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MSI A78M-E35 Versus Gigabyte GA-F2A78M-D3H

Today we look at two AMD A78-based motherboards (MSI's A78M-E35 and Gigabyte's GA-F2A78M-D3H), to determine how they stack up against A88X.

Our Verdict

This board is a great choice for an HTPC build with locked processors or where light overclocking may help satisfy a desire for increased performance. If the ASRock ITX can't be found at a reasonable price, this board is a great alternative.

For

  • Layout, low regulator temperatures, out-of-box overclock

Against

  • No voltage biasing

Tom's Hardware Verdict

This board is a great choice for an HTPC build with locked processors or where light overclocking may help satisfy a desire for increased performance. If the ASRock ITX can't be found at a reasonable price, this board is a great alternative.

Pros

  • +

    Layout, low regulator temperatures, out-of-box overclock

Cons

  • -

    No voltage biasing

An Introduction To AMD's A78 Chipset

It has been nearly a year since Tom's Hardware last reviewed a motherboard for AMD's processors. And with the recent Godavari APU announcement, we thought we should dust off our Kaveri APUs to see if we can find some additional value in the company's not-so-famous alternative chipsets. 

Our own Thomas Soderstrom looked at AMD's A88X chipset from an enthusiast's standpoint and determined that an APU placed into this platform, along with a complementary graphics card, could provide plenty of performance and features to satisfy anyone looking for a mainstream Intel alternative.

But does the average desktop user really need CrossFire, an eight-phase voltage regulator or enough SATA 6Gb/s ports to load an ATX tower? Do they instead want an HTPC with enough bells and whistles for an out-of-the-box overclock, modest graphics horsepower and plenty of room for storage without busting the budget (or form factor)? I have good news, friends: AMD has a solution and you might not have even considered it.

FM2FM2+
A85XA75A55A88XA78
PCI Express1x16 / 2x81x161x161x16 / 2x81x16
SATA (6Gb/s)8 (8)6 (6)6 (0)8 (8)6 (6)
RAID0, 1, 5, 100, 1, 100, 1, 100, 1, 5, 100, 1, 10
RAID DriverPromisePromisePromiseDot HillDot Hill
USB (3.0)14 (4)14 (4)14 (0)14 (4)14 (4)

* Per AMD's website - FM2 easy upgrade path featuring latest USB and SATA technologies; FM2+ backwards compatible, future-ready and PCIe 3.0-ready.

Introducing the A78, AMD's "media-class" chipset. Though it doesn't have any fancy Xes or a three-digit designation, this platform is completely adequate for most folks. In fact, comparing AMD's FM2+-compatible offerings, the only difference between the flagship and A78 is an inability to split 16 lanes of PCIe into two x8 links, two missing SATA 6Gb/s ports and RAID 5 support. 

Today, I will be comparing MSI's A78M-E35 and Gigabyte's F2A78M-D3H. I will also be using some of Thomas' data for the Asus A88X-Pro Eric's MSI H81M-E34 results for comparisons to a different AMD chipset and Intel's low- budget offering. 

Technical Specifications


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