Asus M4A78-HTPC/RC: A Complete HTPC Solution?

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TEST RESULTS

Our test system is fairly basic, featuring a X2 4850e (a budget dual core processor with a low 45W TDP) cooled by an Alpine 64 cooler, a single 1GB stick of Corsair memory, an Asus Blu-ray drive and a 5400RPM notebook hard drive, all powered by an 80 Plus OEM Seasonic 400W power supply.

Test Results: X2 4850e @ 2.5GHz (C&Q)
Test State
Mean
CPU
Peak
CPU
System Power
Idle
N/A
34W
Rush Hour
(H.264)
10%
17%
56W
Coral Reef
(WMV-HD)
45%
54%
58W
Drag Race
(VC-1)
75%
84%
72W
Disturbia
(Blu-ray H.264)
32%
43%
68W
CPU Load
N/A
88W
CPU + GPU
Load
N/A
96W

The M4A78-HTPC/RC is one of the more energy-efficient AMD motherboards we've tested. Our test system idled at only 34W, and stayed under 60W when playing H.264 and WMV-HD. VC-1 and Blu-ray playback pushed it closer to 70W. Power draw with the CPU fully stressed was 88W with another 8W on top when the IGP was pushed. As the HD 3200 IGP is still formidable by today's standards, it passed our playback tests with relative ease, only being challenged by our high bitrate, high resolution 1080p VC-1 clip.

Comparables
Test State
Asus
M3A78 Pro
Asus
M4A78-HTPC
Gigabyte
GA-MA74GM-S2
Mean CPU
System Power
Mean
CPU
System Power
Mean
CPU
System Power
Idle
N/A
39W
N/A
34W
N/A
31W
Rush Hour
(H.264)
6%
64W
10%
56W
42%
58W
Coral Reef
(WMV-HD)
42%
65W
45%
58W
37%
58W
Drag Race
(VC-1)
73%
69W
75%
72W
69%
66W
CPU Load
N/A
82W
N/A
88W
N/A
92W
CPU + GPU Load
N/A
94W
N/A
96W
N/A
97W

As it turns out, the M4A78-HTPC/RC is among the lowest power AMD boards we've encountered, coming close to matching the Gigabyte's 740G-based board in idle power consumption. Power draw on load was also excellent, as most of the AM2+ mainboards we've tested use more than 90W when the CPU is stressed, and sometimes 100W+ or more when the GPU is put on load as well.

CPU usage during video playback, as expected, was similar to the M3A78 Pro, another of Asus' 780G motherboards, though the M4A78-HTPC/RC used less energy during playback with the 1080p VC-1 clip being the exception.



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