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Asrock M3A785GMH/128M Socket AM3 Motherboard

The Asrock M3A785GMH/128M is a prime example of what a media board needs to offer: numerous SATA ports, high quality on-board graphics, decent memory supports good audio. The M3A785GMH/128M has all of this and the Asrock name standing behind it. Centered around the Radeon HD 4200 iGPU, it has access to 512MB of video memory, support for DirectX 10.1 and if for some reason you need more video power, then hybrid Crossfire is a option.

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Asrock M3A785GMH/128M

The Asrock M3A785GMH/128M is a prime example of what a media board needs to offer: numerous SATA ports, high quality on-board graphics, decent memory supports good audio. The M3A785GMH/128M has all of this and the Asrock name standing behind it. Centered around the Radeon HD 4200 iGPU, it has access to 512MB of video memory, support for DirectX 10.1 and if for some reason you need more video power, then hybrid Crossfire is a option.

Introduction to the Asrock M3A785GMH/128M

With the production shortage of HTPC that support full sized motherboard, mATX motherboards own a huge marjority of the market. There is a reason why many media center case makers restrict their cases to such a size. There are few people who need the few advantages a full size motherboard has in this type of environment. Not many people need more than one PCIe slot. Only a few would need more than two DIMM slots and very few need the crazy cooling offered on the larger boards. Companies like Asrock and the many other motherboard manufacturers know this and make motherboards like the one I am about to test.

The Asrock M3A785GMH/128M is a prime example of what a media board needs to offer: numerous SATA ports, high quality on-board graphics, decent memory supports good audio. The M3A785GMH/128M has all of this and the Asrock name standing behind it. Centered around the Radeon HD 4200 iGPU, it has access to 512MB of video memory, support for DirectX 10.1 and if for some reason you need more video power, then hybrid Crossfire is a option.

Specifications

CPU– Support for Socket AM3 processors: AMD Phenom™ II X4 / X3 / X2 (except 920 / 940) and Athlon II X4 / X3 / X2 processors
– Supports AMD OverDrive™ with ACC feature (Advanced Clock Calibration)
– AMD LIVE!™ Ready
– Supports AMD’s Cool ‘n’ Quiet Technology
– FSB 2600 MHz (5.2 GT/s)
– Supports Untied Overclocking Technology
– Supports Hyper-Transport 3.0 (HT 3.0) Technology
Chipset– Northbridge: AMD 785G
– Southbridge: AMD SB710
Memory– Dual Channel DDR3 memory technology
– 4 x DDR3 DIMM slots
– Supports DDR3 1600(OC)/1333/1066/800 non-ECC, un-buffered memory
– Max. capacity of system memory: 16GB*

*Due to the operating system limitation, the actual memory size may be less than 4GB for the reservation for system usage under Windows® XP and Windows® Vista™. For Windows® XP 64-bit and Windows® Vista™ 64-bit with 64-bit CPU, there is no such limitation.
BIOS– 8Mb AMI BIOS
– AMI Legal BIOS
– Supports “Plug and Play”
– ACPI 1.1 Compliance Wake Up Events
– Supports jumperfree
– SMBIOS 2.3.1 Support
– VCCM, NB Voltage Multi-adjustment
– Supports Smart BIOS
 Audio, Video and Networking
Graphics– Integrated AMD Radeon HD 4200 graphics
– DX10.1 class iGPU, Shader Model 4.1
– Max. shared memory 512MB
– Built-in 128MB DDR3 1333(OC)/1200MHz SidePort Memory
– Three VGA Output options: D-Sub, DVI-D and HDMI
– Supports HDMI Technology with max. resolution up to 1920×1200 (1080P)
– Supports Dual-link DVI with max. resolution up to 2560×1600 @ 75Hz
– Supports D-Sub with max. resolution up to 2048×1536 @ 60Hz
– Supports HDCP function
– Supports Full HD 1080p Blu-ray (BD) / HD-DVD playback
Audio– 7.1 CH Windows® Vista™ Premium Level HD Audio (Realtek ALC888 Audio Codec)
LAN– PCIE x1 Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
– Realtek RTL8111DL
– Supports Wake-On-LAN
 Expansion / Connectivity
Slots– 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (green @ x16 mode)
– 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 slot
– 2 x PCI slots
– Supports ATI™ Hybrid CrossFireX™
Connector– 5 x SATAII 3.0 Gb/s connectors, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10 and JBOD), NCQ, AHCI and “Hot Plug” functions
– 1 x ATA133 IDE connector (supports 2 x IDE devices)
– 1 x Floppy connector
– 1 x IR header
– 1 x COM port header
– CPU/Chassis/Power FAN connector
– 24 pin ATX power connector
– 4 pin 12V power connector
– CD in header
– Front panel audio connector
– 3 x USB 2.0 headers (support 6 USB 2.0 ports)
Rear Panel I/OI/O Panel
– 1 x PS/2 Keyboard Port
– 1 x VGA/D-Sub Port
– 1 x VGA/DVI-D Port
– 1 x HDMI Port
– 1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port
– 1 x eSATAII Port
– 4 x Ready-to-Use USB 2.0 Ports
– 1 x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED)
– HD Audio Jack: Rear Speaker / Central / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone
 Other Features / Miscellaneous
Unique Feature– ASRock OC Tuner
– Intelligent Energy Saver
– Instant Boot
– ASRock Instant Flash
– ASRock OC DNA
– Hybrid Booster:
– CPU Frequency Stepless Control
– ASRock U-COP
– Boot Failure Guard (B.F.G.)
Support CD– Drivers, Utilities, AntiVirus Software (Trial Version), AMD OverDrive™ Utility, AMD Live! Explorer, AMD Fusion
Accessories– Quick Installation Guide, Support CD, I/O Shield
– ATA 133 Cable
– 2 x SATA Data Cables (optional)
Hardware Monitor– CPU Temperature Sensing
– Chassis Temperature Sensing
– CPU/Chassis/Power Fan Tachometer
– CPU Quiet Fan
– Voltage Monitoring: +12V, +5V, +3.3V, Vcore
Form Factor– Micro ATX Form Factor: 9.6-in x 8.6-in, 24.4 cm x 21.8 cm
– Solid Capacitor for CPU power
OS– Microsoft® Windows® 7 / 7 64-bit / Vista™ / Vista™ 64-bit / XP / XP Media Center / XP 64-bit compliant
Certifications– FCC, CE, WHQL
– EuP Ready (EuP ready power supply is required)
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Features

  1. Support for Socket AM3 processors: AMD Phenom™ II X4 / X3 / X2 (except 920 / 940) and Athlon II X4 / X3 / X2 processors
  2. Solid Capacitor for CPU power
  3. Supports AMD OverDrive™ with ACC feature (Advanced Clock Calibration)
  4. AMD 785G + SB710 Chipsets
  5. FSB 2600 MHz (5.2 GT/s)
  6. Supports Hyper-Transport 3.0 (HT 3.0) Technology
  7. Supports Dual Channel DDR3 1600(OC)/1333/1066/800 (4 x DIMM slots) non-ECC, un-buffered memory, Max. capacity up to 16GB
  • Integrated AMD Radeon HD 4200 graphics, DX10.1 class iGPU, Shader Model 4.1, Max. shared memory 512MB
  • Built-in 128MB DDR3 1333(OC)/1200MHz SidePort Memory
  • Supports ATI™ Hybrid CrossFireX™
  • 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (green @ x16 mode)
  • Three VGA Output options: D-Sub, DVI-D and HDMI
  • Supports HDCP function
  • Supports Full HD 1080p Blu-ray (BD) / HD-DVD playback
  • 5 x SATAII 3.0 Gb/s connectors, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10 and JBOD), NCQ, AHCI and “Hot Plug” functions
  • 1 x eSATAII Port
  • PCIE Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
  • Supports ASRock Instant Boot, Instant Flash, OC DNA
  • Supports Smart BIOS, ASRock OC Tuner, Intelligent Energy Saver
  • EuP Ready
  • 7.1 CH Windows® Vista™ Premium Level HD Audio (ALC888Audio Codec).
  • Windows® Vista™ Premium 2008 Logo Ready
  • I/O Panel: 1 x VGA/D-Sub Port, 1 x VGA/DVI-D Port, 1 x HDMI port, 1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port, 1 x eSATAII Port,1 x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED, 4 x USB 2.0 Ports

Closer look at the M3A785GMH/128M

I am not the biggest fan of the colors Asrock used for this board. I should be used to it by now as we have been reviewing the Asrock offerings for some time. Like many of the other Asrock mATX motherboards, we have looked at in the past the M3A785GMH/128M uses almost every color under the rainbow. Thank goodness Asrock makes up for all the colorfulness with value and features. If I didn’t mention it before, the M3A785GHM is a micro ATX motherboard which means many of the components will be packed pretty tightly on the board. Yet, Asrock did do a good job of spreading things as much as they could.

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The M3A785 has one full 16x PCIe, two PCI and a single PCIe 1x available. With the right combination of 3xxx and 4xxx along with the one full lane PCIe slot, you are able to run hybrid Crossfire.

To the right of the CPU socket is four DIMM slots. This is a huge advantage over the two slotted Jetway MA3785GP-LF we reviewed last week. Making for a maximum ram support of 16 gigs and not just 8. Due to JEDEC standards, the board supports DDR3 up to 1333MHz and 1600MHz in overclocking mode. Asrock refuses to let the legacy ports and connections go, so the lone IDE is positioned to the right of the DIMM slots.

In the picture, you see the M3A785 has five SATA 2.0 ports. The sixth one resides in the rear I/O. The ports supports RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10 and JBOD. Asrock applied two large passive heat sinks to the North and South Bridges.

The I/O is the board has pretty much everything that you need in external ports: four USB, gigabit LAN, DVI, HDMI, VGA and PS/2 ports.

Overclocking

When it came down to overclocking this board, I felt kind of cheated. Since I just reviewed the Jetway MA3785GP-LF just a couple of weeks ago, I elected to go straight to the settings that got me 4012MHz with that board. Because the Asrock has much more BIOS options when it comes to DIMM and voltage controls, I felt this would be no issue. I was right. It booted right at 236MHz on the HT. Since this was no problem, we kept the 1.5v on the NB and was able to get to 242MHz on the HT for 4114MHz a small nice increase over what the Jetway board did.

Testing Hardware:

Motherboard: Asrock M3A785GMH/128M
Processor: AMD Phenom II 965 C3
Ram: G-Skill 4GB PC12800 CL7 ECO Dual-Channel
Video Card: XFX HD 4770
HDD: Seagate 7200.11
Power: Thermaltake Tough Power XT 1000 (Donated by Thermaltake for our test bench)
Case: Sunbeamtech Open Air Test Bench
Cooling:
OS: Windows 7 RC

Futuremark PCMark Vantage
3DMark Vantage is a PC benchmark suite designed to test the DirectX10 performance of your graphics card. We’ve been making 3DMark for over 10 years, with each new edition using the latest 3D technology to determine real-world performance.

Futuremark 3DMark 06
Futuremark 3DMark06 Build 1.0.2 3DMark®06 is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking. A fundamental tool for every company in the as well as PC users and gamers, 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests. 3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today. Futuremark’s exclusive Online ResultBrowser tracks and compares 3DMark06 scores.

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage
3DMark Vantage is a PC benchmark suite designed to test the DirectX10 performance of your graphics card. We’ve been making 3DMark for over 10 years, with each new edition using the latest 3D technology to determine real-world performance.

A 3DMark score is an overall measure of your system’s 3D gaming capabilities, based on comprehensive real-time 3D graphics and processor tests. By comparing your score with those submitted by millions of other gamers you can see how your gaming rig performs, making it easier to choose the most effective upgrades or finding other ways to optimize your system.

3DMark is widely used by the PC industry, press and media as well as individual users and gamers, for comparing performance levels between whole systems or even specific components.

Maxon Cinebench
CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer’s performance capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

Super PI Modded 1.5
In August 1995, the calculation of pi up to 4,294,960,000 decimal digits was succeeded by using a supercomputer at the University of Tokyo. The program was written by D.Takahashi in collaboration with Dr. Y.Kanada at the computer center. This record should be the current world record. (Details are shown in the windows help.) This record-breaking program was ported to personal computer environment such as Windows NT and Windows 95. In order to calculate 33.55 million digits, it takes within 3 days with a Pentium 90 MHz, 40 MB main memory and 340 MB available storage.

Lavalys EVEREST Ultimate Edition
EVEREST Ultimate Edition is an industry leading system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for enthusiasts PC users, based on the award-winning EVEREST Technology. During system optimizations and tweaking it provides essential system and overclock information, advanced hardware monitoring and diagnostics capabilities to check the effects of the applied settings. CPU, FPU and memory benchmarks are available to measure the actual system performance and compare it to previous states or other systems. Furthermore, complete software, operating system and security information makes EVEREST Ultimate Edition a comprehensive system diagnostics tool that offers a total of 100 pages of information about your PC.

Street Fighter IV Benchmark Tool
This test the performance of the video game on your system.

Conclusion

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For the longest time, I have been looking for a good motherboard to throw into my home theatre PC. I think I have found it in the Asrock M3A785GMH/128M. It is worth it for those looking looking into such a build. For use with that new ultra big screen that supports 1080P, you have an available HDMI port. If you have not quite upgraded to that new big screen, you also have VGA and DVI connections. Also, if you are in the market for a mass storage media storage system, the Asrock board has several ways in order to support tons of storage with five SATA ports with support for the more popular forms of RAID. Second, would be the multiple USB and an eSATA port. The latter of which the Jetway board was missing.

An extra advantage is the overcocking aspect of the motherboard. We were able to get a whopping 4114MHz out of the board. This was something I was not looking for when reviewing a mATX motherboard. Honestly, 4GHZ would have been great but 4114 adds to the pleasure of the board. The BIOS offers more than enough options to get the board sturdy and stable at such speeds.

If you are going to use this board as a HTPC component, then you will be happy to hear the onboard HD 4200 is very adequate when it comes to high definition playback. Playing Iron Man on Blu-Ray was never more enjoyable. For basic gaming, the iGPU is not too bad.

Really, you can’t go wrong with this board if you are in the market for such a board. And we are happy to reward it the ‘Recommended’ award.

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ProClockers was founded in 2004, and since then we have reviewed thousands of tech products, including motherboards, CPUs, graphics cards, PC cases, cooling solutions and more. Whilst many of the original products we reviewed back then have long bit the dust, we continue working hard to provide unbiased PC hardware and tech reviews.

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