Back in November of last year I reviewed the Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H motherboard and was relatively impressed. The ASUS M4A785D-M Pro is another one of these micro-ATX boards offering the AMD 785G chipset. It comes in at around the same price give or take a fiver, so it’s a direct competitor of the Gigabyte model.
Introduction: ASUS M4A785D-M Pro
ASUS are widely accepted and respected in the PC components industry, having been producing good quality motherboards and graphics cards for many years. More recently they’ve also turned their attentions to PC cases, CPU heatsinks, laptops, monitor and all manner of other things but to many people motherboards continue to be what they think off when thinking of ASUS.
As you’d expect from the name of this motherboard, this is a 785 chipset motherboard. Which is currently the premium integrated graphics chipset from AMD. The board follows the micro-ATX (uATX) standard and retails around the £60 price point, this makes it a premium low-end/mid-range board. Aimed at users who want a reletively cheap compact PC that won’t struggle with mundane tasks in a few years time. The integrated graphics should provide sufficient power for Windows 7 Aero and HD or blueray playback.
Having an AM3 socket you have the option of pairing this motherboard with either an AM2, AM2+ or AM3 processor. For a mid-range PC a processor such as the AMD Athlon X3 425 reviewed earlier this month on mods-n-clocks would be ideal. The ASUS M4A785D-M Pro includes support for the newer 45 nm process CPUs and CPUs with TDPs upto 125W such as the 3.4 GHz quad core Phenom II X4 965. As with all AM3/AM2+/AM2 motherboards the HT speed switches between 5200 MT/s and 2000/1600 MT/s depending on which type of CPU is installed.
The AMD AM3 CPUs have onboard memory controller circuitry to support both DDR2 and DDR3 memory but with this being a cheaper micro ATX motherboard ASUS have opted to offer only DDR2 memory slots. This isn’t really an issue as most people using this board would prefer to benefit from the cheaper current prices of DDR2 rather than the small performance boost of DDR3. The M4A785D-M Pro has four DDR2 slots and a maximum RAM capacity of up to 16Gb as your operating system allows.
The 785G chipset includes HD4200 graphics which is plenty capable of running High Definition video and playing a few of the older games if you’re still playing through Half Life 2 or if you spend all your gaming hours on Counter Strike: Source like so many people still do. This motherboard includes AMD’s Hybrid CrossfireX to allow you to install a PCIe graphics card alongside the HD4200 chip and make use of the HD4200 for desktop and low power applications while using the more powerful PCIe card for full on gaming.
SATA ports are controlled by the SB710 southbridge and support RAID in the usual JBOD, 0, 1 and 10 flavours. There are 5 SATA ports found internally and 1 eSATA port on the rear. Internally you will also find an IDE/PATA cconnection for up to 2 PATA devices. Twelve USB ports are offered, 6 on the rear panel and another 6 via the three on board headers, gigabit LAN is included and there are 2 PCI slots, 1 PCIe 1x slot and a PCIe 16x slot. Onboard audio is included by means of the VIA VT1708S High Definition Audio 8-Channel codec which provides an optical output as well as the normal 6 connectors on the rear panel.