It's not often we do new motherboard news here at bit-tech
; we usually save it for a full review. However this morning a new board from Gigabyte dropped on our doorstep which features AMD's new RS780 integrated graphics chipset - a "real" first for DirectX 10.
While Intel will still claim being the "first" to integrated DirectX 10 graphics with its G35, the lack of proper drivers and partner support made it vapourware in comparison to the RS780 chipset.
As you can see below, the chipsets are really tiny, although they're not quite as small as the discrete AMD 790 series - the good thing is that both still only require passive cooling. The north bridge is HT3.0 and AM2+ capable, and outputs include HDMI, DVI and even the new DisplayPort (with HDCP encryption to boot). Avivo support has been upgraded and should also mirror the capabilities of the latest Radeon HD 3000 series graphics cards .
There are also various rumours about the IGP performance, whether it's faster or slower than what Nvidia has to offer may depend on the use of a local frame buffer, for which Gigabyte hasn't integrated here. In fact, we don't expect many, if any motherboard makers to use this option as they never have done before. However, with new Hybrid CrossFire support
linking IGP to low end GPU, this may be set to change.
The new SB700 south bridge also finally makes an appearance (incidentally the two engineering samples are numbered consecutively - 0743, 0744) and finally AMD has a native chipset that offers six SATA 3Gbps with RAID 0, 1, 10 support but still no RAID 5, 12 USB 2.0 and a faster I/O link between north and south bridges. SB700 still maintains a very small footprint and heat output (given the size of the heatsink needed), however we also hope AMD has improved the core features as well.
Since the SB700 is also pin-compatible with the current SB600, expect motherboard makers to possibly launch second generation 790FX/790X boards using the improved south bridge.
The Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H is a microATX board which features four DDR2 slots, an AM2+ socket for AMD Athlon and Phenom processors, as well as six SATA, one eSATA port and Realtek ALC889a High-Definition sound. A PCI-Express 2.0 port is available for graphics cards and there are some significant power regulation features for the memory and chipsets, in addition to the more normal 4-phase CPU socket. Whether this is a necessary addition or Gigabyte offering more reliable tweaking features than most remains to be seen (we haven't turned it on yet! We just got over excited and took some pictures).
The chipset and motherboards should be available around CeBit time (a month away) and don't worry, we'll go into more details of the RS780 and SB700 as well as the Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H in a future review.
Will AMD build on the success that was 690G and turn the RS780 into another winner? Let us know your thoughts in the forums
AMD SB700 southbridge and the Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H motherboard