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Asus M4A78-HTPC/RC review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : 80
inc VAT

An ideal choice if you want to build a media centre PC, thanks to HD video decoding and a remote control.

Specifications

AM2+, microATX, AMD 780G chipset, supports: Sempron, Athlon 64, Athlon 64 X2, Athlon 64 FX, Phenom, Phenom II

http://www.lambda-tek.com/componentshop

Asus’s M4A78-HTPC microATX motherboard is designed for media centre PCs and is available with or without a remote control.

We reviewed the remote control version, which comes with a USB infrared receiver and a helpful sticker over two of the board’s four USB ports to tell you where to plug it in. The remote is smaller than a typical Media Center remote, but it has a simple layout and clear symbols on the buttons. It worked perfectly with Windows Media Center without any need for configuration.

Another informative sticker points out a four-pin Molex connector that provides a dedicated power supply to the board’s VIA VT1718S audio processor. In our tests, we found that this reduced audio interference from the rest of the board, improving audio quality.

As with most Asus motherboards, the BIOS is a pleasure to use, offering plenty of overclocking options, even though most media PC builders are unlikely to need them. There’s a single PCI-E x16 slot for a graphics card, although the integrated ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics processor can decode HD video, so it’s ideal if you plan to add a Blu-ray drive. There are two PCI-E x1 slots and a PCI slot, so you’ll be able to fit your choice of TV tuner and home theatre sound card.

The motherboard performed very well in our benchmarks, and is just as good for a desktop PC or a media centre. It’s not the cheapest motherboard but is well worth the premium if you need this range of features.

Basic Specifications

Rating ****
Processor socket AM2+
Form factor microATX
Size 244x224mm
Processor support Sempron, Athlon 64, Athlon 64 X2, Athlon 64 FX, Phenom, Phenom II
Processor external bus 200MHz (2GHz HyperTransport)
Chipset north bridge AMD 780G
Chipset south bridge AMD SB700
Passively-cooled north bridge yes
Integrated graphics Yes
Supported memory type DDR2 667/800/1066
Maximum memory speed PC2-8500
Memory slots 4
Maximum memory 16GB
Dual-channel support yes

Buying Information

Price £80
Supplier http://www.lambda-tek.com/componentshop
Details www.asus.com

Internal Ports

Power connectors 1x 24-pin ATX, 1x 4-pin ATX, 1x 4-pin Molex audio power connector
PCI-E x16 slots 1
Dual graphics architecture none
PCI-E x4 slots 0
PCI-E x1 slots 2
PCI slots 1
Fan headers 3
Floppy ports 0
IDE ports 1
Serial ATA ports 5
RAID chipset (max disks) none

Features

Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Sound (ports) VIA VT1718S (6x analogue audio out, stereo photo out, optical S/PDIF out, coaxial S/PDIF out)
USB2 ports / headers 4/3
Firewire ports / headers 0/0
Legacy ports none
Other ports HDMI
Cables included 1x SATA, 1x IDE
Brackets included none
Software included Norton Internet Security 2009

Setup and Overclocking

Voltage adjustment CPU/RAM/Chipset
CPU clock max adjustment 999MHz

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