AMD 785G Chipset Launch: ASUS and Gigabyte
Performance Summary & Conclusion
Throughout our benchmarks, the new AMD 785G chipset performed very well. Compared to other AMD chipsets, it certainly performs well considering its price point, even keeping up with the premium priced 790FX for the most part. Compared to competing chipsets in the Intel camp, the AMD 785G looks like a very good value. In the general performance tests, the 785G kept pace with the whole field, and in gaming tests, the 785G showed that its IGP was clearly superior to Intel's GMA X4500. The GeForce 9300 outperforms the 785G in some games, but not by a wide margin and the 785G was able to come out on top in Half-Life 2.
We also found that the 785G's integrated Radeon HD 4200 is a very capable overclocker. We were able to double the core clock frequency without much effort. The Radeon HD 4200 seems to have a huge amount of headroom left for overclockers to discover. Overall, the AMD 785G chipset performed very well indeed, especially considering its price range.
Over the last few years, AMD has produced several very good mainstream chipsets that were affordable and packed with features. The 785G is AMD's latest mainstream chipset and our initial impressions are very favorable. AMD has taken the already solid 780G chipset and updated it with a host of enhancements and new features while keeping the same sub-$100 price-range. If we're being honest, we'd say the 785G is even better than the up-market 790GX.
Perhaps the biggest improvement is the updated IGP. The 785G packs a Radeon HD 4200 in its northbridge and for an IGP, it's quite a performer that will handle casual gaming competently. Perhaps more importantly, the 785G's IGP provides a host of very useful features like hardware acceleration for HD video. All 785G based motherboards also come with a plenty of video outputs and all three of the motherboards we looked at today offered VGA, DVI and HDMI outputs. The chipset also provides excellent of multi-monitor support, driving up to two monitors by default and two more for a total of four if a discrete Radeon card is used in Hybrid CrossFire mode.
The rest of the 785G's feature set is equally impressive. Depending on the specific OEM implementation chosen, you will have your choice of DDR2 and DDR3. The 785G can also be found with either a AM2+ or AM3 socket. Whether you are putting together a new system from scratch or pulling something together from your spare parts bin, there is a 785G based motherboard out there that will accommodate you.
The three motherboards we looked at today from ASUS and Gigabyte really showed the level of flexibility and variety available with the 785G. The ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO has the richest feature set of the bunch, with an AM3 socket, DDR3 memory support, 128MB SidePort memory and dual PCI-E x16 slots with Hybrid CrossFireX support (though only x16 + x4 electrically). The Gigabyte GA-MA785GMT-UD2H packs nearly the same feature set into a smaller mATX package which makes it ideal for HTPC builds. Then we looked at the Gigabyte GA-MA785G-UD3H, which features support for sockets AM3, AM2+ and AM2, along with DDR2 support and dual PCI-E x16 slots for maximum flexibility. The best part is, none of these three boards debut at a price that exceeds $100. The ASUS is the most expensive of the bunch and can be found for $100, while both Gigabyte boards are available for $90.
Overall, AMD has produced one of the more flexible chipsets currently available for any platform. With the exception of top-end discrete multi-GPU gaming and serious server builds, the 785G can be configured to handle just about anything you want and you won't even need to sell your organs to afford it. With a sub-$100 debut price range, the 785G based motherboards are some of the best values around and they will be an excellent choice for nearly everyone in the market for a mainstream AMD motherboard.