As the motherboard's HD 4200 IGP was inoperative, a dedicated Radeon HD 3450 256mb GDDR2 graphics card was implemented in the testing process instead. While they are both based around the same core, the HD 3450 has a core clock of 600MHz, 100MHz higher than the HD 4200 and a memory clock frequency of 800MHz, considerably slower than the 1333MHz GDDR3 Sideport memory on the IGP. As a result, it's not particularly accurate to assume the level of the HD 4200's performance from our findings with the HD 3450.
All other aspects of the motherboard will be fully tested
AMD Phenom II X4 905e Processor
Asus M4A785TD-V EVO Socket AM3 Motherboard
Corsair DDR3-1333 CAS9 Memory
Samsung S203 DVD+/-RW
Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 120GB SATA HDD
Tagan TG420 420W ATX2.0 Power Supply Unit
AMD Reference CPU Heatsink
BIOS and Overclocking
The M4A785TD-V EVO features a BIOS that is packed with tweaking options for overclocking, offering generous increases in frequency ranges and voltage increases for a variety of components. Thanks to the updated SB710 Southbridge, users with 65nm AMD Phenom CPU’s may utilize the Advanced Clock Calibration option (originally found on the SB750), which yields higher processor frequencies at potentially lower voltages. The Advanced Clock Calibration option is also known to unlock 45nm AMD Phenom II X2 and X3 Processors into fully fledged Quad Cores (your mileage my vary) and unlock hidden Level 3 Cache on Phenom II X4 800 series CPU’s. A very comprehensive BIOS indeed and from what we can see, it can certainly talk the talk. However, in the same way that my rusting Ford Ka 1.3 has a speedometer that reads to 140mph, is this motherboard a case of all show and no go?
Well, I’m happy to report that it didn’t fare too badly at all. As our AMD Phenom II X4 905e CPU had a maximum CPU Multiplier of 12.5x and a fixed Northbridge Frequency of 10x, overclocking was bound to cause a strain on the motherboard. So in order to push the M4A785TD for all it’s worth, we removed some external limiting factors by lowering the CPU Multiplier to 9x and lowering the memory frequency to a 1:2 ratio.
By Increasing in 5-10MHz at a time, we hit a brick wall at a HTT Base Clock of 240MHz and a Northbridge Frequency of 2400MHz. The M4A785TD-V refused to boot into Windows at anything north of this regardless of CPU Voltage, NB/HT Voltage, Load Line Calibration, ACC or disabling Cool’n’Quiet. As per usual, one’s result with pure HTT Base overclocking will vary regardless of your motherboard and if you plan on opting for the Socket AM2+/AM3 platform with the intention of overclocking, it’s crucial that you buy a Black Edition CPU for it’s fully unlocked CPU and Northbridge Multipliers.
On another note, it is also possible to overclock the integrated HD 4200 IGP and if it’s anything like it’s HD 3200/780G predecessor, it will have very high yields. Sadly, we’re unable to put this theory to the test.
Lets move on and take a look at the Asus Express Gate Operating system.