The 785G ConclusionAMD is still on a roll when it comes to integrated graphics. With NVIDIA concentrating on ION, and Intel still producing inferior integrated graphics, AMD really still stands at the top of the integrated hill. While it is debatable if that is actually a badge of merit to some, the engineering behind such a solution is still impressive. It cannot be denied that the integrated market is the largest single market in the PC world, and AMD has again staked its claim at having one of the best all around solutions. Now that AMD actually has processors that are competitive with Intel, it is a further advantage for AMD.
The back plate of the Asus EVO board is also packed to the gills. HDMI, Firewire, USB ports, Gig-E, oh my…
The gaming performance of the 785G is “good enough” for most people. It will play older games at higher resolutions and quality settings, but still can play more modern titles at lower resolutions and quality settings. Casual games such as Sims 3 should have no issues with running on the 785G. AMD’s recent driver support has been very good, and while they may not put in CrossFire profiles for the latest games until a month or two after release, we can rest assured that even newer titles will work without problem on the 785G. If there is one area where Intel is consistently criticized for, it is compatibility with many gaming titles. While Intel has improved that with the G4x series of integrated chipsets, the promise of care free gaming from Intel is still a ways off.
The two areas where this chipset will get a lot of attention are that of productivity and video playback. The addition of Stream support will give users a nice performance boost when paired with an inexpensive dual core processor and an application which supports Stream processing. With companies like Adobe and Microsoft jumping on the Stream bandwagon, we can expect more applications to leverage the parallel processing power of even these integrated chipsets.
For a $99 board, Asus has integrated a lot of extras on their board, including this very robust power delivery system.
Video playback received a huge boost with this product, and the full benefits of it have not been adequately tested so far. Once I receive a few extra home theater pieces where I can comprehensively test out the full audio and visual functionality of this chip, then I will post a standalone article which covers in depth the full multi-media properties of the 785G chipset. This could be a serious boon for HTPC enthusiasts looking for a high quality, low power solution to power their entertainment centers.
I found very few negatives in the testing that I was able to do, and since it is more of an evolution than revolution, the 785G has a lot of software and driver support as is. The only real issue that I found was that we still suffer from the AHCI issues in Vista with the SB710 southbridge. In fact, AHCI performance in all OS’s is pretty lackluster at best, and it is usually a better idea just to stick with IDE functionality. Hopefully the upcoming SB800 that is supposed to show up early next year will fix these problems.
AMD has certainly lined out the partners for this launch, with ASRock, Gigabyte, and MSI really bringing the wood.
AMD does have a winner when it comes to integrated graphics. The combination of performance and features sets the bar even higher for AMD’s competitors.