EVO motherboard is a worthy implementation of the AMD 785G chipset, which in
turn is a refinement of the original AMD 780G chipset, a long-time favorite
around the PCSTATS offices. The AMD
785G chipset introduces the Radeon HD 4200 IGP which is DirectX 10.1 and
Shader Model 4.1 compatible. This means it's compatible with pretty much every
game on the market, as well as being able to run all of the cool new graphics
features in Microsoft Windows 7. It also improves hardware acceleration of
desktop applications through ATI Stream and better compatibility for Unified
Video Decoder 2.0.
We found that the performance of the Radeon HD 4200 IGP
hasn't improved noticeably compared to that of the Radeon HD 3200 IGP,
so today's 3D games still aren't playable over IGP graphics. If
you are interested in gaming, do yourself a favour and pick up a mainstream
The real strength of the Radeon HD 4200 comes from
better support for hardware-accelerated HD video decoding and improvements to
ATI Stream, which lets the IGP do desktop processing for certain graphically
intensive applications, like Adobe Acrobat reader. The ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO has a
solid feature set that's on par with Intel and NVIDIA's mainstream motherboards,
and beats out pretty much anything else in its class.
The ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO is Socket AM3,
DDR3-exclusive motherboard. Thanks to its dual PCI Express x16 slots (x16/x4
bandwidth), and mixture of PCI Express x1 and legacy PCI slots, there's lots of
room for expansion. The M4A785TD-V EVO also has support for 16GB of DDR3 memory
(at speeds of 1066/1333, 1600/1800(OC)), and five SATA II ports in RAID 0/1/0+1
and JBOD modes.
All of this room for growth makes the M4A785TD-V EVO is
suitable for an economy-minded home PC, or in an office environment where
maximizing value-for-money is important. It's also easy to add in a mainstream
videocard (like the Geforce GTS 250 used in this
review) for some decent gaming performance.
Overclocking the IGP comes coare of ASUS NOS, and in
these tests PCSTATS was easily able to boost clock speeds from the default
500MHz clock to 775MHz. This had a positive impact on IGP performance in
3DMark06, but given the limitiation of IGP-based gaming it doesn't translate
into a revelation of 3D gaming performance. Still, it's nice to see ASUS empower
its users with a broad set of overclocking tools for those that demand them.
The ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO motherboards and the AMD 785
chipset aren't revolutionary new products that will change the way you compute
(although with ATI Stream they're definitely getting close...), but they are
notable for bringing high-end features to much lower price points than you'd
expect. The AMD 785G chipset is head and shoulders above Intel's G41 chipset,
which competes at the same $95 CDN, ($90 USD, £55 GBP) price point. If you're
looking for a cost-effective way to get a full-featured motherboard with a lot
of potential for upgrades thanks to DDR3 and Socket AM3 compatibility, the ASUS
M4A785TD-V EVO is a good bet.
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