790GX AM3 Motherboard Review
Manufacturer's Part Number: M4A78T-E
Price: $168CDN + Click Here to Compare Prices
Manufacturer's Product Page: ASUSTeK Computer Inc.
Warranty: 3 year limited warranty
An AMD-based motherboard review here at Hardware Canucks? Unbelievable! But definitely WAY past due. With the recent resurgence in the popularity of AMD processors, thanks to the surprisingly competent and extremely overclocking friendly Phenom II series, there is no better time to start off on this new path.
Speaking of new paths, in mid-February AMD launched the new Socket AM3 platform which finally brought forth official support for DDR3 memory. Along with this new socket, AMD launched three processors in the form of the Phenom II X3 710, X3 720 Black Edition, and the X4 810, with the promise of higher-end quad-core models to come (X4 925, X4 945, X4 955). Since the Phenom II's feature an integrated memory controller, the DDR3 support was added there so the actual AMD chipset didn't need any fundamental changes. Therefore, all motherboard manufacturers had to do to support these new CPU models was throw DDR3 memory slots on their current AM2+ motherboards, and voila! A brand new line-up of motherboards. None of them actually did this directly, but the transition certainly was not design intensive.
The motherboard that we are reviewing today is the ASUS M4A78T-E, which is based on the AMD 790GX/SB750 chipset combo. This enthusiast-oriented chipset has an Ace-in-the-Hole in the form of a very capable integrated graphics processor (IGP), the Radeon HD 3300. Along with this already strong selling point, the motherboard also features two mechanical PCI-E x16 2.0 slots, 2-way CrossFireX support, five SATA II ports, excellent RAID capabilities, eSATA and FireWire connectivity, six USB 2.0 ports, DVI, HDMI and D-Sub outputs, onboard 8-channel High-Definition audio, ExpressGate "instant-on" OS, Energy Processing Unit (EPU), and more.
The specs look great on paper, but it will take more than that to win our praise.