MSI KA760GM: 780G Minus the HD

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FINAL THOUGHTS

MSI's implementation of 760G is fairly power efficient when paired with a 45W processor, nearly matching the record idle power consumption of Gigabyte's 740G board. When used with a Phenom II however, the KA760GM is not as graceful, drawing much more power than Gigabyte's 790GX board and heating up the VRMs to unsettling levels. From a silent computing angle, it is lacking in other areas as well. The BIOS the board shipped does not allow for CPU voltage control, meaning no undervolting. In addition, its fan control system is jarringly reactive and can only control one PWM fan.

AMD's 760G chipset is a bit of an odd duck. It is essentially based on 780G but stripped of HD playback capability. We never expected to run into a new chipset that lacked this ability — we had come to believe that it would be standard from now on. The absence of UVD/Avivo HD will be a deal breaker for many users. The only demographic that suits 760G is composed of casual gamers with no interest in HD video who would be satisfied with the level of 3D performance provided by the IGP. Once a discrete graphics card is introduced, the only discernible advantage 760G has over 740G is the ability to do Hybrid Crossfire.

Price is also an issue 760G has to overcome — early 760G boards are showing up in North America with price tags of between $60 and $70 USD. The cheaper ECS/Foxconn 780G models retail for $70 and Gigabyte's 740G board can be found for as low as $55, putting the KA760GM and its brethren in a very tight spot.

MSI KA760GM
PROS

* Low power consumption when paired with a 45W CPU
* 3D performance on par with 780G

CONS

* High Phenom II power consumption and temperatures
* Lacks H.264/VC-1 acceleration
* Restrictive BIOS — no undervolting
* Poor fan control capabilities

Our thanks to MSI for the motherboard sample.

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