AMD 785G based motherboards have been flooding the
PCSTATS test bench lately, but most of the platforms have been the DDR3
variety. The Gigabyte GA-MA785G-UD3H motherboard mixes things up a little
and nicely illustrates the flexibility of AMD's Phenom II and Athlon II
processors - DDR3 and DDR2 memory compatibility. Instead of using the
socket AM3 / DDR3 mix, the Gigabyte GA-MA785G-UD3H is built with
a versatile socket AM2+ CPU and DDR2 memory. You'll recall that
AM3 processors like the Phenom II are backwards compatible with AM2+, and AM2
processors like the Athlon 64/Phenom are right
at home in it.
In other words, the Gigabyte GA-MA785G-UD3H motherboard is a great upgrade
platform for anyone with an existing socket AM2 AMD processor who wants to
take advantage of the new HD decoding and on board HDMI options the AMD 785G
chipset brings to the table.
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AMD's excellent upgrade paths mean the GA-MA785G-UD3H
motherboard will support AMD Sempron, Athlon, Athlon II, Phenom and Phenom II
processors; in short socket AM2, AM2+ and AM3 CPUs. The board has four memory
slots that accommodate up to 8GB of DDR2 800/1066/1333(OC) MHz memory.
However, beyond broad
CPU and cheap DDR2 memory compatibility, the real power of the Gigabyte
GA-MA785G-UD3H is the AMD 785G chipset and Radeon HD 4200 integrated graphics at
ATI's Radeon HD 4200 IGP is an evolved form of the
Radeon HD 3200 found in the AMD 780G
chipset. The main difference is the HD 4200 now supports DirectX 10.1 and
Shader Model 4.1. ATI Stream has been brought into the fold so graphics hardware can be
harnessed to power certain applications too. The Gigabyte GA-MA785G-UD3H has the
three most important video outputs on board: HDMI, DVI and VGA. There's
even support for higher-bandwidth HDMI 1.3 thanks to the Radeon HD 4200's
new video controller.
Driver CD, (2) SATA cables, I/O Shield, IDE
Chipsets: AMD 785G / AMD
CPU Support: AMD socket
Memory Type: Dual Channel
Videocard Support: (1) PCI Express
Integrated Graphics: Yes (HDMI,
Gigabyte's GA-MA785G-UD3H motherboard is built around the AMD 785G and AMD
SB710 southbridge, so it includes six 3GB/s SATA ports with RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and
JBOD functionality. One IDE and FDD connector support legacy PATA devices. In
term of peripheral expansion, the GA-MA785G-UD3H is equipped with one PCI
Express 2.0 x16 slot and one PCI Express x4 slot (in pink), three PCI Express x1
slots and a pair of legacy PCI slots.
Care of the AMD SB710 the board offers up twelve USB 2.0 ports, six of which are located at
mid-board, and another six on the rear I/O panel. Other I/O panel connectors
include a IEEE 1394a Firewire port, a gigabit networking port, a PS2 mouse/keyboard
port, as well as optical S/PDIF, 8-channel stereo output and of course the
HDMI, DVI and VGA video outputs.
Gigabyte's GA-MA785G-UD3H motherboard retails for about
$90 CDN, ($85 USD, 50 GBP), which makes it quite affordable for a motherboard with
this many features.
We'll see how it compares to other Socket AM2+ motherboards and some of the
competition's AMD 785G chipset motherboards in a moment, first let's get
familiar with the Gigabyte GA-MA785G-UD3H's layout...