AMD has also released a new CPU to accompany this platform. It’s called the Athlon X2 4850e and is the fastest of AMDs low power range that have a Thermal Design Power (TDP) of 45W. Subsequently it runs very cool and quiet and coupled with the passively cooled, and thus silent, chipset it makes for a perfect media centre setup. In terms of specs, it can run at up to 2.5GHz and has 512KB of L2 cache per core so performance should be similar to most regular Athlon X2s.
For our testing we were provided with a GA-MA78GM-S2H motherboard made by Gigabyte. Overall it’s a reasonably well laid out board with most of the features you’d want, we did have a couple of problems though.
Gigabyte still insist on putting two PS2 ports, for both old keyboards and mice, on the back of its motherboards and while we still appreciate one for the keyboard, the mouse connection is largely deprecated and we’d prefer to see a couple more USB ports in its stead. This is especially true of this board as it currently only has four USB ports.
Also, another repeat offence from Gigabyte is the positioning of the SATA ports. They’re right in line with the graphics card slot, which means you can’t install a large graphics card without losing access to some of these ports. Okay, you’re not likely to use a large graphics card with this motherboard but it’s still an easy fix to just lay the connectors down on the edge of the board.
Video is well catered for with HDMI, DVI, and VGA video connections on the back plate. There’s no DisplayPort, which may be of concern to some but it would be harsh to knock points of for this.