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ECS A780VM-M2 Motherboard

Meets AMD Business Class requirements.

October 27, 2008



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The phrase "office computers" is often used as a synonym for cheap PCs, which barely manage Word and Excel. But it's only a convenient cliche that mentions the fact that unlike home multimedia configurations, computers used in offices usually do not include gaming graphics cards and top processors. In fact, configuration of a computer at work often has no right to be outdated -- it must include a modern processor with two (or more) cores and just as many gigabytes of system memory in the very least. Not necessarily for some professional resource-intensive applications (although there are a lot of employees who need such computers), but for maximum responsiveness to user commands in a multitasking environment. Computers are quite inexpensive these days, which cannot be said about work time (monthly fee of an office employee is higher than the price of an office computer of a reasonably top configuration).

What concerns further optimizations, office computers have their specific requirements, remote administration and hardware unification in particular, in order to cut down expenses on maintenance. It goes without saying that AMD couldn't stay away from the office market. Besides, the company has all technical prerequisites for it -- chipsets with integrated graphics for the AMD platform are objective leaders these days (from all points of view: in functionality, performance, and economy). No doubt, an office PC will do fine not only with an average quad- or triple-core Phenom, but also with a dual-core Athlon. Even with allowance for the fact that an office computer must not be slow. A full list of processors included into AMD Business Class is published on the web site. They differ from standard models with the same model number in extended 3-year warranty. Besides, these processors are guaranteed to be available to order for 24 months.

For office computers AMD offers the 780V chipset. NVIDIA GeForce 8200 motherboards are also included into the validated list of products. AMD Business Class motherboards must support remote administration protocol IPMI 1.5. That is a motherboard must be equipped with a proper network controller from Broadcom, Realtek, or Marvell. The motherboard also has a connector for TPM 1.2 module

DASH 1.0 and ASF 2.0 compliant. Desktop and mobile Architecture for System Hardware and Alert Standards Format are open standards developed by Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF), which includes AMD, Broadcom, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Symantec, and others. Such standards are developed to unify protocols of direct interaction between systems along remote administration channels (without using OS tools), just like SMBUS, but with more functions.



OK, enough of theoretical info. Let's examine a motherboard designed for office computers by AMD and get to know the AMD 780V chipset. By the way, it's the first motherboard on this chipset in our test lab, we have already examined only 780G products.





As motherboards for office computers are intended for OEM companies and system integrators in the first place, we can see no bells and whistles in design. However, there are no signs of saving on the motherboard either. The board offers as many SATA ports as the chipset allows. The same concerns connectors for additional USB ports. There are four memory slots (however, there is a modification of this motherboard with two slots). We can see a full set of outdated ports, which are still popular in the corporate environment: COM (on-board connector for an external bracket), LPT (installed on the rear panel), and even a CIR connector. Floppy connector is placed behind the memory slots, which is also very convenient. Engineers didn't forget about the TPM connector either. On the other hand, you cannot plug a Chassis Intrusion sensor to this motherboard, which is a minor flaw for an office product.



The board comes with a minimalistic cooling system. However, it copes well with this economic chipset in the standard mode. And overclocking is not an issue for an office motherboard. It's not available in BIOS.



Unlike retail consumers, who are obsessed with solid-state capacitors (it actually depends on a given vendor), system integrators know that electrolytic capacitors also work well. Provided they are of sufficient capacitance (in this case 5 x 820 uF solid-state capacitors are supplemented with 7 x 1800 uF electrolytic ones, a very good solution). Some of them come from Sanyo and Mitsubishi. We are a bit less enthusiastic about TK electrolytic capacitors, manufactured by Jen Pan Electronics Co. But no one complained about leakages from these elements either). Voltage regulator for a CPU uses four phases: three phases responsible for core power supply incorporate three field-effect transistors each. And the phase responsible for memory controllers and Hyper-Transport bus -- only two.

Motherboard dimensions -- 245x245 mm (microATX), eight-screw mount, the bottom-right edge of the motherboard is loose.


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Article navigation:

Page 1: Introduction, design

Page 2: Interfaces, package, controllers

Page 3: BIOS, performance, conclusions



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