3DMark06 saw a rather significant 25% improvement for the AMD 785G over the 780G. Of course, with the core clock at the same frequency, this improvement can probably be attributed to the updated drivers on the 785G (circa Catalyst 9.7) but more importantly the additional SidePort memory on this board (as compared to our 780G board). AquaMark3 also witnessed a similar amount of improvement in the Graphics segment.
For the two actual games that we tested the AMD 785G on, the improvements were around the same level as what we saw for the synthetic benchmarks. However, that doesn't mean that the 785G is capable of running games at the highest settings. Even at our rather modest settings and resolutions, the performance was not ideal, though the 785G did emerge as the best performer. Again, it highlights the fact that these chipsets are meant for casual gamers at best and you'll be stretching it trying to play these intensive 3D games.
What the AMD 785G is expected to fulfill is the HD playback requirements of HTPC users and as an integrated graphics solution, it continues what the 780G started. The UVD 2.0 onboard lowers the CPU utilization numbers for our Blu-ray playback test even further and cements the 785G as the ideal chipset for this purpose. Short of getting a discrete graphics card, we can't recommend any other integrated solution that comes close to the 785G at the moment.
Our quick test on the graphics and HD playback capabilities of the AMD 785G has shown a significant improvement over its predecessor. While the overall verdict on its 3D gaming performance remains a resounding nay for hardcore gamers, casual or older games should find the AMD 785G decent, especially if you pair it with a newer and more powerful processor than our example.
HD playback performance however was impressive and it appears to be the main usage model for this chipset, as a reasonably priced, integrated solution in mainstream PCs or HTPC setups. The addition of multi-channel LPCM audio output through HDMI is crucial for it to stay on top of its rivals and the new UVD takes over the burden of processing from the CPU.
We're not done with the AMD 785G chipset just yet so stay tuned for the full reviews of motherboards based on this chipset coming your way soon.
** Updated on 5th August 2009, 9.30am **
While we (and many tech sites) have reported about multi-channel LPCM audio output through HDMI as a new feature on the AMD 785G (as initially shared by AMD), it turns out that was incorrect. AMD has clarified with us that it supports only stereo LPCM audio like its predecessor. Hence, our earlier assessment of it being better than its NVIDIA competitors is similarly flawed. The minor improvements to graphics and HD video playback is certainly welcomed on the AMD 785G but the lack of multi-channel LPCM audio output feature will deter some of the HTPC enthusiast crowd looking for that perfect, elusive chipset.