ASUS M3A78 Pro Motherboard Review

ASUS M3A78 Pro Motherboard Review

The ASUS M3A78 Pro is based on AMD 780G – comes with onboard graphic system, possibly the ideal motherboard for those who wants

The Appearance

This is certainly not one of those theme-colored boards, no specific theme whatsoever but all items are clearly distinguised by colors nevertheless.

A simple and nice chipset heatsink with the ASUS word on it, the processor socket is pretty high up and surrounding it are capacitors, DIMM (RAM) slots and the chipset heatsink – all this could pose to be a problem for heatsink mount. Location of the power connector sockets seem pretty alright to me.

ASUS M3A78 Pro Motherboard Review
ASUS M3A78 Pro Motherboard Review
ASUS M3A78 Pro Motherboard Review

I like how the 6x SATA sockets are placed far below the PCI-E zone, unlike some motherboards where using graphic card with customized cooler is just impossible when there’s a SATA cable connected.

The Bundle and Details

  • 1 x IDE Cable
  • 1 x FDD Cable
  • 1 x SATA Cable
  • 1 x SATA Power Cable
  • 1 x Q-Shield
  • 1 x HDMI to DVI Convertor
  • 1 x 2 in 1 Q-connector
  • 1 x I/O Panel
  • 1 x CD Driver
  • 1 x User Manual

More details on this Socket AM2+ board at the official product page.

Test Setup

The computer setup used for this review.

Processor AMD X2 3600+
RAM 2x 1GB Value RAM – Kingston / Kingmax
Cooler Stock AMD Heatsink
Monitor 20″ Dell Ultra-sharp Wide-screen LCD
Operating System Windows Vista Home Basic 32bit
Driver Version ForceWare Release 178 (Version: 178.24)

The Performance

I’m sure many of you are actually keen on knowing how the HD3200 fare in games. With such low-end graphic system – I decided to stick to 2 first-person shooter games.

F.E.A.R.

Graphic Detail : Maximum at 1680×1050, 4xAA

Card Average
HD3200 18
HD3450 29

Crysis

Graphic Detail : Maximum at 1024×768, No AA, LOW Details.

Card Average
HD3200 16.50
HD3450 22.83

Not bad at all! Considering this is an onboard graphic card.

Conclusion

I’m sorry I did not manage to capture the BIOS screen but rest assured, the board comes packed with overclocking features. It’s great that the board came with HDMI port and 8 -Channel Audio I/O – is it really that good? I’d like to think so but it’s not.

Firstly, RAM compatibility. Notice how I stated 2 brands of RAM in the test setup? I had 7 sticks of RAM. 2 sticks of performance RAM from OCZ, 2x from Kingston, 2x from Albatron and 1x from Kingmax.

When I was setting up the board, it was odd that the system refused to power up with my Kingston RAMs. Ok fine, so I tested with my OCZs and it went just well. I can’t use my OCZs since they were meant for my gaming rig.

ASUS M3A78 Pro Motherboard Review
ASUS M3A78 Pro Motherboard Review
ASUS M3A78 Pro Motherboard Review

So ok, tried the rest – to no avail, and only to discover that only 1 of the RAM worked fine. Odd it seems, I tried for quite a while and a sudden thought came – RAM compatibility? Damn, I checked the manual and sure enough it was. I insist on having 2GB on this test rig and lucky me, my unopened Kingmax RAM seem to have a compatible RAM chips.

Secondly – Windows compatibility. Windows Vista seems to refuse to acknowledge any USB Flash Drive that I have when I was using this board. I tested 2 other boards and it worked just fine.

Thirdly – Crossfire problems. I’d really want to find out how it’s like to Hybrid Crossfire the HD3450 and the HD3200 but I was disappointed. Enabling Crossfire is easy, those of you who did if before would understand. Unfortunately not in this case, by enabling Crossfire the system performed at less than half the speed of the HD3450. How bad is that? It’s slower than the onboard HD3200! With F.E.A.R. at 12 fps and Crysis at 11.50. I certainly hope this is an isolated case but luckily this is not a huge issue, at least not in my book.

Sorry ASUS, I think it’s a great board but the RAM compatibility issue and Windows’ refusal to recognize devices could be a hassle to others, thus I am reluctant to recommend this board to any unless they’re willing to take the risk. Perhaps WindowsXP would work great.

The HD3200 works alright on games at low-settings and certainly is something great to watch HD movies with.

goldfries rated this product :

5 Comments

  1. Bro goldfries, may i ask some question?

    1) For the RAM, it is not possible to use 2x 1GB Value RAM – Kingston ?
    2) For the Windows vista, u cant detect any new hardware inserted? so it means it cannot read thumbdrive?
    3) Crossfire problems, u tried to Crossfire the Integrated Graphic with the HD3450, but the result is far worse than integrated graphic itself?

    Im planning to Build my own rig, considering to use this mobo..but if the problems u mention is real, then do u have another mobo to recommend? the one with integrated graphic that can match with this mobo perhaps.. n not to far expensive than this as well. thanks =D

  2. Author

    1. yes. it’s possible.
    2. it was just picky.
    3. you asked a good question – i tried and it didn’t turn out well as what i stated. yes, results turn out worse. i don’t think it’s the CF issue but board QC issue here.

    aiyoh don’t use this motherboard la. so many people having problem with the ASUS range (really, check out the forums.) ­čśŤ try brands like Biostar perhaps? TA780G is the model i think.


  3. I would like to know if the Asus P8Z68-V Pro motherboard is compatible with SATA harddrives and if so is there an easy way to figure this out?


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