Power Consumption, Performance, Pricing, Final Thoughts
The A785GM-M had the best idle power scores out of the bunch and came in third place behind two 790GX boards during load testing. The emphasis on power-efficienct motherboards has increased dramatically recently, which helps out the economy and longevity of PC systems as a whole. I also want our readers to know that the A785GM-M supports the Phenom II X4 965, which runs at a hefty 140 watts in load conditions.
My first experience with the A785GM-M and specifically AMD’s new 785G chipset left me wanting a bit more in terms of performance. Our benchmarks only showed a slight variation in power and performance between the 785G and the more powerful 790GX and 790FX chipsets. While we know the 785G is really geared toward mainstream PC users with visions of building their own power-efficient home theater PCs, we still would have liked the HD 4200 integrated graphics to pack a bit more punch during our real-world games like Far Cry 2.
But, if we take into account the price point of the A785GM-M and many of the other vendors’ 785G offerings, I can’t be too hard on ECS for how they put together this motherboard because it has plenty of features to still smile about like 8.1 high-definition audio, full HD 1080p playback, support for two eSATA devices, and even their eJiffy utility that makes surfing the web and checking e-mail a breeze.
The main features that will really draw consumer attention to the A785GM-M is the integration of ATI’s HD 4200 graphics on the motherboard. While we weren’t able to play some of the top FPS games on the market at decent resolutions, we were able to play games like Quake Live and F.E.A.R. at relatively high resolutions. The addition of HDMI and high-quality audio options makes this board ideal for those upgrading their HTPCs to handle high-definition content.
Some other features that should get some attention are the AMD SB710’s support for two ATA devices, six SATA 3.0GB/s devices, and RAID 0, 1, and 10 configurations. There is also a JMicro JMB362 controller that supports two eSATAII 3.0GB/s devices that provide higher data transfer rates than typical USB 2.0 and firewire interfaces.
Pricing and Availability
At the time of this review, the A785GM-M was currently priced around $74.99 after MIB at Newegg.
We’d like to thank ECS for providing the A785GM-M for our review today. I’ve been highly impressed with many of their Black Series motherboards and I really commend them for making overclocking an easier process in their BIOS. Many vendors use terminology in the overclocking portions of their BIOS that typical users don’t understand. I think the worst thing vendors can do is confuse end users on available features because its those features that make their products stand out in the first place.
The 785G chipset is very power efficient, but lacked some of the performance I wanted to see from its integrated graphics offering. My standards might be set a bit high when I compare the 785G to its older siblings, but it would have been nice to see integrated graphics that allowed me to play modern PC games at decent resolutions without lag or system lock-ups. I know we might be way off from integrated graphics producing high-definition gaming, but I think we should be close to letting gamers play their favorite titles at 1024 or 1280 resolutions. Only time will tell I guess.
In conclusion, the A785GM-M is truly a great budget overclocker and provided enough power stability to handle even the most power-hungry AM3 processors. While the integrated graphics didn’t impress me, the overall board’s features and price point should entice many consumers to give ECS’s A785GM-M a double-take, especially when they consider other boards with these feature sets on the market today.