AMD 785G Chipset Launch: ASUS and Gigabyte

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ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO: Features

The ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO is a very sharp looking board with a black PCB and light blue accents. The heatsink design is especially appealing. The northbridge and MOSFET heatsinks are like little anodized aluminum sculptures. The whole look just screams 'premium'.

The northbridge heatsink is actually a two-piece unit. The dark gray bottom piece is attached to the northbridge and the blue accent piece is in turn attached to it. The blue accent piece actually slides into the bottom piece and isn't fixed by anything; it's relatively loose and has some room to slide around and can be removed entirely. This means it only makes token contact with the bottom piece and likely doesn't have much affect on the heatsink's overall thermal properties. However, it does look pretty cool and the thermal contact issue could be easily alleviated with the application of some thermal adhesive.

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Overall ASUS did a good job with the M4A785TD-V EVO's layout. The CPU socket is free of obstructions and there is plenty of room in nearly all directions for a large CPU cooler. The memory slots are placed a bit close to the CPU socket, but this won't likely be an issue unless all four memory slots are occupied, since the slots are arranged in such a way that dual-channel can be achieved with DIMMs in just the blue slots.

Interestingly the M4A785TD-V EVO uses a 4-pin 12V power connector instead of a more typical 8-pin. It's located at the top corner of the board neat the rear I/O, right above the MOSFET heatsink. Its location is well selected and shouldn't present any wire routing issues.


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The expansion slots are all well accommodated and it's clear that ASUS took the time to move the various connectors and ports out of the way of the two PCI-E x16 slots. With a dual-slot full-length video card in each of the PCI-E x16 slots, all of the board's various connectors are all still accessible. This is a rare feat that few motherboards manage, and it makes the M4A785TD-V EVO especially well suited for set-ups that require large and long PCI-E expansion cards.

All five of the board's internal SATA connectors are located in a tight cluster under the DIMM slots. All five of them are also oriented conventionally so the cables would all connect perpendicular to the PCB. This is desirable in most builds since there is a reduced chance the SATA connectors will be obstructed by a hard drive cage or other chassis structure.

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All of the board's USB and Firewire headers are located along the bottom edge of the board, a typical location which should work well in most cases. The IDE connector is located right under the southbridge and oriented horizontally, which is advantageous since a vertically oriented IDE connector may result in the flat ribbon IDE cable interfering with installed expansion cards.


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 (click to enlarge)

However, there are a few minor issues. The front audio connector is located at the bottom-left corner of the board, which is undesirable since that is basically the furthest position it could be to the location of the front audio panel on most ATX cases. The board also lacks 3-pin fan connectors for case fans. Only the minimum of 3 fan connectors are provided; a 4-pin for the CPU and 3-pin connectors for the northbridge and power supply.

Overall, despite some minor issues, the M4A785TD-V EVO's layout is excellent and it is clear some thought has gone into accommodating typical builds.

Tags:  AMD, Radeon, Chipset, 785G, IGP, HD 4200

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