We took a quick look at MA78GM-S2H a socket AM2+ motherboard from Gigabyte targeted to AMD CPUs targeted to HTPC (Home Theater PC) or “media center” computers. This motherboard is based on AMD 780G chipset with ATI SB700 south bridge chip. Because of the available features this board isn’t targeted to the low-end market but to PCs that require a lot of multimedia features, which is an expanding market right now. It uses the microATX form factor, so you can install it on a smaller case targeted to this class of computers.
You can learn more about AMD 780G chispset – including its features and performance – on our Sapphire PI-AM2RS780G motherboard review. So we won’t repeat everything that we have already said there, but in summary AMD 780G has integrated video with a DirectX 10 engine. On our ECS A790GXM-A Black Series motherboard review you will find a comparison between 780G and its “turbo” version, 790GX.
Like all AM2+ motherboard MA78GM-S2H is compatible with Hypertransport 3.0 bus. Read more about this bus in our The HyperTransport Bus Used By AMD Processors and Inside AMD K10 Architecture tutorials.
MA78GM-S2H comes inside a custom-made box, i.e., it doesn’t use a generic box where the manufacturer simply puts a sticker with the model number and board features. Several features are described on the box, starting with Phenom X4 and Athlon X2 compatibility, the presence of an integrated video capable of achieving more than 2,000 points on 3DMark 06 and the ability to play Blu-Ray movies in full HD resolution (1080p). Actually this last feature is very questionable, because consumers may think that by just buying this motherboard you can play Blu-Ray movies, what obviously isn’t true, as you need a Blu-Ray drive and you can play Blu-Ray movies on any PC with this kind of drive installed. The box also describes the compatibility with Hybrid CrossFire feature and the presence of solid capacitors on the CPU voltage regulator circuit.
Now let’s analyze this motherboard in details.