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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.

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.