iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






ASUS M4A785G HTPC/RC Motherboard

A microATX board with a high-quality audio codec and a remote.

February 5, 2010

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Performance and efficiency

We compared the reviewed motherboard with Biostar TA785GE-128M (also supports DDR2, but has a video buffer of 128MB DDR2-1000).

Radeon HD4850 Biostar TA785GE-128M ASUS M4A785G HTPC/RC
Archiving with 7-Zip, min:sec 2:15 2:14
Archiving with WinRAR, min:sec 1:14 1:14
HDPlay (DXVA OFF/ON), CPU load 26%/3% 26%/3%
Crysis (High@1280x1024) 41 41
World in Conflict (High@1680x1050), fps 44 46

Int. graphics Biostar TA785GE-128M ASUS M4A785G HTPC/RC
Archiving with 7-Zip, min:sec 2:20 2:19
Archiving with WinRAR, min:sec 1:16 1:15
HDPlay (DXVA OFF/ON), CPU load 30%/3% 38%/11%
Crysis (Low@1280x1024) 19 18
World in Conflict (Low@1680x1050), fps 24 22
Far Cry 2 (Low@1280x720), fps 28.3 26.2

We are used to the fact that a video buffer doesn't provide the theoretically possible victory in computational tests by offloading RAM from keeping the frame buffer. In this case, the bufferless board from ASUS achieves a formal victory, probably thanks to the additional timing settings. The video buffer does provide some advantage in the gaming tests, but the difference isn't that big. In modern games performance is bottlenecked by computational capabilities of the graphics core itself. Finally, in video decoding tests, the board with a video buffer has an obvious advantage. However, the difference isn't radical as well. Our video clip, heavy enough for playback (H.264, 30MB/s), loaded the average quad-core CPU by 3% and 11% with and without the video buffer, respectively. Relatively, this might seem a considerable difference, but looking at absolute values you can see there are enough reserves for using a slower processor. As we have confirmed in other tests while examining the AMD 785G chipset, the same video decoding test loaded a dual-core Athlon II X2 250 by about 20% on a bufferless board. On the other hand, users generally consider a video buffer a plus, other things being equal. In this case it probably hasn't been added to the board to make it more affordable.

Enclosure power consumption

We measured power consumption with the wattmeter built into the PSU.

Phenom II X4 810 + Radeon HD4850 Biostar TA785GE-128M ASUS M4A785G HTPC/RC
Text editing, Cool'n'Quiet On, W 83 (Green Power On)
88 (Green Power Off)
Text editing, Cool'n'Quiet Off, W 95 96
FarCry 2, W 167-208 161-197

Phenom II X4 810 + 785G Biostar TA785GE-128M ASUS M4A785G HTPC/RC
Text editing, Cool'n'Quiet On, W 20 (Green Power On)
32 (Green Power Off)
Text editing, Cool'n'Quiet Off, W 32 42
FarCry 2, W 61-78 60-80

While this board doesn't have any special voltage stabilizer power saving modes, it turns out to be considerably more efficient when idle -- only with discrete graphics though. When the integrated graphics was used, Biostar's board did a bit better.


The board is definitely original, but at the same time practical enough for a home theater. It has a complete set of peripheral interfaces, high-quality integrated audio, up-to-date graphics core, and, finally, a universal remote. Considering its adequate price, this board might just become a bestseller in its class. The support for DDR2 memory may become a drawback, though, considering that DDR3 prices are dropping. But this can only be said if you're assembling a new PC from a scratch. If you're planning to upgrade your primary desktop, you can at least take the memory modules you already have. Perhaps, as well as the CPU, because a previous-generation processor will still do for a home theater. Since there are also moderately priced slim PC enclosures supporting standard microATX boards, the whole upgrade venture promises to be quite affordable.

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Page 1: Introduction, design

Page 2: More design

Page 3: Features, overclocking

Page 4: Performance, power consumption

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