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ASUS M4A78T-E AMD 790GX Socket AM3 Motherboard Review
ASUS M4A78T-E AMD 790GX Socket AM3 Motherboard Review  - PCSTATS
The ASUS M4A78T-E motherboard is built on AMDs 790GX integrated graphics processor and SB750 southbridge, supports HyperTransport 3.0 at 5200 MT/S and has a 128MB DDR3-1333 memory buffer built in just for the Radeon HD 3300 IGP.
 84% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: ASUS Mar 04 2009   J. Apong  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > ASUS M4A78T-E

ASUS M4A78T-E- Is DDR3 The Better Path?

Since the Asus' M4A78T-E and M3A78-T motherboards are so similar that they can be a little difficult to tell apart. PCSTATS has tried to highlight some of the differences between the two of them for you throughout this review to make it easier to plan out what goes into your next AMD computer system.

In terms of features and support, the Asus M4A78T-E motherboard uses DDR3 memory at speeds of 1066/1333MHz, or 1600MHz when overclocking, and can hold up to 16GB of RAM when running in a 64-bit operating environment.

Only socket AM3 AMD processors can be used with this motherboard.

Performance wise, the DDR3-based Asus M4A78T-E platform handled slightly better in benchmarks designed to stress the processor, where its high frequency DDR3 memory supplies the CPU with data quicker. However in tasks more timing-intensive, as seen in some of Sisoft Sandra's memory benchmarks, high latency DDR3 memory looses its edge compared to low latency DDR2.

When paired with a discrete graphics card, the performance of the Asus M4A78T-E motherboard in 3D gaming was slightly less than that of the Asus M3A78-T. The rest of what you're getting with the ASUS M4A78T-E is the same as what comes on the M3A78-T board, and that's a very extensive feature set

A pair of PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots that can do CrossfireX in x8 mode, four slots for DDR3 memory, five SATA II ports as well as eSATA and Firewire, half-a-dozen USB ports as well Analog VGA, DVI and HDMI video output. Combine that with the Radeon HD 3300's IGP performance and the Asus M4A78T-E motherboard has plenty of features and options to recommend it to users searching out an integrated graphics platform for the new socket AM3 Phenom II processor family.

Retailing for about $191 CDN ($150 USD, $120 GBP), the ASUS M4A78T-E is priced at a slight premium over the similiarly equipped DDR-2 based ASUS M3A78-T motherboard. Now in this review we've purposefully benchmarked the M4A78T-E platform at DDR3-1066 speeds to compare it to the DDR2-1066 environment of the ASUS M3A78-T, and as you can see the impact of DDR3 is a mute subject. Bumping the DDR3 to 1333MHz will improve benchmark results about 2-3%, as you would expect.

So once more we're faced with a choice between a motherboard that is future-proof, and one that offers the same feature set and slightly less performance but with lower overall memory costs.

For example: 4GB of DDR3-1066MHz memory costs about $115, while 4GB of lower latency 1066MHz DDR2 memory can be found for as low as $65. Overall that's about $70 more for a platform that has largely the same features - and sure the DDR3 memory will give increased performance with faster memory, but that will also cost you more money. A socket AM3 Phenom II processor can be used with either of these motherboards, and as the benchmarks indicate there's very little performance difference between the two platforms when memory speeds are identical.

So what the heck is the answer?

If you aren't planning to use the Radeon HD 3300 IGP for 3D gaming (which you shouldn't, it's not very good for gaming), consider picking up a DDR2-based AMD 780G motherboard for your AMD Phenom II CPU instead. Application performance will be just as quick, but the board will be a few bucks less and memory won't set you back as much as DDR3 will.

Currently, AMD's socket AM3 Phenom II processors don't see much improvement with DDR3 memory. Once faster Phenom II processors come out for socket AM3, higher clock speeds may start becoming bottlenecked by DDR2's limited bandwidth and lower frequencies. If on the other hand you're looking towards the long term and have decided DDR3 is the best route to follow for your intended application, the ASUS M4A78T-E is a worthy motherboard to consider.

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Contents of Article: ASUS M4A78T-E
 Pg 1.  ASUS M4A78T-E AMD 790GX Socket AM3 Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Testing 1080P HD Video Playback
 Pg 3.  Total System Power Draw Comparisons
 Pg 4.  ASUS M4A78T-E Motherboard Highlights
 Pg 5.  AMD 790GX Chipset - Videocard or IGP?
 Pg 6.  Overclocking the AMD 790GX and the BIOS
 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.  — ASUS M4A78T-E- Is DDR3 The Better Path?

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