iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Gigabyte MA78GM-S2H Motherboard

Perhaps, the most feature-rich integrated microATX solution.

May 16, 2008

<< Previous page

     Next page >>

System monitoring (ITE IT8718F-S, BIOS Setup)

  • CPU and memory (1.8 V) voltage, +3.3 V, and +12 V
  • RPM of two fans
  • CPU and system temperatures (by the corresponding embedded sensors)
  • Smart FAN Control - fully automatic speed control for CPU and system fans (manual control is available in Easy Tune utility) depending on readings of corresponding sensors. Two modes are supported - changing voltage (for 3-pin and 4-pin fans) and more accurate speed control via the Power Management pin (4-pin coolers only). Fan speed was controlled during our tests to maintain CPU temperature at 48B°C, system temperature was kept at 42B°C.

Onboard ports, sockets, and connectors

  • Processor socket (Socket AM2+, officially supports all Phenom, Athlon 64/X2/FX, and Sempron processors for Socket AM2 and Socket AM2+, the list of products, tested for compatibility, is published on the web site)
  • 4 x DDR2 SDRAM DIMM (up to 16 GB of DDR2-400/533/667/800/1066, dual-channel mode in case of symmetrically filled slots, the list of compatible devices is published on the web site)
  • 1 x PCIEx16 2.0 for a graphics card
  • 1 x PCIEx1 2.0
  • 2 x PCI
  • Power connectors: standard ATX 2.2 (24 pins) and 4-pin ATX12V to power a processor
  • 1 x FDD
  • IDE (Parallel ATA) for two ATA133 devices - "chipset-based"
  • 5 x chipset-based SATA-II (Serial ATA II) for five SATA300 devices, connected disks can form RAID 0, 1, and 0+1
  • 4 connectors for rear panel brackets with 8 x USB
  • Connector for a rear panel bracket with an additional FireWire
  • 1 x CD/DVD audio connector
  • Connectors for analog audio ins and outs on the front panel
  • Connector for a bracket with S/PDIF-In/Out
  • LPT-port connector
  • COM-port connector
  • TPM connector
  • Connector for a Chassis Intrusion sensor
  • Two fan headers supporting automatic speed control and monitoring. The 4-pin CPU fan header is backward compatible with 3-pin fans.

Back panel (left to right, blockwise)

Click for the rear view

  • PS/2 mouse and keyboard
  • VGA, DVI-D
  • HDMI
  • S/PDIF-Out (optical)
  • 2 x USB, FireWire 400 (6-pin), eSATA II
  • 2 x USB, 1 x RJ-45 (Gigabit Ethernet)
  • 6 x Analog Audio (Center/Sub, Side-Out, Rear-Out, Line-In, Front-Out, Mic-In).

Package Contents

  • Package: a small box of the S-Series design in a light-gray palette
  • Documentation: User Manual in English
  • Cables: 2 x SATA (with convenient metal latches), 1 x ATA66, 1 x FDD
  • Rear I/O shield
  • CD with drivers, Gigabyte utilities, and Norton Internet Security 2005 (antivirus and firewall).

The set of proprietary utilities includes standard tools to flash BIOS in Windows and search/download the latest BIOS version on the official web site (@BIOS), Face-Wizard to change the boot logo, I-COOL to manage power saving modes, C.O.M. (Corporate Online Manager) to monitor system parameter via LAN, and EasyTune5 Pro for local system monitoring, overclocking (it works with fewer overclocking parameters than AMD OverDrive) and managing SmartFan modes (you can choose fan speed from 0 to 100% and temperature thresholds).

Integrated Controllers

  • Audio, based on the chipset support for High Definition Audio and Realtek ALC889A codec, 7.1 channel audio, separate HDA stereo output for the front panel and S/PDIF In/Out
  • SATA-II, supporting 6 x Serial ATA II, RAID 0, 1, and 0+1, as well as an external SAS device
  • Network, based on PCIE controller Realtek 8111C supporting 10/100/1000 Mbps
  • FireWire 400, based on the Texas Instrument TSB43AB23 chip, supporting three ports (there are only two ports on the motherboard).

The integrated audio quality was tested in 16 bit 44 kHz mode using RightMark Audio Analyzer 6.0.5 and the ESI Juli@ sound card:

Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB:
+0.02, -0.05
Noise level, dB (A):
Dynamic range, dB (A):
THD, %:
Very good
THD + Noise, %:
Intermodulation distortion + Noise, %:
Very good
Channel crosstalk, dB:
IMD at 10 kHz, %:
Very good

General performance: Very good. Gigabyte engineers decided to install the most advanced audio codec from Realtek, that's good news. However, objective results are expectedly a tad lower than those of the same codec installed on more expensive motherboards, such as Gigabyte MA790FX-DQ6. It's especially noticeable in tests of noise level and dynamic range. However, it makes more sense to connect the motherboard to a receiver using digital outputs (HDMI or S-PDIF). And its quality is quite sufficient for an inexpensive multimedia computer with inexpensive speakers or headphones.

Write a comment below. No registration needed!

<< Previous page

Next page >>

Article navigation:

Page 1: Introduction

Page 2: Features, interfaces, package

Page 3: BIOS features, overclocking

Page 4: Performance, conclusions

blog comments powered by Disqus

  Most Popular Reviews More    RSS  

AMD Phenom II X4 955, Phenom II X4 960T, Phenom II X6 1075T, and Intel Pentium G2120, Core i3-3220, Core i5-3330 Processors

Comparing old, cheap solutions from AMD with new, budget offerings from Intel.
February 1, 2013 · Processor Roundups

Inno3D GeForce GTX 670 iChill, Inno3D GeForce GTX 660 Ti Graphics Cards

A couple of mid-range adapters with original cooling systems.
January 30, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1

An external X-Fi solution in tests.
September 9, 2008 · Sound Cards

AMD FX-8350 Processor

The first worthwhile Piledriver CPU.
September 11, 2012 · Processors: AMD

Consumed Power, Energy Consumption: Ivy Bridge vs. Sandy Bridge

Trying out the new method.
September 18, 2012 · Processors: Intel
  Latest Reviews More    RSS  

i3DSpeed, September 2013

Retested all graphics cards with the new drivers.
Oct 18, 2013 · 3Digests

i3DSpeed, August 2013

Added new benchmarks: BioShock Infinite and Metro: Last Light.
Sep 06, 2013 · 3Digests

i3DSpeed, July 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 and AMD Radeon HD 7730.
Aug 05, 2013 · 3Digests

Gainward GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 2GB Golden Sample Graphics Card

An excellent hybrid of GeForce GTX 650 Ti and GeForce GTX 660.
Jun 24, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

i3DSpeed, May 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770/780.
Jun 03, 2013 · 3Digests
  Latest News More    RSS  

Platform  ·  Video  ·  Multimedia  ·  Mobile  ·  Other  ||  About us & Privacy policy  ·  Twitter  ·  Facebook

Copyright © Byrds Research & Publishing, Ltd., 1997–2011. All rights reserved.