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785G And H55: Two Powerful Mini-ITX-Based Desktop Solutions

AMD Platform: Sapphire IPC-AM3DD785G (AMD 785G)

Sapphire's product page emphasizes that the "highly-integrated" IPC-AM3DD785G consumes less than 100 W of power. While this is true, we should add that this doesn't only apply to Mini-ITX boards. Similar ATX or microATX boards can also be low on power—even down to an idle draw between 35 W and 44 W, depending on the processor used. But even Sapphire's peak power stayed below the 100 W mark, ranging from 50 W to 97 W. The 50 W result is particularly interesting. We also tested to see if this low power consumption translates into high power efficiency.

The AM3DD785G is a fully-featured Socket AM3 motherboard. It only has two (instead of the usual four) DDR3 slots, supporting 8 GB maximum. There just isn’t room for more on the 170 x 170 mm motherboard. Sapphire pairs AMD's 785G chipset with the SB710 southbridge and provides four SATA 3Gb/s ports, the UltraATA/133 port for two legacy drives, and a total of ten USB 2.0 ports. Gigabit networking comes complements of an Atheros PHY and PCI Express x1 link.

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If your case can fit it, Sapphire's single x16 PCI Express 2.0 slot will accept a double-slot graphics card, and the three-phase voltage regulator should accept almost all Socket AM3 processors. The new Phenom II X6 and other X4 processors require a 125 W or even 140W thermal envelope. This board offers VGA and HDMI display outputs, so it's set for HTPC applications, whether or not you install add-on cards.