MSI KA760GM: 780G Minus the HD

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TEST RESULTS

Our test system is fairly basic, featuring a X2 4850e, a mid-level dual core processor with a low 45W TDP cooled by a stock AMD heatpipe cooler connected to a variable DC fan controller so the fan's power draw does not come into play. The rest of the system consists of a single stick of Corsair memory, an Asus Blu-ray drive, a 5400RPM notebook hard drive and an OEM Seasonic 400W power supply. The operating system used is Vista Home Premium SP1 (32-bit).

Test Results: X2 4850e @ 2.5GHz (C&Q)
Test State
Mean
CPU
Peak
CPU
System Power
Off
N/A
1W
Sleep (S3)
N/A
2W
Idle
N/A
33W
Rush Hour
(H.264)
58%
80%
63W
Coral Reef
(WMV-HD)
42%
50%
61W
Drag Race
(VC-1)
75%
82%
70W
Disturbia*
(Blu-ray H.264)
97%
100%
79W
CPU Load
N/A
91W
CPU + GPU
Load
N/A
101W
*2GB of system memory required for Blu-ray playback.
Grey boxes indicate test failure.

Video playback on the KA760GM was disappointing due to what may be a complete lack of hardware decoding/acceleration. CPU usage and power consumption were a lot higher than we are used to seeing. The Drag Race clip failed to render properly, exhibiting audio clipping and dropped frames. We did manage to get Blu-ray playback functioning, but only when an additional 1GB of system memory was added. Our test movie, the H.264 encoded Disturbia, played surprisingly smooth despite very high CPU utilization. It appears that the CPU alone is enough for H.264, but we suspect playback would have been problematic if we used a VC-1 encoded Blu-ray disc.

Comparison: MSI (760G) vs. Gigabyte (740G)
Test State
KA760GM
GA-MA74GM-S2
Mean
CPU
System Power
Mean
CPU
System Power
Idle
N/A
33W
N/A
31W
Rush Hour
(H.264)
58%
63W
42%
58W
Coral Reef
(WMV-HD)
42%
61W
37%
58W
Drag Race
(VC-1)
75%
70W
69%
66W
CPU Load
N/A
91W
N/A
92W
Grey boxes indicate test failure.

Despite AMD's claims that the 760G chipset features ATI Avivo, the KA760GM performed noticeably poorer compared to Gigabyte's 740G board (which also features Avivo). The GA-MA74GM-S2 managed to render the Drag Race VC-1 clip which the KA760GM failed to play properly, and also posted better CPU usage and power consumption figures.

Phenom II Power Consumption

Performance with a 45W chip is only half the story. To get the other side, we upgraded the test system with a 125W Phenom II, 2GB of RAM, and a ZEROtherm Zen CPU cooler.

Power Consumption: Phenom II X4 940
Test State
790GP-DS4H
KA760GM
Idle
57W
79W
VC-1
79W
105W
CPU Load
(2 cores)
122W
126W
CPU Load
(4 cores)
166W
173W
CPU + GPU
Load
176W
190W
Systems configured with 2GB of RAM and 256MB IGP memory.

When paired with a Phenom II X4 940, the KA760GM was very inefficient compared to a premium board like the 790GX-powered Gigabyte GA-MA790GP-DS4H. We suspect that its power regulation was designed to be optimal for cheaper, low TDP chips as 760G is meant for entry-level systems. Phenom II does work out of the box, but it's not an ideal combination if power consumption is an issue.



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