AMD IGP Chipset and Motherboard Showdown


Introduction

Introduction

NVIDIA's latest GeForce 9300/9400 series of mGPU motherboards has brought the spotlight back to IGP motherboards. For those who have an interest in these boards, the goals in recent IGP chipsets seem to be on improving the integrated graphics performance and adding features like DirectX 10 support and hardware acceleration for HD video playback. As we saw from our recent Intel CPU platform based comparison between Intel and NVIDIA chipsets, this has been largely achieved for HD video playback, though for the Intel G45, not so much for the graphics performance aspect.

Therefore, each successive generation of IGP chipsets has moved one step closer to becoming the perfect fit for a HD home theater PC (HTPC) setup. At the moment, for the Intel platform, we have to give this accolade to NVIDIA's GeForce 9 series mGPU. But like any other technology, it's temporary and who knows what the next year will bring. As for those looking at the AMD platform, what are the alternatives?

Well you'll find the usual suspects, with the exception of Intel. In fact, earlier this year, NVIDIA had already introduced its AMD IGP boards for this generation, the GeForce 8 series mGPU, using the MCP78S and supporting the latest AM2+ processors. This came in three flavors and we had done a preview of the GeForce 8200 mGPU from Palit. But this wasn't the biggest development of the year for the AMD IGP scene.

What grabbed the headlines was the release of AMD's 780G chipset, which has quickly gained a reputation for its integrated graphics performance and was the underpinning for AMD's mobile platform, Puma. This was followed by a few iterations of the 780 and then the 740G. To find out more about these IGP chipsets, we have gathered 4 retail models using these various chipsets and presented them here in this roundup to figure out how they all fare. Tech specs to follow:-

  Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H Gigabyte GA-MA74GM-S2 Zotac GeForce 8300 Zotac GeForce 8100
CPU Support Socket AM2/AM2+ processors
Chipset AMD 780G + SB700 AMD 740G + SB700 NVIDIA GeForce 8300 mGPU NVIDIA GeForce 8100 mGPU
Memory
  • 4 x DDR2-1066 (CPU dependent)
  • 16GB Maximum
  • 2 x DDR2-800
  • 8GB Maximum
  • 4 x DDR2-1066
  • 8GB Maximum
  • 2 x DDR2-1066
  • 4GB Maximum
Storage
  • 5 x SATA 3.0Gbps
  • Support AHCI controller with SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10 and JBOD configurations
  • 1 x eSATA 3.0Gbps port at rear
  • 1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66/33 for up to 2 PATA devices
  • 1 x floppy drive support
  • 6 x SATA 3.0Gbps
  • Support AHCI controller with SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10 configurations
  • 1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66/33 for up to 2 PATA devices
  • 1 x floppy drive support
  • 6 x SATA 3.0Gbps
  • Support AHCI controller with SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1, RAID 5 configurations
  • 1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66/33 for up to 2 PATA devices
  • 1 x floppy drive support
  • 4 x SATA 3.0Gbps
  • Support AHCI controller with SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1, RAID 5 configurations
  • 1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66/33 for up to 2 PATA devices
Audio
  • Realtek ALC889A HD CODEC
  • Support for DTS
  • 1 x S/PDIF output header
  • Optical S/PDIF output at rear
  • Realtek ALC888 HD CODEC
  • 1 x S/PDIF output header
  • Realtek ALC888 HD CODEC
  • 1 x S/PDIF output header
  • Realtek ALC662 HD CODEC
  • 1 x S/PDIF output header
Networking Realtek 8111C Gigabit LAN Realtek 8111C Gigabit LAN Realtek 8211B Gigabit LAN Realtek 8201N 100Mbps Ethernet
IEEE 1394
  • T.I TSB43AB23
  • 2 x 1394a (1 header, 1 rear)
N.A
  • VIA VT6307
  • 2 x 1394a (1 header, 1 rear)
N.A
Rear I/O
  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard port
  • 1 x PS/2 mouse port
  • 1 x D-Sub port
  • 1 x DVI-D port
  • 1 x HDMI port
  • 1 x optical S/PDIF output
  • 1 x eSATA port
  • 1 x IEEE 1394a port
  • 1 x RJ45 (LAN) port
  • 4 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 6 x Audio jacks
  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard port
  • 1 x parallel port
  • 1 x D-Sub port
  • 1 x DVI-D port
  • 1 x HDMI port
  • 1 x coaxial S/PDIF output
  • 1 x RJ45 (LAN) port
  • 4 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 3 x Audio jacks
  • 1 x PS/2 mouse port
  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard port
  • 1 x IEEE 1394a port
  • 4 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 x D-Sub port
  • 1 x DVI-D port
  • 1 x RJ45 (LAN) ports
  • 1 x coaxial S/PDIF output
  • 6 x Audio jacks
  • 1 x PS/2 mouse port
  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard port
  • 4 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 x D-Sub port
  • 1 x DVI-D port
  • 1 x RJ45 (LAN) ports
  • 3 x audio jacks
Internal Connectors
  • 4 x USB headers (8 ports)
  • 1 x floppy disk drive connector
  • 1 x IDE connector
  • 5 x SATA connectors
  • 1 x 1394a connector
  • 1 x parallel port header
  • 1 x serial port header
  • 1 x S/PDIF input/output header
  • 4 x USB headers (8 ports)
  • 1 x floppy disk drive connector
  • 1 x IDE connector
  • 6 x SATA connectors
  • 1 x serial port header
  • 1 x S/PDIF input/output header
  • 4 x USB headers (8 ports)
  • 1 x floppy disk drive connector
  • 1 x IDE connector
  • 6 x SATA connectors
  • 1 x 1394a connector
  • 1 x COM port header
  • 1 x S/PDIF out connector
  • 4 x USB headers (8 ports)
  • 1 x IDE connector
  • 4 x SATA connectors
  • 1 x S/PDIF out connector
Expansion Slots
  • 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16
  • 1 x PCIe x1
  • 2 x PCI
  • 1 x PCIe x16
  • 1 x PCIe x1
  • 2 x PCI
  • 1 x PCIe 2.0
  • 1 x PCIe
  • 2 x PCI
  • 1 x PCIe 2.0
  • 2 x PCI
Special Features
  • @BIOS
  • Q-Flash
  • Virtual Dual BIOS
  • Xpress Install
  • Xpress Recovery2
  • EasyTune
  • @BIOS
  • Q-Flash
  • Virtual Dual BIOS
  • Xpress Install
  • Xpress Recovery2
  • EasyTune
N.A N.A
Form Factor mATX (24.4 x 23.4cm) mATX (24.4 x 23.4cm) mATX (24.4 x 24.4cm) mATX (24.4 x 19.0cm)