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Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H Review
The Gigabyte Motherboard is a Solid Performer
The Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H is well suited for home theater pcs; buy motherboard for the all in one features and its IGP. The gigabyte motherboard is one a wide range of computer motherboards.
Gigabyte manufactures the Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H motherboard with the ATI 780G chipset; it's a performance mobo. This board supports the AM2+ and AM2 socket CPU's, including Phenom, Sempron and Athlon 64 X2 processors in the Micro-ATX form factor. It is being promoted as an all-in-one board, using an integrated graphics processor (IGP). This makes it ideal for a HTPC (Home Theater PC) with a price of around $89.00. Let's take a look at what makes this board such a great choice for an HTPC.
Gigabyte Motherboard includes:
As mentioned, the board supports the AM2/AM2+ CPU's. With 4 DDR2 memory slots, this motherboard will support up to 16GB of 1066MHz modules. There are also multiple headers on the motherboard that support front panel connections, 4 USB headers, Firewire and system fan headers, to name a few. What really makes this board stand out though is the integrated graphics that can be combined with a graphics card for Hybrid Crossfire.
Hybrid Crossfire is a new twist to the Crossfire setup. The integrated graphics chip can be used just like another graphics card to run in Crossfire mode. The chip itself is called a Radeon HD3200. It supports DirectX 10, uses 40 stream processors, and is clocked at 500MHz. Not a screamer, but it is able to play games at lower resolutions. Pair that with a lower end card such as the HD3400, and you can double your graphics power to achieve decent framerates at a lower cost. Note that Hybrid does not work with mid to high range cards.
HTPC's have specific requirements in order to perform well. They need a video output that one, has great picture quality, and two, can connect to high definition televisions or to a high definition projector. HTPC's also need to have great audio outputs to run through a home stereo receiver, and have the ability to connnect a storage system and multiple drives. The Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H achieves all of this with integrated graphics including:
If you pair this board with a low power CPU like the Athlon 64 X2 4850e, and 2.5" drives, you will keep your power requirements low, which is a huge plus for an HTPC. This also allows you to use a smaller power supply with a nice high efficiency rating. Keeping your power requirements low means you also need less cooling in the sometimes cramped quarters of an HTPC case.
Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H Review: Conclusion
In overclocking tests, this board did not fair so well, and with the integrated graphics, you are not going to get the best gaming performance out of it. That said however, the Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H is one of the top boards to base an HTPC on. With low power draw, integrated graphics that offer multiple outputs, and just about any connection you could want, it really stands out from the crowd.
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