Earlier in this decade, nobody used AMD chipsets. During the time of Socket A, Socket 754, and Socket 939, there was no question, you used an nVidia nForce motherboard. To tell you the truth, I'm really not sure if AMD even made chipsets at that time, and if they did I have no idea what they were called.
Not so today, Socket AM3 has been around for nearly all of this year, yet I can find only three dedicated AM3 nForce motherboards, all built by one company. Only three! On the other hand, AMD has no less than seven chipsets that allow support for AM3/DDR3, and all relevant motherboard manufacturers are building motherboards using these chipsets.
Out of those seven chipsets, four have integrated graphics. Yeah, I know, enthusiasts have shunned integrated graphics since the first motherboards were released without them. But to quell any fears one may have about them, a year ago I built a rig using the ASRock AOD790GX/128. I used a "real" gaming video card, and this rig has been a daily driver gaming rig ever since with no issues whatsoever. The integrated graphics actually give the capability of adding an additional monitor, along with giving significant flexibility to the system...use the system without a video card, add an ATI mainstream video card and get a boost by utilizing Hybrid Crossfire, or add a gaming card and forget the integrated graphics are there altogether.
Today I will be looking at the ASRock M3A785GMH/128M, an mATX board using AMD's latest chipset, the 785G, which utilizes the SB710 Southbridge and Radeon HD 4200 integrated graphics. The board supports only Socket AM3 and DDR3 memory, which is a good thing. It also has all of ASRock's cool features. Read on to check out the M3A785GMH/128M!
- Dual Channel DDR3 memory technology
- 4 x DDR3 DIMM slots
- Supports DDR3 1600(OC)/1333/1066/800 non-ECC, un-buffered memory
- Max. capacity of system memory: 16GB
- 8Mb AMI BIOS
- AMI Legal BIOS
- Supports "Plug and Play"
- ACPI 1.1 Compliance Wake Up Events
- Supports jumperfree
- SMBIOS 2.3.1 Support
- VCCM, NB Voltage Multi-adjustment
- Supports Smart BIOS
- Integrated AMD Radeon HD 3200 graphics
- DX10 class iGPU, Pixel Shader 4.0
- Max. shared memory 512MB
- Built-in 128MB DDR3 1333(OC)/1200MHz SidePort Memory
- Three VGA Output options: D-Sub, DVI-D and HDMI
- Supports HDMI Technology with max. resolution up to 1920x1200 (1080P)
- Supports Dual-link DVI with max. resolution up to 2560x1600 @ 75Hz
- Supports D-Sub with max. resolution up to 2048x1536 @ 60Hz
- Supports HDCP function
- Supports Full HD 1080p Blu-ray (BD) / HD-DVD playback
- PCIE x1 Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
- Realtek RTL8111DL
- Supports Wake-On-LAN Audio:
- 7.1 CH Windows Vista Premium Level HD Audio (Realtek ALC888 Audio Codec)
- 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (green @ x16 mode)
- 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 slot
- 2 x PCI slots
- Supports ATI Hybrid CrossFireX
- Micro ATX Form Factor: 9.6-in x 8.6-in (24.4 cm x 21.8 cm)
- Microsoftr Windowsr 7 / 7 64-bit / VistaT / VistaT 64-bit / XP / XP Media Center / XP 64-bit compliant
ASRock Unique Features:
- ASRock OC Tuner
- Intelligent Energy Saver
- Instant Boot
- ASRock Instant Flash
- Hybrid Booster:
- CPU Frequency Stepless Control
- ASRock U-COP
- Boot Failure Guard (B.F.G.)
- CPU Temperature Sensing
- Chassis Temperature Sensing
- CPU/Chassis/Power Fan Tachometer
- CPU Quiet Fan
- Voltage Monitoring: +12V, +5V, +3.3V, Vcore
- FCC, CE, WHQL
- EuP Ready (EuP ready power supply is required)
The M3A785GMH/128M's box is quite busy. The flame-colored background graphics remind you of some futuristic game. Most prominent on the front is a dragon holding a sphere with the word "fusion" in it. This is the logo for "AMD Dragon" a platform technology based on the Phenom II CPU and the 785G/790GX chipsets. More on that later. Most of the remainder of the front is covered by various features of the motherboard. The rear of the box is completely covered with features and specs, and some awards given ASRock motherboards by various reviewers, including one by yours truly.
Inside, the board is in a static resistant bag and backed by foam. On top, separated by a cardboard divider is the bundle, manual, and driver disks.