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

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Asus M4A78-HTPC/RC

May 31, 2009 by Lawrence Lee

Product Asus M4A78-HTPC/RC
AMD AM2+ Motherboard
Manufacturer ASUSTeK
Street Price US$??

More than a year after its launch, AMD's 780G chipset has lost a bit of its luster. In computer time, it has become just about venerable. Though no longer the exciting, game-changing IGP it once was, HD 3200 has aged well, being favored today as an affordable base for budget PCs, and for media centers. When it comes to home theater PCs, there are few, if any reasons to use a more expensive chipset like 790GX. All a HTPC really needs is good high definition video/audio playback and plenty of digital outputs.

The box.

Asus decided to capitalize on this notion by releasing a board specifically aimed at the HTPC market. The M4A78-HTPC/RC is an AM2+ motherboard based on the 780G chipset and ships with an IR remote and receiver. The remote is to interface with "Home Theater Gate," the Asus equivalent of Media Center. A few extra features are also thrown in an attempt to appeal to audiophiles including gold-plated RCA connectors, an auxiliary power connector for the audio system that Asus claims will reduce electrical noise, and "DTS Surround Sensation" which simulates multi-channel sound on stereo speakers and headphones. Asus also sells the M4A78-HTPC, the same board minus the remote.


Asus M4A78-HTPC/RC: Specifications (from the product web page)
CPU AMD Socket AM2+ / AM2 Phenom™ X4/Phenom™ X3/Athlon™ /Athlon™ X2/Sempron™ Processors
Support AM3 Phenom™ II / Athlon™ X4 / Athlon™ X3 / Athlon™ X2 Processors
AMD Cool 'n' Quiet™ Technology
Support 45nm CPU
Chipset AMD 780G/SB700
System Bus Up to 5200 MT/s for AM3 /AM2+ CPU
2000 / 1600 MT/s for AM2 CPU
HyperTransport™ 3.0
Memory 4 x DIMM, Max. 16 GB, DDR2 1066/800/667 ECC,Non-ECC,Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel memory architecture
*Due to AMD CPU limitation, DDR2 1066 is supported by AM3/AM2+ CPU for one DIMM per channel only.
**Due to OS limitation, when installing total memory of 4GB capacity or more, Windows® 32-bit operation system may only recognize less than 3GB. Hence, a total installed memory of less than 3GB is recommended.
***Refer to or the user manual for the Memory QVL (Qualified Vendors Lists)
Expansion Slots 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16
2 x PCIe x1
1 x PCI 2.2
VGA Integrated ATI Radeon™ HD 3200 GPU
Max. shared memory: 256 MB
- Supports HDMI™ Technology with max. resolution up to 1920 x 1200 (1080P)
- Supports Dual-link DVI with max. resolution up to 2560x1600 @60Hz
- Supports D-Sub with max. resolution up to 2560x1440 @75Hz for 16:9 format
- Hybrid CrossFireX™ Support
- Dual independent displays support with HDMI/DVI and D-Sub
- Supports Microsoft® DirectX 10, OpenGL 2.0, Pixel Shader 4.0
- Hardware Decode Acceleration for H.264, VC-1, and MPEG-2
Storage SB700 Chipset
1 xUltraDMA 133/100/66 for up to 2 PATA devices
5 xSATA 3 Gb/s ports Support RAID 0,1,10
1 x external SATA 3Gb/s ports ** Due to the Windows XP/ Vista limitation, the RAID array with the total capacity over 2TB cannot be set as a boot disk. A RAID array over 2TB can only be set as a data disk only.
LAN Atheros L1E Gigabit LAN controller featuring AI NET 2
Audio 8 -Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
- Supports Jack-Detection, Multi-Streaming
- Coaxial and Optical S/PDIF Out ports at back I/O
- DTS Surround Sensation Ultra PC
- 2-ch Gold-plated RCA output at back I/O
- ASUS Noise Filtering
USB 10 USB 2.0 ports (6 ports at mid-board, 4 ports at back panel)
ASUS Unique Features ASUS HTPC Features
- ASUS Absolute Pitch Hi-Fi
- ASUS Home Theater Gate
- ASUS Tranquil Mode (for AM3/AM2+ CPU only)
- DTS Surround Sensation Ultra PC
ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution
- ASUS Fanless Design: Soundwave Heat-sink solution
ASUS Express Gate
- ASUS Q-Connector
- ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
- ASUS EZ Flash 2
- ASUS MyLogo 2
Overclocking Features Precision Tweaker
- vCore: Adjustable CPU voltage at 0.05V increment
SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection)
- FSB tuning from 200MHz up to 550MHz at 1MHz increment
- PCI Express frequency tuning from 100MHz up to 150MHz at 1MHz increment
- GPU tuning from 500MHz up to 999MHz
Overclocking Protection
- ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
Back Panel I/O Ports 1 x DVI
1 x D-Sub
1 x HDMI
1 x External SATA
4 x USB 2.0/1.1
8 -Channel Audio I/O
1 x Coaxial S/PDIF Out
1 x Optical S/PDIF Out
2-ch RCA audio output connectors
Internal I/O Connectors 3 x USB connectors (6 ports)
1 x IDE connector
5 x SATA connectors
1 x CPU Fan connector
2 x Chassis Fan connector
1 x Power Fan connector
1 x S/PDIF Out connector
Front panel audio connector
System Panel
CD audio in
24-pin ATX Power connector
4-pin ATX 12V Power connector
4-pin ATX 12V Audio power connector
BIOS 8 Mb Flash ROM
AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.5, ACPI 2.0, ASUS EZ Flash 2
Accessories User's manual
1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
1 x SATA cable
I/O Shield
2 in 1 Q-connector (USB, System panel; Retail version only)
ASUS Home Theater Gate Remote Controller set
Support Disc Drivers
Express Gate
Anti-virus software (OEM version)
ASUS Update
ASUS Home Theater Gate
Form Factor uATX Form Factor
9.6 inch x 9.6 inch ( 24.4 cm x 24.4 cm )

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