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ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO AMD 785G Chipset Motherboard Review

ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO AMD 785G Chipset Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO motherboard is an AMD 785G platform built with Home Theatre PC and High Definition media applications in mind. Key to its allure are a trifecta of video outputs.
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: ASUS Nov 28 2009   Julian Apong  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO

High-Definition Content playback and ATI Stream testing

No one can deny that high definition content has been warmly embraced, but what with the success of Blue Ray, today's mainstream media center PCs need HD decoding acceleration like never before. AMD Unified Video Decoder 2 directs HD playback decoding to the integrated Radeon HD 4200 GPU, rather than to the AMD processor, allowing the system to playback VC-1, MPEG-2 and H.264 content up to 1080p resolution with less CPU usage. On the rear I/O of the ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO motherboard there are HDMI, DVI-D and analog VGA connectors. The DVI and HDMI ports are HDCP compliant, while the latter supports audio streams.

Overall, all HD playback was smooth and uninterrupted, and showed no visible artifacting or visual anomalies. First up are the Blu-Ray playback tests and then HDD based HD 720p/1080i content playback. The goal of both rounds of testing is low overall CPU utilization.

Blu-Ray Disc HD Playback

Blu-Ray High Definition content demands a lot of PC processing resources during playback, if CPU load becomes too high that can lead to jittery video quality or other artifacts. Many integrated graphics processors now feature Blu-Ray and High Definition H.264, VC1 and M-PEG2 content acceleration decoders to offload this processing from the CPU, freeing up system resources for other tasks.

The PCSTATS Blu-Ray HD content playback test scenario monitors average CPU utilization. It's simple and to the point. The motherboard's integrated graphics processor is taxed in the same way it would be in your home theatre environment, and average percent CPU utilization monitored with Windows task manager. Lower CPU utilization values are best, provided video playback remains smooth and stutter free.

How PCSTATS Tests: Each integrated graphics motherboard is connected to an ASUS MK241 wide screen 1920x1200 (1080P) resolution LCD display with an HDMI cable. The Blu-Ray movie "10,000 BC" (VC1 encrypted) is then played back from Chapter 22 on an ASUS BC-1205PT Blu-ray combo drive, using WinDVD Platinum software and the average fluctuation of CPU load recorded. Lower results are better.

PCSTATS Benchmark ReportBlu-Ray Content Playback Tests (BR-DVD)
Integrated Graphics Solution: % CPU Utilization Ranking
Intel GMA X4500HD 32 - 38%
AMD HD 4200 7 - 10%
AMD HD 3300 6 - 14%
Nforce 750a 18 - 20%

Under testing we found that Blu-Ray playback wasn't a huge tax on the AMD 785G chipset. While Intel's G45 chipset paired with a Core 2 Duo E6750 stayed at around 30 to 40% CPU load, the AMD 785G chipset stayed consistently under 10% load while playing back high-def content.Watching Blu-ray movies over the ASUS motherboard's HDMI connection was flawless.

Hard Drive HD 720p/1080i Playback

Playing high definition content on current generation PCs can bog down even the fastest processors because there is more data to handle. To test the integrated graphics processor's capabilities at HD content accelerating capabilities, we played the High Definition video clip, "The Discoverers" at 720P and 1080i from the hard drive while monitoring the percentage of CPU utilization through Task Manager. Lower results are better.

PCSTATS Benchmark ReportHDD 720p/1080i Video Playback (Discoverers Video Clip)
720P (Avg): %CPU Utilization Ranking
ASUS P5Q-EM (IGP G45) 9
Gigabyte MA-785GMT-UD2H (IGP HD 4200) 10
ASUS M4A785TD-V Evo (IGP HD 4200) 10
ASUS M4A78T-E (IGP HD 3300) 17
ECS A780GM-A (IGP HD 3200) 30
Foxconn A690GM2MA-RS2H (IGP 3000) 35
Biostar Tpower N750 (IGP nF 750a) 24
Biostar TF8200 A2+ (IGP GF 8200) 60
1080i (Avg): %CPU Utilization Ranking
ASUS P5Q-EM (Onboard G45 ) 12
Gigabyte MA-785GMT-UD2H (IGP HD 4200)

15

ASUS M4A785TD-V Evo (IGP HD 4200) 16
ASUS M4A78T-E (onboard HD 3300 video) 20
ECS A780GM-A (Onboard HD 3200 Video 53
Foxconn A690GM2MA-RS2H (Onboard Video) 49
Biostar Tpower N750 (onboard nF 750a video) 18
Biostar TF8200 A2+ (onboard GF 8200 video) 64

Again, CPU utilization here on the ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO system is minimal. High Definition video will have no problem playing back on this hardware, even if the CPU is replaced by a CPU like the Athlon II X4 620. This all thanks to hardware accelerated decoding.

ATI Stream and Hardware acceleration on the desktop

To test out hardware acceleration of the desktop under ATI Stream, we used Cyberlink's MediaShow Espresso. It's a transcoding program that can take advantage of both CPUs and GPUs in order to convert video files from one format to another. MediaShow Espresso has a very simple interface for adding new files and several transcoding presets to make it easy to get your videos formatted properly.

We tested MediaShow Espresso with the trailer for Pixar's Up! The original file format was a 1920x1080 Quicktime.MOV file, encoded in H.264-avc1. We transcoded the file into a 1080p mpeg-2 file using just an Athlon II X2 250 CPU first, and then the Radeon HD 4200 IGP GPU.

Hardware

.MOV Transcode Time

Athlon II X2 250 (with Radeon HD 4200 IGP, no hardware acceleration)

2:59

Athlon II X2 250 (with Radeon HD 4200 IGP, hardware decoding enabled)

2:55

Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition (with discrete graphics, no hardware acceleration)

2:14

Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition (with Radeon HD 4200 IGP, no hardware acceleration)

2:12

Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition (with Radeon HD 4200 IGP hardware decoding enabled)

1:49

As you can see, both the CPU and GPU work together in these instances to accelerate encoding performance. While the Radeon HD 4200 IGP on the ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO isn't dramatically decreasing encoding times, it is shaving off a few seconds off every encode. The faster the processor, the more pronounced the effect of having hardware accelerated decoding becomes.

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Contents of Article: ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO
 Pg 1.  ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO AMD 785G Chipset Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  AMD 785G and Stream GPU Acceleration
 Pg 3.  ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO Motherboard Highlights
 Pg 4.  — High-Definition Content playback and ATI Stream testing
 Pg 5.  Overclocking the Motherboard and IGP, BIOS Screenshots
 Pg 6.  Power Draw Tests, Test System Specs
 Pg 7.  Motherboard Benchmarks: SYSmark 2007, Sandra 2009
 Pg 8.  Motherboard Benchmarks: PCMark Vantage
 Pg 9.  Motherboard IGP Benchmarks: 3DMark06
 Pg 10.  Motherboard IGP Benchmarks: 3DMark Vantage, FEAR
 Pg 11.  DX10 Motherboard IGP Benchmarks: Call of Juarez, Crysis
 Pg 12.  Worthy Motherboard for the AMD 785G

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