK241H 24" (1920x1200) LCD monitor.

Previously we had many problems testing HDMI on a BenQ 19" LCD. The signal would frequently be blurry, distorted, overscanned, or at the wrong resolution. Now, we have a new Asus MK241H 1920x1200 monitor and the results are much more promising. The video signal was perfect, indistinguishable from DVI, and the audio passed through without any difficulties, though the monitor only supports stereo sound. The chipset is supposed to support Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 configurations as well.



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