|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 M4A785TD-M EVO Detailed Features
ASUS has maintained a high standard with the M4A785TD-M EVO by once again including 100% Solid Polymer Capacitors throughout the board. The solid capacitors are quite a bit higher quality than the traditional ones, and should last quite a bit longer.
One oddity of the M4A785TD-M EVO that I might like to see changed is the lack of a heatsink for the MOSFET. I get that this is a budget level motherboard and so it makes sense that it wouldn't be there. But with the overclocking capabilities that this board has to offer, the likelihood of more power being funneled to components through the MOSFET is high. A heatsink could be a good addition. While we are in the area, you'll notice that the four DDR3 DIMM slots are color coded and not alternating. If you are using a dual channel kit, you'll want to put them right next to each other, rather than skipping one between the two like you would on a lot of motherboards. The DIMM slots are located perilously close to the CPU. This is a necessity, really, on a mATX motherboard, but it did cause some issues for me.
I am using 2 x 2GB of Patriot Gamer Series DDR3 1600MHz memory in the M4A785TD-M EVO. The memory is very tall due to the heat spreaders. I am also using the Scythe Mugen 2 SCMG-2000 CPU cooler. The cooler is pretty large and the setup puts my CPU cooler fan right on top of the RAM. There isn't a lot of space there and the fan actually rests on top of the RAM. This shouldn't cause any issues, except that I lose a little bit of heatsink surface area that is covered by the fan.
Taking a look at the rear I/O panel, we can see that ASUS has provided us with everything we need and even a lot we probably don't on the M4A785TD-M EVO. The first port is a now rare PS2 port, just in case. Under that are the first two USB ports. Moving to the right we have an HDMI port and an S/PDIF audio port. This is a great feature to have, but one that probably won't be used by a lot of standard PC users. HTPC users, however, may have a much higher interest in the S/PDIF port. Also for HTPC users, you can set the HDMI port to pass audio as well in the BIOS. After the D-Sub and DVI ports there are two more USB ports, a 1394a port and an eSATA port. Two more USB ports under a Gigabit Ethernet port round out the six total on the rear I/O panel. You'll remember I mentioned that SB710 doesn't support native GbE. Asus uses the Realtek RTL8112L PHY as the 10/100/1000Mbps controller onto the M4A785TD-M EVO.
To finish up the I/O panel, we have the 8 channel audio ports. ASUS doesn't stick with Realtek for the audio on the M4A785TD-M EVO. In a trend they keep with a lot of their recent products, they use VIA to provide the CODEC. Specifically, they VIA Vinyl VT7108S is used. I must admit that I was impressed with the VIA audio CODEC when used with the HDAudio program that comes bundled with the M4A785TD-M EVO motherboard. I use a 5.1 channel setup on my computer, but most of my music only uses 2 channels. I have tried various configurations of the speaker fill effect within the driver section of the Realtek audio CODECs in Windows. The result is a horrible, abusive sound from the rear speakers. The HD-Audio program has its own speaker fill function that works extremely well and sounds really good. Overall, the I/O port on the M4A785TD-M EVO is very full-featured for a board at this price.
The Radeon HD4200 Integrated graphics on the M4A785TD-M EVO comes with 128 MB of side-port memory, located right next to the northbridge. It actually a lie under the northbridge heatsink, but it's not touching the heatsink, so don't expect any help cooling if you decided to overclock the GPU memory. It's quite impressive that ASUS offers the side-port memory on a motherboard with a price this low, as many manufacturers have foregone this option. The memory is DDR3 and runs at 1333MHz.
ASUS offers the GPU NOS feature with the M4A785TD-M EVO motherboard. The program is specifically designed to overclock the Radeon HD4200 and lets you do it while still in Windows. The GPU NOS program is extremely easy to use and works fairly well. It lets you have the option of manually overclocking the GPU or the program will do it automatically for you. This gave me a much better performance in a number of the benchmarks. The most impressive part about the GPU NOS program, however, is that when I set it to AUTO overclock mode, it had nearly the same performance as when I manually overclocked it as high as I could stably get it. For a real boost in power, without worrying about overclocking too much, stick with the AUTO mode.