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ECS A740GM-A Motherboard on AMD 740G Chipset (Socket AM2+)

What an entry-level intergrated board should be?

July 8, 2008



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Overclocking

In order to evaluate motherboard and its BIOS, we overclock our testbed processor to a maximum stable level. We use all features of the motherboard in this test, including raising CPU voltage and adjusting multipliers and frequencies of system and peripheral buses, if necessary (but if, for example, reducing Hyper-Transport frequency does not improve overclocking, we leave the default multiplier). Memory is set to the standard frequency for a given memory module (multiplier correction), if a manufacturer does not publish any ways to improve memory overclocking. Otherwise, we analyze their efficiency as well. In order to evaluate stability of the overclocked system, we load Windows XP and run WinRAR performance test for 10 minutes (Tools - CSBenchmark and hardware test). As overclocking potential is an individual property of a given motherboard sample to some degree, we don't set the task to determine overclocking potential to within a single MHz. In practice, we are to find out whether CPU overclocking will be limited by a motherboard as well as to evaluate its behavior in non-standard modes, including automatic restoration of a correct frequency after a failed overclocking attempt, etc.


  Clock, MHz FSB Clock, MHz Core voltage (according to system monitoring in BIOS), V HT bus frequency (multiplier), MHz
Athlon 64 X2 4000+ (2.0 GHz) 2500 250 1.40 1250 (x5)

As this motherboard does not allow to decrease the memory multiplier, overclocking was possible because our memory modules were detected as DDR2-667 by default, although their nominal mode was 800 MHz, stable up to 900 MHz.

Performance

Testbed configuration:

  • CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+
  • Memory: 2 x 1 GB Kingston KHX7200D2K2/1G (DDR2-667)
  • HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (SATA, 7200 rpm)
  • Graphics card: ATI Radeon X1900XTX, 512 MB GDDR3
  • PSU: Chieftec CFT-560-A12C
  • OS: Windows XP SP2

As products on AMD 690G act as primary competitors to 740G motherboards in price and functions, we decided to compare the product under review with a previous ECS model: ECS AMD690GM-M2.


Test Int. graphics Discrete graphics
ECS AMD690GM-M2 ECS A740GM-M ECS AMD690GM-M2 ECS A740GM-M
Archiving with WinRAR, min:sec 2:42 2:45 2:41 2:47
MPEG4 (XviD) encoding, min:sec 6:08 6:10 6:06 6:07
Unreal Tournament 2004 (Low@640x480), fps 32.5 33.7 59.4 59.4
Unreal Tournament 2004 (High@1024x768), fps 23.5 24.7 56.2 56.4
FarCry (Medium@800x600), fps 32.0 33.3 109.8 128.0
DOOM III (Medium@800x600), fps 24.3 24.5 128.7 133.6

We've proved that the 740G is a full counterpart of the 690G in terms of integrated graphics core performance. But when discrete video is used, the graphics port in the new chipset demonstrates higher efficiency. The new ECS product is slightly outperformed in the first couple of tests, which indicates that memory frequency was automatically set to 667 MHz (manual adjustment was not possible).

Conclusions

The motherboard meets all requirements of its target audience - users of entry-level motherboards with integrated graphics. However, ECS added practically nothing of its own design, the company just implemented functionality of the chipset. The graphics core of the 740G chipset (inherited from 690G) is quite sufficient for the low-end segment, even though AMD rolled out faster integrated chipsets 780G/780V. Our tests demonstrated that the top integrated chipset from Intel (G35) offers this very performance level. And if we have a look at prices, motherboards on AMD 740G compete only with much weaker G33 products (only the cheapest modifications without digital video outs). We should also mention low heat release of the chipset under any load.

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Article navigation:

Page 1: Introduction, design

Page 2: Monitoring, interfaces, box, BIOS

Page 3: O/c, performance, conclusions



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