Enthusiasts should avoid the 780G platform

Discussion in 'Motherboards' started by b1lk1, May 11, 2008.

  1. b1lk1

    b1lk1 Tech Monkey

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    My PC recently died and I found myself needing something with some good power on a very strict budget. I started poking around and I remembered that nice new chipset from AMD, the 780G. It was advertised as a fantastic overclocker with exceptional graphics capabilities, for an IGP system that is. The fact I could toss in this little HD3450 I have laying around for a cheap Crossfire boost was very appealing too. Since I had no wiggle room in my $500 budget, I figured I'd give the Phenom a chance.

    I bought:
    Phenom 9850BE - $255
    ASUS M3A78-EMH HDMI - $99
    Mushkin 2X2GB - $99

    After taxes, it came to $509 (that was also counting the $5 for the computer shop to flash the board to the latest bios beforehand).

    I got it home and set it up. Installed Vista Ultimate 64 just fine. Got everything loaded up. I had a few problems but they were cause by me accidentally setting the CPU multi to 25. Believe it or not, it was still getting into windows like that! Then I decided to do some research on this board, the research I wish I had done BEFORE I bought it.

    It seems that AMD failed to inform the motherboard manufacturers that they needed to produce a board that could handle the 125W TDP spec processors. Motherboard manufacturers seemed to not care as well and many built them with such poor CPU power circuits that even running a 125W CPU at stock speeds while stress testing would cause the motherboards to fail. Needless to say, I was quickly realizing I made another HUGE mistake with a PC build.

    Now the current argument is that AMD never intended the 125TDP CPU's to be used on this board. The next argument is that very few people but MATX boards for enthusiast platforms so it isn't needed. Hogwash.

    Almost every MATX board with an Intel chipset will happily support a Quad, even while overclocked. Why wouldn't AMD want to make certain their products could do the same?

    To make a long story short, Intel has won yet another battle with inferior performance. The 780G walks all over the 3100/3500 platforms in terms if IGP performance, but the inability to reliably run a high end CPU gives AMD the loss. I am still also at a loss how a $250 CPU is considered high end, but I guess the standards have been lowered so far for AMD that $250 is indeed their highest end product. It is just a shame it can only be properly used on a 790x chipset board meaning another $200+ layout of cash is needed to run it.

    So my advice to everyone, AVOID the 780G platform. AVOID the 770 platform as it too is not capable of the power requirements. If you want a Phenom and plan to overclock, you are FORCED to buy a very expensive 790 chipset motherboard. Now I am fully understanding why AMD is falling further and further behind. Poor design and ever poorer implementation is going to be their downfall.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2008
  2. madmat

    madmat Soup Nazi

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    That's not completely correct. AMD has the 6400+ AM2's which are supposed to be compatible with that mobo. That's a 125W TDP chip. Besides, the CPU PWM section is what decides the wattage capability of the CPU socket, not the chipset. Look into that on prospective motherboards. If you see boards that people are boasting big OC's with X2 6400+'s and it's a phenom compatible board then the chances are good that the 9850+ will work.
     
  3. b1lk1

    b1lk1 Tech Monkey

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    But most of the 780G, including all of ASUS's boards, do NOT officially support the 6400+ or ANY 125W TDP processor, whether it is dual core or quad core. Believe me, I have looked heavily into this. Many of the people running them with 125W CPU's are oblivious of the problem like I was.

    We can blame AMD partly for this since they chose not to make 125W TDP compliance mandatory. Motherboard makers take the rest of the blame for cheaping out completely on poor PWM designs.

    I am sure my board will overclock well, the problem is that under heavy CPU loads, the PWM are gets ridiculously hot and causes failure. Check Anandtech's review on these boards. They were killing them one after another before they realized the issue.

    It isn't that the processors don't work, it is that they draw too much power and kill the boards. Plain and simple.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2008
  4. madmat

    madmat Soup Nazi

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    No soup for you!
    Are the PWM sections heatsinked? If not a few self-stick BGA ramsinks will cure your ills.
     
  5. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

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    What is it with our staff lately? It seems no one can escape ridiculous bouts of bad luck.

    I'm with Bill though. I wouldn't ever imagine picking up a brand-new AMD board and processor and expect one to kill the other. It makes no sense. The fact is, 780G came out way after Phenom, so how could boards make it out the door in such a faulty state? Not everyone who wants an mATX board wants a Dual-Core.

    I am curious though, why didn't you just pick up a Q6600, which should have been less expensive, but likely more powerful?
     
  6. b1lk1

    b1lk1 Tech Monkey

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    I went with the 780G platform mainly because I had a spare HD3450 to go into it for the Crossfire X. That and 9850 was only a few dollars more with the unlocked multi. The Intel boards IGP is kinda weak so I figured I'd have some fun for a few months then I'd upgrade the video to something with some power.

    As for the heatsinks, I plan on doing something for them, but I still won't trust this board 100% even sinked.
     
  7. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

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    I can guarantee you that even with an HD3450, there wouldn't be much "fun" to be had, especially on your beast of a monitor.

    You need to stop buying and selling so often ;-) Stick with what treats you well.
     
  8. b1lk1

    b1lk1 Tech Monkey

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    Actually, you'd be surprised as to how well this thing is performing in games. I can play many of my favorites at medium/medium low settings @ 1680X1050 without problem.
     
  9. vdsl

    vdsl Obliviot

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    b1lk1 : Hi. So you will still run Phenom on this mobo ? Cause im very interested in same mobo, and from what i seen, it dont support Phenom 9850BE (so its strange u got it working for now).
     
  10. b1lk1

    b1lk1 Tech Monkey

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    I will continue to run it, but I expect it to kill the motherboard eventually. The board doesn't support ANY 125W TDP processors officially, but it will technically run them all. I would honestly NOT recommend this board with any high end AMD processor.

    EDIT: Stick to the lower end dual cores or maybe a 9550 Phenom if you have to get this board. I would recommend the Gigabyte version since it actually has a decent PWM to manage the better CPU's.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2008
  11. Kougar

    Kougar Techgage Staff Staff Member

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    The arguement I read, and can see some logic in (even if I may not agree with it) was that motherboard manufacturers didn't want to raise the cost of their motherboards, since ~$80 is now the basement budget bracket. Anything below $70 is typically horribly outdated or old hardware. I remember when my Abit IS7 was around $85... different era now pricing wise.

    Wrong. Nope. Again due to motherboard manufacturers, they pulled the same crap that got them in hot water with 780G. You just don't see it as much because Intel quads were always outside the price bracket... AMD's Quads are now inside that bracket. I personally own a GA-965P-DS3 motherboard. It has 3 voltage regulators... three. I never dared put my Q6600 in that motherboard because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt I would blow it up. It's not often remembered but 3 voltage regulator motherboards would often fail due to Pentium 4s... even P4 Northwoods could melt them in rare cases. Three VREGs made the power so unstable that the 965P-DS3 required the more voltage to justto hit 3.5GHz with an E6300, than my P35-DQ6 required to hit 3.8GHz. I don't remember the exact numbers, but it took less Vcore/voltage to hit 3.8GHz using a better designed board with more vregs.

    In my view AMD does not get any of the blame... AMD NEVER certified those motherboards to support the 9850BE, or the other 125TDP quad they offer. All the blame should go to the motherboard manufacturer IMHO, it's their mainboard designs after all. Some of them outright lied about the 9850BE support as well, which they never actually had from AMD as I mentioned. :)

    No, no one offered heatsinked vregs at all. Again due to "cost reasons"... hence why there are problems. ;)

    Anandtech was destroying those boards because they used an open air test bed... no case airflow, not even CPU fan airflow. They cooked their boards to death, pure and simple. After they added a 120mm fan to cool the PWM area they quit killing motherboards... using a radial, downward blowing CPU fan also helped. They wrote two editorials about this.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2008
  12. b1lk1

    b1lk1 Tech Monkey

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    1. My motherboard cost $95. Definitely not a budget board.

    2. For $5-10 more, they could have built it properly

    3. The DS3 and all boards like it are running Quads all over the WWW without dying.

    4. I agree that an open test bed is not the best for temps.

    5. AMD should have required 125W TDP certification since they desperately need to edge out Intel any way they can

    6. Almost all ASUS AM2 boards, including the MATX, are stating compatibility with the 125W CPUs. Why did they skimp on the Am2+ boards?

    I cannot be convinced otherwise. This was a major blunder for AMD and any motherboard manufacturer that doesn't get 125W TDP compatibility in their low end boards.
     
  13. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

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    In some regards, I blame both the board manufacturers along with AMD, but more so the board manufacturers. In all the testing they do in the lab, there is no way this kind of issue wasn't caught. Adding better power solutions would have indeed raised the price, but that's when two different models should be available, one for Dual-Cores and a higher-end model that supports the Quads.

    We can't just have people kill their processors or boards for no reason. The fact is, if AMD releases a brand-new motherboard and their latest CPU fits it, it should work.

    I'm almost tempted to install the ASUS P5E-VM HDMI along with the QX9650, but I think I'll do the smart thing and forget about it ;)
     
  14. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

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    Hah, can't complain about that!

    I mentioned it on the last page. For the stock option, which includes an Intel T5550, 120GB of HDD and 2GB of RAM, it is $999. The "as tested" machine, including the fast 2.5GHz Penryn (I love this thing), 4GB of RAM and 200GB hard drive, it will be $1,599.

    It goes without saying that the stock model would have better battery-life, but I really shouldn't estimate what gains you'd see, since it depends on so many factors. The 1.66GHz CPU is indeed slower, but I am not sure how much difference that would make in battery-life, since the 2.5GHz is based on a more efficient design. The hard drive would make a difference also, but the biggest difference might be sticking to Windows XP, as it's much more lightweight than Vista, and in turn improves battery-life.

    If you were to optimize the machine and stick to the stock version, I'd estimate that you could get another 20 - 25 minutes of life out of it. I'll see if Hypersonic has a better idea than I do, since they may have tested the stock units for overall battery-life.

    I really wish I had a better answer for you, but I'd really hate to make some guess at something and then be completely wrong. There are so many factors that come into play, so it's difficult to guess.
     
  15. Kougar

    Kougar Techgage Staff Staff Member

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    It's a hair above budget territory these days. Even ASRock's P31 board is $85, only the lowest end P35 boards will be found for that price range. 975X hardware such as the Foxconn 975X7AB that doesn't support 1333FSB processors or PC2-8500 RAM at ALL is $100.

    You and I would think so, but my point was $95 today doesn't buy you the boards it would have in 2002. $10 more would almost get you an Abit IC7 back then, which compares to a $200+ board today. Today it's become typical to see $300-$400 as the upper price bracket, which I'd be the first to agree is utterly absurd. Would get much better results spending $180 for a board and the rest on a higher binned CPU.

    Find me a Revision 1 965P-DS3 that is running a Quad. :) There is a big reason Gigabyte very very quickly got rid of this board, and no longer sells 3-vREG motherboards in the DS3 class. I still have my 3-VREG Rev 1 DS3 right here, but I'm not going to run my Quad in it and blow it up to prove this. It had enough issues powering an overclocked E6300 as it was. Only the lowest of low P31-S3G has only 3 VREGS anymore, and it costs $65.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2008

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