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Features & Specifications
The most notable feature of the 780G chipset from AMD is the integrated Radeon HD 3200 graphics. The HD 3200 is DirectX 10 compliant and has enough power to run the cool bells and whistles of Vista like Aero and Flip 3D. The HD 3200 graphics are also able to playback Blu-ray video. There are several options with eh 780G for video output, my test board uses DVI, VGA and HDMI outs. AMD pointed out that board makers can opt to include Display Port as well.
In addition to the integrated HD 3200 graphics the chipset also supports one x16 PCI Express 2.0 slot for an external graphics card. Other features of the chipset include the ability to drive up to four displays in SurroundView mode, ATI Hybrid Graphics, and ATI PowerPlay. Hybrid Graphics allows you to add a discrete GPU into the x16 slot and combine the performance of the HD3200 integrated GPU with the discrete card for more performance. PowerPlay is a technology that helps to greatly reduce power consumption of the system.
Along with the new 780G Northbridge chipset, the SB700 Southbridge is also new and provides users with support for up to 12 USB 2.0 connections, 6 AHCI based SATA 3.0Gb/s ports with eSATA capability, HD audio, system power management and parallel ATA connectivity. The Southbridge also supports RAID configurations as well.
The AMD Athlon X2 4850e dual-core processor we are looking at runs at 2.5GHz and features 64K of L1 instructions and 64K of L1 data cache per core. The L2 cache is 512KB per core. The CPU is made using 65 nm DSL silicon-on-insulator technology and is packaged to use Socket AM2 mainboards. HyperTransport has one 16-bit/16-bit link at 2GHz. One integrated 128-bit dual-channel memory controller with up to 12.8 GB/sec bandwidth is used. Supported memory speeds are up to PC2 6400. The 4850e has approximately 221 million transistors and a die about 118 mm square. Nominal voltage for the CPU is 1.15/1,20/1.25 V. The maximum thermal power for the 4850e is only 45W.
To test the system I am using 3DMark06, Sandra XII, Cinebench 9.5 and 10, Quake Wars, Bioshock and Crysis. The first tests up are for the CPU using Sandra XII.
The first test up for the 4850e was Sandra XII’s CPU arithmetic benchmark. The 4850e scored 15847 MIPS on Dhrystone ALU and 15054 MFLOPS on Whetstone iSSE3. The CPU multimedia test score was 46222 iit/s and 52224 fit/s. Multi-core efficiency tests showed an inter-core bandwidth of 2.36 GB/s and an inter-core latency of 109ns.
Cinebench & Windows Experience
The next test up for the CPU was with Cinebench 9.5 and 10. The 4850e scored 689 on Cinebench 9.5 and 3869 on Cinebench 10. The Windows experience factor for the CPU and chipset was 3.5, with the lowest score going to the integrated graphics; the CPU had a score of 5.1.
The first test up for the graphics was with 3DMark06. I ran all the graphics tests twice to test the system with only the HD 3200 integrated graphics and to test the system again with a discrete HD 3450 card installed. The first run through with on the integrated graphics scored as follows on 3DMark06:
The second run with the HD 3450 installed using both the integrated HD 3200 and the HD 34550 discrete card was as follows:
The first gaming test up was with Bioshock, which I ran at a screen resolution of 1280 x 1024 with all settings on medium, shadow maps on, high detail post processing on and distortion on. I used Fraps to record frame rate data from where you initially get off the submarine and ending when the flaming couch flies down the stairs. Fraps recoded the following frame rate data for the integrated HD 3200 graphics:
Using the same settings and game level I recorded the following frame rate data with the addition of the HD 3450 card:
The next game test up was with Crysis. Crysis refused to run after a Windows Vista update between reboots when I was testing with and without the HD 3450 card installed. I was able to get numbers for the integrated graphics though. I ran Crysis at 800 x 600 with no AA and all settings on low. Frame rate data was recorded using Fraps on the starting level at the beach insertion to the fight with the first enemies. Fraps recorded the following frame rate data:
The final game test up for the system was with Quake Wars. I ran the game at 1280 x 1024 with all settings on high and no AA. I used Fraps to record frame rate data on a single player mission at the Africa refinery. Fraps recorded the following frame rate data:
Adding in the HD 3450 at the same settings for the game resulted in the following scores:
After all the dust settled the 780G and Athlon X2 4850e performed well. Especially so when you consider that the CPU retails for only $89 and the CPU with the mainboard will cost around $180. Throw in a $50 HD 3450 discrete graphics card and you have a very low cost machine that can play games like Crysis (albeit at low settings). Still this system proved something you don’t hear often, you can play Crysis on integrated graphics. Still the system is best suited for casual gamers and those looking for a low cost system with low power requirements.
In the end the 780G chipset and the Athlon X2 4850e processor are a great bargain for the amount of performance they offer. You could use this system to work all day and then play some games when 5pm rolls around. The performance gains in real world gaming with the HD 3450 weren’t huge, but they were there. This is a very appealing system for entry-level computer gamers looking for the ability to play direct 10 games at a bargain price.
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