In Figure 1 you can have a good look at Biostar TA785GE 128M. It is a socket AM2+ motherboard, meaning that it supports the new HyperTransport 3.0 and the “split plane” technologies used by AMD CPUs based on K10 architecture (i.e., Phenom CPUs). For more information read our Inside AMD K10 Architecture tutorial. Translation: it supports AM2, AM2+ and AM3 CPUs, what makes this motherboard compatible with a vast range of processors.
As mentioned, this motherboard comes with a dedicated 128 MB (1 Gbit) memory chip to be used by the on-board video, which can be seen in Figure 2. In theory the use of this dedicated chip increases gaming performance and of course we will see that if this is really true in this review.
The reviewed motherboard has only one PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot and two standard PCI slots. At least this allows you to install a “real” video card on it whenever you get tired of its on-board video performance. When installing a video card you may want to install a model that is compatible with Hybrid Graphics technology, this way instead of simply disabling the on-board video you can put it to work in parallel with the video card under CrossFire mode in order to increase performance (read our SLI vs. CrossFire tutorial for a complete list of compatible cards).
This motherboard has four DDR2 memory sockets. Usually low-end motherboards have only two memory sockets, so having four of them on this board is a blessing, as it will help you adding more memory in the future without needing to replace your current memory modules. Since this motherboard has only DDR2 sockets you cannot install DDR3 memories, even if you are using a socket AM3 CPU. For enabling dual-channel feature you must install the modules on sockets with the same color, if you are installing two modules.