Looking for a AM2+ ATX motherboard that can support the latest Phenom processors, have hybrid and crossfirex support while giving you all the features of a premium board without the price tag? Well it may sound like a tall order , but in reality you get a lot of support for the price point its at.
When choosing a motherboard never underestimate the use of all its features. You can never have enough support for future needs. this board comes not only with support for all the current AM@ and AM2+ platform CPU's but also the new AMD Phenom II CPU's so you arent left behind in upgrade options, a simple bios update and your set. the 790GX Northbridge chipset is actually part of the latest generation, and like the 790FX, the performance difference between the GX and FX is not that noticable so there is no need to spend more if 5 frames per second more or less means nothing to you. In some cases with proper overclocking you could beat a 790FX board easy!
Another reason to choose this board is that it has flexibility for multiple GPU's. Not only can you have multiple ATI cards in CrossFireX configuration but you can use the onboard HD3300 GPU and a descrite compatible ATI card runnin gthem both in a Hybrid crossfirex configuration. If you decide you dont want to use the onboard video card, then dont, you have choices.
If your a PC gamer with the intent to overclock then this board has all the manual tweaking option in the bios that you would ever need and the added bonus of the ExpressGate feature allows you to boot into a linux based OS in justa few secs and surf online without the need of booting into Windows for example a great quick alternative.
What I found interesting about the board was the clean layout and support for cooling. I always look for a board that has not only onboard heatsinks for the Northbridege and Southbridge chipsets but the VRM's at the top have a nice copper heatsink aswell which is needed if your going to be overclocking the board components. The M3A78-T also has support for attaching your case fans, with 3 connectors on board plus one fan connector for the CPU cooler. This board doesnt have the coper heat pipes seen on the newer premuim boards, but the copper heatsinks that it has provides the adequate cooling aswell.
Another reason for getting a specific type of motherbaord is the I/O ports support. This board has all the standard I/O ports plus a few extras that are not on all types of boards. this has firewire 400, HDMI, eSata and Optical audio ports which makes it a complete board for supporting all your high definition electronics and sound systems you might want to connect your PC to.
AMD Socket AM2+ / AM2 Processors AMD Phenom™ FX / Phenom / Athlon™ / Sempron™ AMD Cool'n'Quiet™ Technology Support CPU up to 140W
Up to 5200 MT/s HyperTransport™ 3.0 interface for AM2+ CPU 2000 / 1600 MT/s for AM2 CPU
4 x DIMM, Max. 16 GB, DDR2 1066/800/667 ECC,Non-ECC,Un-buffered Memory Dual Channel memory architecture *Due to AMD CPU limitation, DDR2 1066 is supported by AM2+ CPU for one DIMM per channel only. **Please refer to www.asus.com or user manual for Memory QVL(Quality Vender List). ***When installing total memory of 4GB capacity or more, Windows® 32-bit operation system may only recognize less than 3GB. Hence, a total installed memory of less than 3GB is recommended.
3 x PCIe x16 (Support PCIe 2.0 / 1.0 Architecture ) (Dual x8 or Dual x16/x4; Triple x8/x4/x8) 1 x PCIe x1 2 x PCI 2.2
Integrated ATI Radeon™ HD 3300 GPU SidePort Memory - onboard 128MB DDR3 1333 memory Supports HDMI™ Technology with max. resolution up to 1920 x 1200 (1080P) Supports Dual-link DVI with max. resolution up to 2560x1600 @60Hz Supports D-Sub with max. resolution up to 2560x1440 @ 75Hz Hybrid CrossFireX™ Support (For Windows Vista only) HDMI/DVI/RGB Support Supports Microsoft® DirectX 10, OpenGL 2.0, Pixel Shader 4.0 Maximum shared memory of 512MB
Southbridge 1 xUltraDMA 133/100 5 xSATA 3 Gb/s ports 1 x eSATA 3Gb/s ports with RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 support
Realtek® ALC1200 8 -Channel High Definition Audio CODEC -Coaxial S/PDIF out port at back I/O -DTS Surround Sensation UltraPC
12 USB 2.0 ports
ASUS Unique Features
ASUS Express Gate ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution: - ASUS AI Gear 2 - ASUS AI Nap - ASUS Q-Fan2 - 4+1 Phases ASUS Power Design ASUS Crystal Sound - ASUS Noise Filter ASUS EZ DIY: - ASUS Q-Shield - ASUS Q-Connector - ASUS O.C. Profile - ASUS EZ Flash 2
Intelligent overclocking tools: - AI Overclocking (Intelligent CPU Frequency Tuner) - ASUS AI Booster Utility Precision Tweaker 2 - vCore: Adjustable CPU voltage at 0.125V increment - vChipset (N.B.): 25-step voltage control - vDIMM: 35-step DRAM voltage control SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection) - FSB tuning from 200MHz up to 600MHz at 1MHz increment - Memory tuning from 533MHz up to 1066MHz - PCIe frequency tuning from 100MHz up to 200MHz at 1MHz increment Overclocking Protection: - ASUS C.P.R. (CPU Parameter Recall)
Uses 100% All High-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors! ASUS MyLogo 2 AMD OverDrive Support* * Advanced cooling system is required when advanced overclock functions of AMD OverDrive are enabled.
Back Panel I/O Ports
1 x PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse 1 x S/PDIF Out (Optical) 1 x HDMI 1 x DVI 1 x D-Sub 1 x External SATA 1 x IEEE 1394a 1 x RJ45 port 6 x USB 2.0/1.1 8-Channel Audio I/O
Internal I/O Connectors
3 x USB connector (6 ports) 1 x Floppy disk drive connector 1 x IDE connector 5 x SATA connectors 1 x CPU Fan connector 2 x Chassis Fan connectors 1 x Power Fan connector Front panel audio connector 1 x IEEE 1394a connector 1 x S/PDIF Out Header Chassis Intrusion connector CD audio in 24-pin ATX Power connector 4-pin ATX 12V Power connector System Panel
8 Mb Flash ROM DMI 2.0 AMI BIOS PnP WfM 2.0 SM BIOS 2.3 ACPI 2.0a ASUS EZ Flash 2
UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable FDD cable SATA cables SATA power cables Q-Shield User's manual 3 in 1 Q-connector
Drivers Express Gate ASUS PC Probe II ASUS Update AMD AOD Anti-virus software (OEM version)
ATX Form Factor 12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.5 cm )
The Asus M3A78-T is a well supported board for current and future needs, specially if you are looking to overclock or upgrade your CPU to a AM3 in the future. It has a nice layout and expansion for performance gaming and multimedia outputs for playing your blueray DVD in true 1080p HD. For the price you cant go wrong and Asus lives up to its name with this quality manufactured components.