AMD AM2+ Phenom on Nvidia nForce 780a with GeForce 8400 GS graphics
Example motherboards: Foxconn Destroyer (£202), MSI K9N2 Diamond (£166)
The fourth option is to use Nvidia graphics on Phenom. This is provided by the nForce 780a chipset. The graphics core in question is the GeForce 8400 GS, which has a specification that's very similar to the GeForce 9300 but there is a fundamental difference. GeForce 9300 and 9400 motherboards have so far been Micro ATX designs with a single PCI Express graphics slot. The Foxconn Destroyer is a big, expensive motherboard that supports Tri-SLI so the integrated graphics are intended for use with Nvidia’s Hybrid SLI feature.
Foxconn's Destroyer: slow, hot and expensive?
This is just as well as the GeForce 8400 GS was unimpressive in our tests and produced similar results to the Intel G45 in all of our benchmarks. The power draw of this system was, at a scary 100W, 20W higher than the AMD 790GX at idle. Under load, it hit 135W, 5W higher than the AMD part.
Video playback was very good and was indistinguishable from the Radeon HD 3300 and GeForce 9400, but this would be a bizarre motherboard to choose for movies unless you were wearing headphone to block out the noise from the cooling system.
To our jaundiced eyes, the nForce 780a looks like it was developed as a way of enabling Tri-SLI on Phenom and in that respect it succeeds. However it is slow, hot and expensive.
No shortage of portage
The natural role for integrated graphics on Socket AM2+ is, surely, inside a Media Centre that's small, cheap and quiet. The Foxconn Destroyer and nForce 78a deliver exactly the opposite. ®
Desktop integrated graphics shoot-out
SiS and other stuff...
If you're looking for a motherboard that uses an SiS chipset, the Intel D201GLY2/2A (with embedded 1.3GHz Celeron CPU) would be one choice. I got one and was really pretty impressed with what it could do, especially considering the limited processing power it has.
Integrated graphics are OK in my book, even if they don't perform all that well. It bothers me that the graphics options from nVidia and ATI either have huge heatsinks or cook themselves into an early grave. I've never lost an integrated graphics chipset...compared to a few ATI and nVidia boards that just got too hot.
I don't really care for speed, but I need to know which maximum resolution is supported? Can I, for example connect 2 30" LCDs onto an Intel board with 2 DVI connectors? Do know that I have to know which resolutions the chipset supports.
Please help this idiot (me)
Um... My brain is a little slow today... which these of motherboards would be best for building a cheapish, cool and QUIET media centre PC? Or would a Playstation 3 (at 250 GBP) be better for this task?
Cometh the AMD fanboyz....
Is it me or are the only whiners here the AMD fanboyz?
@! Desktop integrated graphics shoot-out
But of course, ATI & nVidia long for the day when they can give away the farm cheap instead of having quad display gamers buy a video card. Perish the thought of paying more for more features.
About the CPU, these boards really should've been fitted with the slowest CPUs that weren't completely castrated with less than 1MB L2 cache, otherwise it's a bit silly talking about power consumption and someone cheaping out on the video tends to do the same on the processor. Regardless, at least we had more than a small amount of assurance the processor (nevermind the memory bus??) itself wasn't a bottleneck for the video benchmarks.