|ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO mATX AM3 Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Hank Tolman - Edited by Olin Coles|
|Tuesday, 06 April 2010|
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ASUS AMD 785G Final Thoughts
As newer, faster technology pours into the market, an interest in upgrading our computers to make them more compatible with the latest gadgets, games, and other programs is inevitable. While hardcore enthusiasts and gamers may have nearly unlimited resources to spend on the latest and greatest components, most users don't fall into that category. In fact, most gamers don't even fall into that category. Taking a look at Steam's hardware survey, we can see that a lot of users that are playing games have a lot of room to upgrade and improve their systems. Since this is the case, it is likely that these users, like most of us, will be operating on tight budgets.
AMD has been known for quite a while now as a value based brand. Intel's top of the line equipment outperforms most of that provided by AMD, but it comes at a price. Budget minded users have long looked to AMD for refuge from the prices, while still expecting great performance and value. The 785G Chipset released by AMD continues a recent trend of excellent performance in their graphics integrated chipsets. ASUS has used the 785G chipset in their entry level motherboard, the M4A785TD-M EVO that Benchmark Reviews has looked at today.
The ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO AM3 Motherboard is an excellent showcase of the availability of great products offering awesome features, yet still maintaining a low price. The M4A785TD-M EVO will only set you back $90, but it rewards buyers with opportunities normally limited to a higher cost bracket. The overclock settings in the BIOS of the M4A785TD-M EVO give entry level users a chance to try their hand at pushing the limits of their hardware.
The Radeon HD 4200 integrated graphics solution that comes on the M4A785TD-M EVO sports a dedicated 128 MB of DDR3 1333MHz RAM. ASUS has even included the GPU NOS utility to aid users in overclocking the Radeon HD 4200. While the on-board graphics solution for the M4A785TD-M EVO won't play the latest and most graphics intensive games (as we have seen in our tests), it offers an excellent multi-media experience without the added cost of another component. HDMI 1.3 and DirectX 10.1 are both supported with the 785G chipset. If you need more graphics power, the M4A785TD-M EVO offers a PCIe X16 2.0 slot that can be used to take your PC to the next level of gaming performance. I was particularly impressed with the VIA Audio CODEC found on the M4A785TD-M EVO, as well as the addition of a GbE port.
The great part about the M4A785TD-M EVO is that, even at it's entry level price, it doesn't hold you back from turning your machine into whatever you need. While you are limited to a single PCIe X16 GPU, that won't stop you from playing the latest games. The AM3 platform offers the opportunity to buy small (like the inexpensive Athlon-II X2-255 we used in our testing) and upgrade to pretty much anything. The M4A785TD-M EVO supports DDR3 RAM up to 1800MHz, meaning there is almost no limit to what you can do with your Dual-Channel RAM kit. The ACC function will let you upgrade to a Phenom-II X2 or X3 CPU and give a shot at unlocking the disabled cores. Paired with something along the lines of 965BE Processor, good 1800Mhz RAM, and a Radeon 5000 series video card, the M4A785TD-M EVO could be the basis of that gaming rig you are planning on slowly upgrading to one piece at a time.
We have seen that the M4A785TD-M EVO provides a much better solution for most budget minded users than it's Intel equivalent, and we have shown the benefits of upgrading from an early Core 2 Duo machine that is in need of a facelift. After seeing just what the ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO AM3 Motherboard is capable of, I would highly recommend it to any user looking for an upgrade that is affordable yet still offers the distinct possibility of further upgrades in the future without having to spend an arm and a leg.