ASUS M3A78-EMH HDMI AMD 780G Motherboard
Hi-Def Video Impressions
There’s no question that the 780G is being positioned as a solution for living room PCs. After all, the chipset supports AMD’s Live! initiative and it includes built-in HDMI. AMD wouldn’t go to the trouble of cramming its hardware-based UVD into the northbridge unless it hoped home users would put the video functionality to use.
On top of our standard benchmark suite, we wanted to put ASUS’ M3A78-EMH HDMI to task in some real-world video tests to help determine whether the value platform, powered by an $89 CPU and featuring integrated graphics, could handle the rigors of high-def playback. Then, we added background processing to the challenge by running a full Windows Defender scan, typical of what a home user might experience as they watch a movie at home.
Hasta La Vista, Baby...
According to AMD, the UVD built into its 780G chipset accelerates VC-1 and H.264 decoding, in addition to MPEG-2 offloading. We grabbed the VC-1-based Terminator 2 1080p clip from Microsoft’s WMV HD gallery and ran it in a loop on the ASUS board. CPU utilization averaged around 35% throughout the clip, leaving plenty of room for multi-tasking. Then, we started a Windows Defender scan and watched utilization jump to about 60% with spikes as high as 80%. In both cases the video clip played with zero stuttering. Given smooth playback throughout, we’d call that a pass.
We fired up the Intel G35 platform next. Contrary to what we were expecting given AMD’s marketing material, ASUS P5E-VM HDMI returned smooth playback as well. With Windows Media Player running by itself, CPU utilization hovered around in the 45% neighborhood. With Windows Defender cranking alongside, utilization rose to a modest 70%. Despite lackluster gaming performance, Intel’s G35 will in fact churn through high-def content without performance issues.