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AMD 780G Chipset and Athlon X2 4850e Preview
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Date: Mar 04, 2008
Section:Motherboards
Author: Chris Angelini
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Introductions and Specifications




We generally don’t use integrated graphics. You might not use integrated graphics. But there are more motherboards with integrated graphics sold than discrete cards, according to data published last year by Jon Peddie Research. That means you probably have friends and family buying systems with built-in graphics engines.

Guess what happens when the work day is done and you take them into battle with you through a little Enemy Territory or Company of Heroes?  Poor performance likely gets them killed over and over. Talk about a real bummer. We're WoW junkies ourselves, and you can’t imagine how many of the guys blame raid wipes on the speed of their graphics cards.




Fortunately, even as the latest games transition to advanced DirectX 10 functionality, quickly outdating yesterday’s value GPUs, the hardware vendors manufacturing integrated graphics chipsets are revamping their offerings. Intel, for example, recently slipped out its G35 chipset with the GMA X3500 graphics core. Sporting DirectX 10 and OpenGL 2.0 support, along with hardware vertex shading, the GPU would seem to be a great play on mainstream gaming in Vista. Could the company have its first gamer-worthy integrated chipset?

Not if AMD has anything to say about it. The 780G platform launching today combines the core logic expertise and graphics technology brought in from ATI with AMD’s latest low-power Athlon X2, yielding a very fast, very inexpensive platform that won’t rack up a substantial energy tab. Additionally, the chipset supports a new feature called Hybrid Graphics—a Vista-only capability that harnesses the power of an add-in card, combines it with the integrated engine, and gives you a CrossFire-like experience at a price point so low that AMD doesn’t want to call it CrossFire. Sounds like just the ticket for cost-conscious gamers eager to hang with the big boys.  You can read more about Hybrid CrossFire in our initial look at the technology right here.



AMD 780G High-Level Overview


A motherboard built on the 780G chipset consists of two core logic components: the 780G northbridge and AMD’s new SB700 southbridge.

Despite its 205 million transistor composition, the 780G is actually a tiny little piece of work, thanks to a move to 55nm manufacturing. At idle, AMD says the northbridge sips less than a watt. Pretty impressive when you consider the cutting-edge functionality wrapped up in the silicon.

For instance, the chipset supports a HyperTransport 3.0 link to the new AM2+ socket interface. Past chipsets worked with HyperTransport 1.0 running at 1 GHz DDR. The 780G ups the link speed to 1.8 GHz, yielding nearly 15 GB/s of bandwidth. That throughput is particularly important to the 780G, since the built-in graphics processor has to talk through the processor’s memory controller in order to pull data from system RAM. Naturally, as you scale HyperTransport performance, 3D frame rates will go right along with it.
 

   


Of course, getting the benefit of HyperTransport 3.0 requires a processor that supports the interface. One of the new Phenom chips will do the trick. An older Athlon X2, such as the one we’ll be looking at in a bit, will not. Just to be clear, the new AM2+ socket is backwards compatible with CPUs designed for the AM2 interface—it just reverts back to HyperTransport 1.0 link speeds. 

With plenty of data moving between the CPU and 780G, there’s room for lots of high-bandwidth connectivity. The northbridge boasts 26 PCI Express 2.0 lanes. Sixteen are reserved for a single discrete graphics slot, six can be set aside for x1 upgrade slots and onboard peripherals, and the last four interface with the SB700 southbridge. We talked to AMD about the possibility of a motherboard vendor splitting the 16-lane link into a pair of CrossFire-enabled connectors. However, the link is fused together, which makes sense given the chipset’s mainstream pedigree.

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The Radeon HD 3200 IGP




AMD is branding the graphics processor inside the 780G as the Radeon HD 3200. Architecturally, the Radeon HD 3200 is virtually identical to AMD’s discrete Radeon HD 3450 configuration, also manufactured at 55nm and equipped with 40 stream processors. According to AMD, the principal differentiator is clock speed—the 780G runs at 500 MHz to the 3450’s 600 MHz. So what exactly are we saying there? In essence, 780G delivers the same DirectX 10 functionality you’d expect from one of AMD’s discrete cards. Whereas the Radeon HD 3450 has its own 64-bit memory interface attached to as much as 512MB of GDDR3, the 780G relies on a unified memory architecture. Some vendors, AMD says, will connect a display cache to the northbridge, enabling a slight performance boost. The Gigabyte board we’re working with, however, lacks that feature.
 

  


The Radeon HD 3200 graphics core is surprisingly robust. On top of its advanced 3D engine, the chipset also includes two independent display controllers, letting you run a dual-monitor configuration right out of the box. Our Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H featured one 15-pin VGA output, a DVI output, and an HDMI output, for instance. The integrated core also boasts a revamped UVD block able to accelerate MPEG-2, H.264 and VC1 decoding. In previous versions of AMD’s UVD, MPEG-2 was handled by the GPU’s programmable shaders. Radeon HD 3200 sports dedicated circuitry to help minimize host processor utilization during MPEG-2 playback.

Now here’s where things get really cool for the value gamer. On its own, integrated graphics—even AMD’s Radeon HD 3200—might be considered insufficient for the latest, most demanding titles. But when you match AMD’s platform up to the Windows Vista operating system, you suddenly get support for Hybrid Graphics, a technology that uses the onboard Radeon HD 3200 GPU and a discrete board to achieve dramatically better performance. Hybrid Graphics relies on AFR to help divide the processing workload, so you’re best off with a discrete board evenly matched to the integrated core logic - faster cards will just be slowed down by the IGP. Pick up a Radeon HD 3450 online for $50 bucks and you’re good to go. Just be sure you’re running on Vista since Hybrid Graphics is not supported under XP.
 

  


Not only does that second card open the door to better frame rates in the latest games, but it’s also a first-class ticket to acres of desktop real estate. You see, the Radeon HD 3200 has a pair of independent display controllers. The Radeon HD 3450 does as well. Put them together and you have enough outputs for a quartet of monitors with the horsepower to drive Vista’s Aero. The $500 Quadro NVS 440 sitting in my desktop workstation now fears for its life.

Pro tip: When you drop a Radeon HD 3450 card into a 780G-based motherboard, you’ll have those four display outputs from which to choose when you attach a monitor. Use the motherboard’s connectors. As the platform sits idle, AMD says it’ll power down the discrete card, offering even greater energy savings. Plugging in a monitor to the discreet card keeps the card running and power flowing.

Four PCIe 2.0 lanes connect the feature-laden 780G to AMD’s new SB700 southbridge. The I/O-oriented companion chip features 12 USB 2.0 ports, a pair of USB 1.0 ports, a PCI bus, six SATA 3 Gb/s ports with software RAID support, parallel ATA connectivity, and an HD Audio interface.  Expect most motherboard vendors to add their own Gigabit Ethernet, audio codec, and FireWire chips to complement AMD’s southbridge. The SB700 isn’t an earth-shatteringly advanced chip by any stretch of the imagination, but it does keep AMD competitive with Intel’s stable of ICH9 offerings.

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AMD Athlon X2 4850e and Gigabyte MA78GM-S2H




As enthusiasts, we’ve been getting the most worked-up over the implications of AMD’s Hybrid Graphics and multi-monitor features. The 780G story is more complex than playable frame rates and massive monitor arrays, though. You also have to factor cost and power consumption into the performance equation, especially since integrated chipsets are popular in the corporate world, where a few watts of power savings multiplied out across 500 workstations turns into big money.

AMD let us know that the Gigabyte motherboard we’ve been testing will sell for somewhere between $80 and $90. We were even able to find a couple before the official launch priced at $99. Adding a Radeon HD 3450 card for Hybrid Graphics adds roughly $50 to the bottom line. Now you need a CPU in tune with the platform’s energy efficiency, powerful enough to put up a fight in the latest games, and at the same time, be cost-effective. Enter AMD’s new Athlon X2 4850e, successor to the low-power Athlon X2 BE-2400.

If you’re familiar with AMD’s pricing structure, then you know the company draws a clear line between its dual-core Athlon 64 X2s and energy-efficient Athlon X2s. The former range from 2.1 GHz to 3.2 GHz and consume anywhere from 65W to 125W. They’re all AM2-based chips with 1 GHz HyperTransport links, but include 2MB of L2 cache to help augment performance. Conversely, the Athlon X2s range from 1.9 GHz to 2.5 GHz, sport the same 1 GHz link, but get a 45W rating thanks to a cut-back 1MB cache and 65nm manufacturing node. The 4850e is AMD’s new flagship for that low-power, dual-core lineup.

Why did AMD completely change the family’s naming convention on a simple speed bump? Nobody seems to know. AMD says the new nomenclature is tied to the standard-wattage X2 chips. At the same time, it isn’t changing the names of existing energy-efficient X2s. Sounds like a recipe for customer confusion to us. Nevertheless, the Athlon X2 4850e is architecturally identical to the Athlon X2 BE-2400 that precedes it. That means 256KB total L1 cache, 1MB total L2 cache, dual-channel DDR2 memory support at speeds up to 800 MHz, and AM2 socket support.

The 4850e operates at 2.5 GHz, yet still dips in at that 45W max thermal power rating. Clearly, the CPU is a good match to the 780G platform. AMD is also pricing the CPU at $89—well below the $104 it was asking for the BE-2400 and far less than any of the company’s quad-core Phenom chips. The 4850e shapes up well against Intel’s lineup, too. The closest competition, based on price, is the dual-core Pentium E2200 running at 2.2 GHz. The Allendale-based processor is rated at 65W, runs on an 800 MHz bus, and sports 1MB L2 cache. That’s the chip we chose for our comparative tests.

Gigabyte’s GA-MA78GM-S2H Motherboard

AMD sent us a production-level Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H as a means of testing the 780G chipset and Athlon X2 4850e processor. It comes as no surprise that the board fully showcases what the platform can do.
 

  


The first thing you’ll notice is that the northbridge and southbridge are cooled passively. Both components run hot under load, but our setup ran stably throughout testing. AMD’s reliance on 55nm manufacturing pays off in spades here, as the competent DirectX 10 graphics engine does its job in complete silence.

Although the GA-MA78GM-S2H fits onto a microATX form factor, the board comes loaded with integrated functionality. As mentioned you have a choice of three display outputs. The 15-pin VGA connector is tied to one of the display controllers, while the DVI and HDMI outputs share the other. Naturally, only one of the two can be used at any given time. The rear I/O panel provides access to four USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 1394 connector, an eSATA port, Gigabit Ethernet, enough 1/8” mini-jacks for analog 7.1-channel output, and an optical audio port.
 

  


Onboard, you’ll find five more SATA ports, enabled through the SB700 southbridge. A single floppy connector is available, though with Vista pulling storage drivers from CD or USB, there’s even less of a reason to revisit the legacy medium. A single parallel ATA connector takes up to two devices in case you’re still using an older optical drive. Expansion consists of a single PCI Express x16 slot, two PCI slots, and one PCI Express x1 slot.  Should you find yourself looking for extra USB or FireWire connectivity, onboard headers pave the way for additional ports.

Depending on the CPU you’re using, Gigabyte says its GA-MA78GM-S2H supports up to 16GB of DDR2-1066 memory across four slots. Because the Athlon X2 and Phenom chips employ dual-channel memory controllers, you’ll want to populate those slots two at a time for optimal performance. Two 1GB modules should give you plenty of memory for system tasks, while enough is tagged for the graphics core (default in the board’s BIOS is 256MB).
 

  


Just because the motherboard is intended for a more mainstream user doesn’t mean it’s completely devoid of BIOS-based overclocking options. Gigabyte enables its MIT (MB Intelligent Tweaker) interface, facilitating complete control over the board’s HyperTransport link speed, integrated graphics core clock, CPU ratio, CPU host clock control, PCI Express frequency, and memory clock speed. Additionally, you’ll find a full range of voltage controls, from DDR2 memory voltage to northbridge and CPU voltage tweaks. We’re not quite sure how much overclocking someone buying an IGP-based platform is going to do, and AMD explicitly exempts itself from damage caused to the system as a result of running out of spec.

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Test Systems and 3DMark06

 


The AMD 780G platform that we tested included the Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H motherboard, an AMD Athlon X2 4850 processor, two 1GB DDR2-800 memory modules from Corsair and a reference cooler that ran surprisingly quiet. We updated the board’s BIOS to the latest available version, testing with and without the Hybrid Graphics option using a passively-cooled Radeon HD 3450 card.

AMD provided separate driver packages for benchmarking with and without Hybrid graphics. In the interest of minimizing the variables affecting performance, we tested both configurations using the release candidate 8.47 Vista x32 driver. Moreover, in order to get PCMark Vantage running on the 780G platform, a new direcpll.dll file was needed. (Futuremak recently released a patch for all of their benchmarks that included the necessary files)


Test Systems
Intel and AMD Inside!

AMD System

AMD Athlon X2 4850e 2.5GHz processor

Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H motherboard
(AMD 780G/AMD SB700 chipset)

2GB Corsair CM2X1024-6400C4 DDR2 memory
2 x 1GB modules

Integrated Radeon HD 3200 graphics
Discrete Radeon HD 3450 graphics

1 x Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 500GB SATA hard drive

Windows Vista x32

Intel System

Intel Pentium E2200 2.2 GHz processor

ASUS P5E-VM HDMI motherboard
(Intel G35 chipset)

2GB Corsair CM2X1024-6400C4 DDR2 memory
2 x 1GB modules

Integrated Intel GMA X3500 graphics

1 x Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 500GB SATA hard drive

Windows Vista x32


Preliminary Testing with 3Dmark06
Synthetic Benchmarks

Argue the validity of synthetic benchmarks until you’re blue in the face—no matter which side of the fence you’re on, 3DMark06 enables granular analysis of individual features and capabilities using the latest graphics architectures. The overall score takes all of the individual tests into account for a holistic view of what a solution can do under extreme duress.
 






The 3DMark06 results illustrate two things. First, AMD’s 780G more than doubles the score of Intel’s latest G35 graphics core. It just goes to show what happens when you cram the architecture of a reasonably nimble discrete card into a northbridge. Secondly, you can see how well Hybrid Graphics scales when you drop a Radeon HD 3450 card into the platform’s PCI Express x16 slot. Impressive, especially for an onboard solution.

AMD exercises a small lead in the CPU test. But for the most part, the 780G- and G35-based platforms put up similar numbers when their respective processors are under the gun.

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PCMark Vantage



 Futuremark PCMark Vantage
 Synthetic Benchmarks


We ran both the AMD 780G and Intel G35 platforms through Futuremark’s latest system performance metric built especially for Windows Vista, PCMark Vantage. Our first hiccup came when the 780G system wouldn’t progress past the initial hardware scan. It turned out that one of the benchmark’s DLLs was failing to recognize the chipset and thus hanging up. A replacement file from AMD took us past that point. We’re always skeptical of tweaked .dlls coming from hardware vendors, but the fix was posted to Futuremark’s site and all was good. The next hang-up came from Intel’s G35 failing two of the eight test suites. As a result, Vantage refused to assign the G35 an overall score. Those tests that were scored are reflected below.
 

The first bar in each of the above graphs is AMD’s 780G running in Hybrid Graphics mode. You can see small boosts to the overall result, the gaming suite, the music suite, and the HDD suite. The 780G’s onboard UVD circuitry flexes its muscle in the TV and Movies battery of tests, while Intel’s G35 pulls off a win in the Communications module, which does a lot of multi-threading and data encryption.

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Cinebench R10 and USB Performance




 Cinebench R10
 3D Rendering Benchmarks

Cinebench, based on Maxon’s CINEMA 4D rendering tool, is a processor-intensive test having less to do with the chipsets we’re pitting against each other. Release 10 of the benchmark features a new scene that incorporates light sources, procedural shaders, ambient occlusion, and multi-level reflections.

More than anything, Cinebench gives you a valid comparison of processor performance at the $89 price point. Remarkably, whether you’re looking at the single-threaded numbers or our multi-threaded results, the AMD and Intel products fall within a few percent of each other. You really couldn’t go wrong with either solution if you were running an integrated chipset in a business environment.
 

 USB Performance
 Testing Transfer Speeds

ATI’s chipsets have, in the past, taken flak for lackluster USB 2.0 transfer speeds. Now that AMD has taken over, we were curious to see how that story has changed. To test, we attached a 500GB Maxtor OneTouch II drive to the AMD and Intel platforms and timed the transfer of a 500MB folder of music, movies, Web pages, and documents of various sizes.


There’s some variance between the 780G numbers with and without Hybrid Graphics, despite the many times we ran these numbers. Nevertheless, the real story seems to be that AMD and Intel are roughly on par here. When you divide the numbers out, you get between 11.1MB/s and 10MB/s of throughput.

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LAME MT and File Compression




 LAME MT
 MP3 Encoding Benchmark


Multi-threaded encoding is going to have less to do with AMD’s 780G chipset and more to do with the Athlon X2 4850e sitting on its HyperTransport interface. The comparison here is $89 spent on a dual-core AMD Athlon X2 versus the same amount of money spent on Intel’s Pentium E2200. For our purposes, we used a 622MB copy of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.

Regardless of whether you’re running the bare 780G chipset or a Hybrid Graphics setup, you’ll see better numbers with AMD’s Athlon X2 4850e than with Intel’s Pentium E2200 on its G35 chipset. Intel would naturally fare better if we compared a CPU based on its higher-end Core 2 micro-architecture and a faster front side bus, but then you’re talking about a higher-priced part.

 Windows .ZIP
 File Compression Benchmarks

Next up, we measured the time it took for Windows to compress a 500MB folder of music, movies, Web pages, and documents of various sizes and timed the operation until it completed. Bear in mind these tests have to be run several times in Vista for accurate results since the operating system has a proclivity for running background tasks that skew performance numbers.
 

Again, AMD’s two cores prove faster than Intel’s in this test, regardless of your graphics setup.

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Gaming: HL2 Episode 2



 Half Life 2: Episode 2
 DirectX Benchmarks


Valve’s Half Life 2 looks great, no doubt. But it’s also an immersive game made that much better by a great story line. The DirectX 9 engine provides attractive visuals without bogging down capable GPUs. To get a good feel for how these integrated solutions handled the game’s eye candy, we cranked up the settings, taking care to keep anti-aliasing off with trilinear filtering.



It goes without saying that despite its hardware-based shader engine and DirectX 10 support, Intel’s G35 chipset can’t muster the horsepower to even make 800x600 a playable resolution. The 780G, on the other hand, delivers reasonable frame rates at 800x600 and near-playable numbers at 1024x768. When you take the step up to a 780G platform and a Radeon HD 3450 running Hybrid Graphics, 800x600 and 1024x768 both turn into valid resolutions.

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Gaming: Company of Heroes



 Company of Heroes
 DirectX 10 Benchmarks


Relic’s WWII RTS originally centered on a DirectX 9 engine, but now includes DX10 functionality able to tax modern graphics architectures. Once again, the game’s visual options were maxed out in a bid to demonstrate the eye candy possible with AMD’s latest platform. After we saw what the numbers first looked like, however, we turned the settings down to High, hoping for more playable numbers using the built-in performance test.



At 800x600, we saw frame rates peak into the 30 FPS range. However, more intense sequences of the benchmark dragged down the average to levels considered unplayable. AMD’s 780G retains its advantage here, but you’re going to have to make quality sacrifices if you’re looking to play Company of Heroes on an integrated chipset.

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Gaming: ET - Quake Wars



 Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
 OpenGL Benchmarks

Based on id’s Doom 3 engine, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars demands enough from discrete card; never mind the integrated graphics cores we’re throwing at it today. We created our own timedemo benchmark using the Pacific map and turned the graphics options all of the way up. For the sake of mercy, we didn’t use any anti-aliasing or anisotropic filtering.



The bare 780G chipset is nearly able to deliver playable frame rates at 800x600. Tweaking the settings down does, in fact, help ratchet up performance to the point of fluid playback. With Hybrid Graphics enabled, there’s no question that 800x600 is playable. Even 1024x768 is reasonable. More important, though, is that playback looks the way it’s supposed to—lush and detailed. Swapping over to the G35, the performance situation looks dismal and the rendered output is completely out of whack. All of the textures go yellow, giving you the impression that you’re fighting in the desert rather than an island in the Pacific.

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HyperTransport Performance



 HyperTransport Link Testing
 1GHz vs. 1.8GHz

One of the 780G’s principal selling points is its HyperTransport 3.0 support, which dramatically increases bandwidth between the northbridge and compatible processor—a huge gain for an integrated graphics chipset, since the onboard GPU has to interface through the processor’s memory controller.

Of course, the Athlon X2 4850e that shipped with the platform wouldn’t work, since it’s limited to HyperTransport 1.0 link speeds. Instead, we subbed in a Phenom 9600 here, able to run at those HT 3.0 transfer rates. The HT 3.0 numbers were taken with the chip at its default 1.8 GHz HyperTransport speed. Then we manually de-tuned the chip to 1 GHz, simulating the bandwidth of a processor at the same frequency backed by a slower link.

When the AM2+ interface first surfaced, we remember hearing mumbling about a new socket interface soon after the release of AM2. It made sense—after all, why change the socket just to enable HyperTransport 3.0? Now that decision makes a lot more sense, since there’s clearly a lot of performance to be had from an integrated graphics chipset by simply turning up that interface between CPU and northbridge. The speedup is felt equally with or without the Hybrid Graphics feature enabled, so you can be sure of good scaling regardless of the graphics configuration you choose.

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Power and Conclusion




A chipset with built-in graphics capabilities is really going to shine through when it comes to both value and power consumption because it keeps you from having to buy a discrete video card. Now, the 780G is slightly different in that it can be enhanced through the use of a discrete card. But even then, you’re talking about a 55nm chipset said to top out under the 20W mark and a passively-cooled add-in board. There’s also a benefit to be had in connecting your display to one of the 780G’s outputs, allowing the discrete card to power down when the platform is in an idle state.

 
 Power Consumption 
 Tested at the Outlet


Testing the 780G involved running power from the wall, through an Extech power analyzer, and to the Gigabyte board. We turned on Cool’n’Quiet support in the motherboard’s BIOS and set Vista’s power management scheme to Balanced in the interest of throttling the system down during idle.
 




AMD’s platform effort is apparent here. When you combine the 45W Athlon X2 4850e and the new 780G chipset, you’re treated to an idle load that hovers under 80W. When adding the Radeon HD 3450 board to the mix, consumption jumped by about 9W. Because we were connected to the Gigabyte board’s VGA output, there’s a fair chance that AMD’s software isn’t yet powering down the discrete card completely since we’d expect to see lower power numbers at idle. Even still, the combination is still more energy-efficient at idle than Intel’s G35 driving integrated graphics and a Pentium E2200 CPU.

Under load, the 780G and G35 run neck in neck, eating a little less than 130W. The Hybrid Graphics configuration leaps up to 155W. Even still, we’ve seen CPUs that nearly eat up that much juice, so an entire gaming-capable platform sitting around the 150W level isn’t bad at all.
 


It almost seems silly to remind everyone that integrated graphics catch a bad rap. “No kidding,” you say. “I wouldn’t be caught dead trying to game on a motherboard that features an onboard GPU.” In an environment where price matters most, though, integrated graphics solutions are in many cases very necessary.

AMD’s 780G very effectively addresses the pain points to which most cost-driven customers are sensitive.  The chipset is inexpensive—in this case we’re seeing it on a very fully featured motherboard priced well under $100. It’s also energy efficient. We’ve now tested a complete 780G-based platform that idles under 80W and runs under full load at 155W. But then AMD adds an element much less common in the integrated world: great performance, regardless of whether you’re executing threaded audio encoding software, the latest gaming titles, or even a simple file compression routine. Inclusion of AMD’s full UVD gives the chipset real video decoding chops, too.

That the 780G platform then goes and adds an option for Hybrid Graphics, ratcheting up gaming performance, and enough display connectivity for four monitors is just icing on the cake. When an integrated chipset is able to hang with $500 workstation cards, you can’t help but admire how quickly technology has been pulled from the high-end down to the mainstream level.

Of course, the 780G as we tested it today is made all the more impressive by AMD’s Athlon X2 4850e processor. We’re not entirely bowled over by the new naming convention; however, the chip dishes out the performance at 2.5 GHz and still manages to duck in under 45W. Throughout testing, the CPU’s cooler never spun up beyond the speed it started at boot. Don’t forget that you’ll see even bigger gains from the 780G if you spend a little more and pair it up with a Phenom chip. The faster HyperTransport connection gives the Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics engine significantly more bandwidth, which turns into markedly better benchmark numbers.

Today is a good day for AMD. The company is demonstrating how well its CPUs and chipsets complement each other. Businesses and home users alike should take notice—the platform message that has always made Intel’s products so attractive is being embraced by AMD and transformed into exciting new hardware.


  • Playable DirectX 10 graphics
  • Quad-display support through Hybrid Graphics
  • Hardware HD video acceleration
  • Sub-$100 price target
  • HT 3.0 requires Phenom CPU
  • New naming convention for low-power Athlon X2s
  •  



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