Asus M4A78T-E AM3 motherboard

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Asus M4A78T-E: An AM3 Mainboard

April 4, 2009 by Lawrence Lee

Products Asus M4A78T-E AM3 Motherboard
Manufacturer ASUSTeK
Street Price
US$150 (Click to check current price)

At the beginning of the year, AMD made serious strides to catch up to rival Intel by launching their Phenom II line of CPUs. Though AMD's new socket, AM3, was just around the corner, these chips were released in the familiar AM2+ package, rather than straight to AM3. The fact that AM3 processors are backwards compatible with AM2+ made the move even more baffling.

AM3 is finally here, and there isn't a lot to explain. To say it is a "platform change" is a bit generous — the only thing new AM3 brings to the table is support for DDR3 memory. You may remember that when DDR2 memory started showing up, there was no performance advantage over DDR. Though DDR2 ran at higher frequencies, this was mitigated by higher latencies. DDR3 suffers from all the same issues, so we're reluctant to say its a good time to switch.


The package.

We are looking here at the Asus M4A78T-E, an AM3 ATX motherboard based on the 790GX/SB750 chipset. It is another feature-rich board with integrated graphics, CrossFireX, and of course, support for the latest AMD processors. Currently only three AM3 processors are widely available, all belonging to the Phenom II family: the triple-core X3 710 and 720 running at 2.6GHz and 2.8GHz respectively, and the quad-core X4 810 clocked at 2.6GHz. We will use a X3 720 Black Edition, and given its backwards compatibility, plop it into an AM2+ board to see if there is any practical difference.


Just the bare essentials.


Asus M4A78T-E: Specifications (from the product web page)
CPU AMD Socket AM3 Phenom™ II/Athlon™ X4/Athlon™ X3/Athlon™ X2 Processors
AMD Cool 'n' Quiet™ Technology
Supports 45nm CPU
AMD 140W CPU Support
Chipset AMD 790GX/SB750
System Bus Up to 5200 MT/s HyperTransport™ 3.0
Memory 4 x DIMM, Max. 16 GB, DDR3 1600(O.C.)/1333/1066 ECC,Non-ECC,Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel memory architecture
*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 www.asus.com for the memory QVL (Qualified Vendors Lists).
Expansion Slots 2 x PCIe 2.0 x16 support ATI CrossFireX™ technology, at full x16 or dual x8 link
2 x PCIe x1
2 x PCI 2.2
VGA Integrated ATI Radeon™ HD 3300 GPU
SidePort Memory - onboard 128MB DDR3 1333 memory
- 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
- Hybrid CrossFireX™ Support
- Dual independent displays support with HDMI / DVI and D-Sub
- Supports Microsoft® DirectX 10, OpenGL 2.0, Shader Model 4.0
- Hardware Decode Acceleration for H.264,VC-1, and MPEG-2
- Maximum shared memory of 512MB
Storage SB750 Chipset
1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 for up to 2 PATA devices
5 x SATA 3 Gb/s ports Support RAID 0,1,5,10,JBOD
1 x eSATA 3Gb/s port *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. For more information, please refer to http://support.microsoft.com/kb/946557/en-us
LAN Atheros® L1E Gigabit LAN controller featuring AI NET 2
Audio VIA® VT1708S 8 -Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
- Supports Jack-Detection, Multi-Streaming, and Front Panel Jack-Retasking
- Optical S/PDIF Out ports at back I/O
- ASUS Noise Filtering
IEEE 1394 VIA® VT6315N controller supports 2 x 1394a ports (1 at mid-board; 1 at back panel)
USB 12 USB 2.0 ports (6 ports at mid-board, 6 ports at back panel)
ASUS Unique Features ASUS Power Solutions:
- 8+1 Phase Power Design
- ASUS Anti-Surge Protection
ASUS Green Design:
- EPU
- ASUS AI Nap
Express Gate
ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution:
- ASUS Fanless Design: Stylish heat sink solution
- ASUS Q-Fan2
ASUS EZ DIY:
- ASUS Q-Shield
- ASUS Q-Connector
- ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
- ASUS O.C. Profile
- ASUS EZ Flash 2
Overclocking Features Intelligent overclocking tools
- AI Overclocking (intelligent CPU frequency tuner)
- TurboV
- Turbo Key
Precision Tweaker 2
- vDIMM: 50 -step DRAM voltage control
- vCore: Adjustable CPU voltage at 0.0125V increment
- vChipset (N.B.): 16-step voltage control
SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection)
- FSB tuning from 200MHz up to 600MHz at 1MHz increment
- PCI Express frequency tuning from 100MHz up to 150MHz at 1MHz increment
Overclocking Protection
- ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
Special Features 100% All High-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors! (VRM 5000hrs lifespan @105°C, 500,000hrs @65°C)
ASUS MyLogo 2
AMD OverDrive Support*
*Advanced cooling system is required when advanced overclock functions of AMD OverDrive are enabled.
Back Panel I/O Ports 1 x DVI
1 x D-Sub
1 x HDMI
1 x External SATA
1 x S/PDIF Out (Optical)
1 x IEEE 1394a
1 x LAN(RJ45) port
6 x USB 2.0/1.1
8-Channel Audio I/O
1 x PS/2 Keyboard port (Purple)
Internal I/O Connectors 3 x USB connectors (6 ports)
1 x Floppy disk drive connector
1 x IDE connector
5 x SATA connectors
1 x IEEE 1394a connector
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
Chassis Intrusion connector
1 x COM connector
CD audio in
24-pin ATX Power connector
4-pin ATX 12V Power connector
System Panel (Q-Connector)
BIOS 8 Mb Flash ROM
AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.3, ACPI 2.0a, ASUS EZ Flash 2, ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
Manageability WOL by PME,WOR by PME,WOR by Ring,Chasis Intrusion,PXE
Accessories 1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
4 x SATA cables
1 x Q-Shield
1 x User's manual
2 in 1 Q-connector (USB, System panel; Retail version only)
*The floppy disk drive cable is purchased separately.
Support Disc Drivers
ASUS PC Probe II
Express Gate
ASUS AI Suite
Anti-virus software (OEM version)
ASUS Update
AMD OverDrive Utility (AOD)
Form Factor ATX Form Factor
12 inch x9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )



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