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If the title of this review elicits a feeling of déjà-vu, don't worry, you're not wrong and we're not reviewing the same product twice. Notice that the Asus M4A785TD-V EVO we reviewed a while back has a 'V'-suffix after the main model number, while the board we're looking at today is the M4A785TD-M. What difference does this one letter make? Well, quite a bit, actually, as the 'M' stands for Micro-ATX, meaning this newer model will fit into far smaller cases.
What with the exciting new Intel P55 chipset (as found in the recently-reviewed MSI P55-GD65) doing the rounds, we haven't done an AMD-based board in a while - but despite providing truly excellent value for money, Intel's P55-based Core i5/7 processors still aren't within everyone's price range. If you're limited to the low end of the budget market, AMD's versatile AM3-based boards are still a great option, especially as they're compatible with almost every AMD CPU since the socket-939 days and look to be compatible with future models for a good while yet.
If we had any complaint with the Asus M4A785TD-V EVO, it was that the excellent HD 4200 integrated graphics core in its AMD 785G chipset was not reaching its full potential in an ATX-sized motherboard, as those wanting to build a home theatre PC (HTPC) would usually be looking for something to fit in a small form factor (SFF) system. Of course there's also a market segment for those that just want a simple workhorse PC, for which integrated graphics are perfectly adequate, but arguably that same crowd would still want a small PC if possible. Let's see then if the M4A785TD-M is a good option.
To begin with, let's take a quick look at the basic specifications. Based on AMD's 785G chipset paired with the SB710 southbridge, the board supports AM3 processors but is backwards compatible with AM2, so even older AMD CPUs should have no problem. For memory you're limited to DDR3, which until recently was the more expensive option (compared to the DDR2 many AMD motherboards support) but has now come down in price to a point where there's no longer a significant difference.
The included bundle is very sparse considering this board - while hardly high-end - isn't exactly the cheapest model in Asus' line-up. All you get in addition to the manual and single driver disk is an EIDE cable and two black SATA cables, one of which has an angled connector.
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