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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

Testing 1080P HD Video Playback

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 hope to address HD decoding in the 790GX chipset with its 'Unified Video Decoder'. UVD directs HD playback decoding to the integrated AMD 790GX Radeon HD 3300 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 M4A78T-E 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.

PCSTATS Benchmark Report Blu-Ray High Definition Content Playback Tests

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.

Motherboard Core Logic IGP Blu-Ray Playback
CPU Utilization

Video Playback
@ 1080p Quality

Intel DG45ID (Intel G45) Intel GMA X4500HD 32% - 38% No issues
ASUS P5Q-EM (Intel G45) Intel GMA X4500HD 38% No issues
Biostar Tpower N750 (nVidia nForce 750a) Nforce 750a 18% - 20% No issues
ASUS M4A78T-E (AMD 790GX) AMD HD 3300 6% - 9% No issues
ASUS M3A78T (AMD 790GX) AMD HD 3300 6% - 9% No issues
Foxconn A7DA-S (AMD 790GX) AMD HD 3300 14% - 24% No issues

There's no difference at all here between the Asus M4A78T-E motherboard and its DDR2-based twin, which is as expected. With the Radeon HD 3300 doing most of the work of decoding, there weren't any differences in Blu-ray content playback or the amount of system overhead needed for it.

Hard Drive 720p/1080i Video 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 CPU utilization is best.

PCSTATS Benchmark ReportHDD 720p/1080i Video Playback (Discoverers Video Clip)
720P (Avg): Percent CPU Utilization Ranking
Intel DG45ID (Onboard G45 ) 17
ASUS P5Q-EM (Onboard G45 ) 9
ASUS M4A78T-E (onboard HD 3300 video) 17
ASUS M3A78-T (onboard HD 3300 video) 17
Foxconn A7DA-S (onboard HD 3300 video) 30
ECS A780GM-A (Onboard HD 3200 Video 30
Foxconn A690GM2MA-RS2H (Onboard Video) 35
Biostar Tpower N750 (onboard nF 750a video) 24
Biostar TF8200 A2+ (onboard GF 8200 video) 60
1080i (Avg): Percent CPU Utilization Ranking
Intel DG45ID (Onboard G45 ) 20
ASUS P5Q-EM (Onboard G45 ) 12
ASUS M4A78T-E (onboard HD 3300 video) 20
ASUS M3A78-T (onboard HD 3300 video) 22
Foxconn A7DA-S (onboard HD 3300 video) 49
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, there's no discernible difference when it comes to playing back HD content from the hard drive, which leaves the Asus M4A78T-E with some of the lowest scores yet, thanks to the addition of the triple core 45nm AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition processor.

Will higher-performance DDR3 memory draw more power than DDR2? Let's take a look at the power draw numbers for this Asus motherboard on the next page.

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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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