ASUS M3N78 Pro Motherboard Review :: ASUS M3N78 Pro Layout

10-06-2008 · Category: Motherboards

By Ben Sun

ASUS chose to put the CPU Bracket in a sideways position to that of the normal AMD CPU areas on most other motherboards. A Zalman cooler with a large fan and heatsink almost hangs over the first memory slot on installation meaning that some CPU coolers might have an issue. The board is a full ATX board meaning that it will offer more expansion slots than the traditional mini-ATX boards would offer.


ASUS M3N78 Pro Motherboard Review CPU Socket

CPU Socket

ASUS M3N78 Pro Motherboard Review GeForce 8300 Chip

GeForce 8300 Chip

ASUS M3N78 Pro Motherboard Review Expansion slots

Expansion slots

ASUS M3N78 Pro Motherboard Review Rear of PCB

Rear of PCB


Expansion on the board consists of a single PCI Express 2.0 Generation 2.0 slot for a discrete graphics card, two PCI Express x1 slots, and three PCI slots. If you have an 8400GT or 8400GS video card you can combine them with the integrated 8300 graphics in GeForce Boost mode. This gives the combined graphics the horsepower of an 8600 card. Note, that even if you have a GTX280 card you can take advantage of HybridPower by powering down the video card when itís not needed.


ASUS M3N78 Pro Motherboard Review SATA ports

SATA ports

ASUS M3N78 Pro Motherboard Review FDD port

FDD port

ASUS M3N78 Pro Motherboard Review 24-pin power

24-pin power

ASUS M3N78 Pro Motherboard Review IDE port

IDE port


SATA ports are an important part of any new motherboard as the SATA port has replaced the IDE interface and almost replaced the SCSI interface as the main standard for drive expansion. The M3N78 Pro has four SATA2 ports, but there is a small issue as to the layout. Our regular motherboard test video card is an 8800GTS which is not large in comparison to the GTX280 cards or other long cards. The first SATA port was blocked by the 8800GTS upon installation, and I can easily see two SATA ports being blocked by a long card.


ASUS M3N78 Pro Motherboard Review Audio Headers

Audio Headers

ASUS M3N78 Pro Motherboard Review Capacitors

Capacitors

ASUS M3N78 Pro Motherboard Review More Capacitors

More Capacitors

ASUS M3N78 Pro Motherboard Review USB and Firewire Headers

USB and Firewire Headers


The headers on the board from left to right are: Front panel audio header, an S/PDIF header, a Floppy port, a COM header, one Firewire header, 3 USB 2.0 headers, and the front panel connectors. The board supports up to 12 USB 2.0 ports, 2 Firewire ports if all headers and brackets are in use. The bottom of the board connections from left to right are: IDE connector, six SATA ports, and the memory modules. The board supports DDR2-1066 memory if the CPU supports the memory as the memory controller is on the CPU not the motherboard.


ASUS M3N78 Pro Motherboard Review ITE and LSI chips

ITE and LSI chips

ASUS M3N78 Pro Motherboard Review Realtek PHY

Realtek PHY

ASUS M3N78 Pro Motherboard Review Rear IO

Rear IO


Onboard sound on the board is provided by a Realteek ALC1200 8 Channel High Definition CODEC. This is similar in most respects to the ALC 888 CODEC thatís been floating around for a while now. It supports DTS Ultra PC which provides better than average surround sound on a Stereo set of speakers or headphones. Dolby Digital Live or DTS Connect is not supported by this CODEC. Sadly, Realtekís website has no info on this CODEC so it is a subjective thing but the sound is fully the equal of the ALC889A with speakers. The rear IO on the board has an arrangement of features including six USB 2.0 ports, a Firewire port, a HDMI port, SPDIF Coaxial out port, a PS/2 keyboard port, a LAN port, and six audio jacks for the onboard audio. This is fully the equal of some of the higher-end motherboards on the market. One word of caution though, if you intend to use a CRT monitor with this board use the VGA bracket and donít use a HDMI to DVI to VGA adapter as that wonít work.