AMD Platform: 785G (Gigabyte MA785GMT-UD2H)
The AMD 785G chipset is AMD’s latest mainstream desktop core logic with integrated graphics. Don Woligroski reviewed it almost half a year ago, and it’s been a popular choice for HTPC setups and multimedia PCs, largely because mainstream AMD processors and their compatible motherboards are so much cheaper than Intel-based equivalents. One AMD advantage is that its advanced graphics core supports DirectX 10.1, which Intel still doesn’t.
We used Gigabyte’s MA785GMT-UD2H motherboard, based on the 785G and SB710 chipset. The southbridge offers five internal SATA/300 ports with basic RAID support (no RAID 5) and one eSATA port for external storage. There’s still one UltraATA/133 channel, which can be handy for keeping optical or IDE-based hard drives afloat. Gigabyte adds HD Audio support, a FireWire 1394a controller with one installed port, gigabit networking, and the full line of differentiating features, including DualBIOS and UltraDurable 3 technology. This entails using extra copper to reduce resistance and increase signal quality. All AMD processors with up to a 140W TDP are supported through five-phase voltage regulation.