Asus P5N7A-VM: Geforce 9300 IGP

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colin2
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Post by colin2 » Sun Dec 07, 2008 12:04 pm

Thanks a lot for doing this. Very enlightening and must have been a lot of work.

What are the benefits that this setup would offer over a similar AMD package, using, say, a Gigabyte GA-MA78GPM-DS2H with a low-power (maybe even Brisbane) CPU? Comparing reviews, the power usage seems pretty similar.

In both cases video processing has moved from CPUs to chipsets (as compared to the previous generation) but that just means that more heat is coming off the board and less off the CPU.

What might tip it for me is that to date my experience with Nvidia on the driver/software side has been better than my experience with AMD integrated graphics.

MikeC
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Post by MikeC » Sun Dec 07, 2008 1:01 pm

colin2 wrote:Thanks a lot for doing this. Very enlightening and must have been a lot of work.

What are the benefits that this setup would offer over a similar AMD package, using, say, a Gigabyte GA-MA78GPM-DS2H with a low-power (maybe even Brisbane) CPU? Comparing reviews, the power usage seems pretty similar.
IMO, the biggest tangible difference is in your pocketbook. Performance-wise, the differences are relatively small, as are power draw numbers. Pricewise, the AMD setups always cost a lot less.

At newegg, you can get a 780G board for as little as $60. The reviewed board is $120, and I doubt you'll find any 9300 boards for under $100 for some time.

An AMD X2 4850e 2.5GHz 45W is $57; Intel Pentium E2180 Allendale 2.0GHz 65W Dual-Core is $70.

About comparable performance: AMD - $117; Intel/nvidia - $190

ST
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Post by ST » Tue Dec 16, 2008 3:51 pm

Nice review, and I concur with almost everything that was stated. However, having owned this board since the 2nd week of introduction, I have had a few weeks worth of soak time on it and found some issues:

- 0404 BIOS and lower can cause system lockups during hard / soft poweron/reboots if the IGP (northbridge) temp is too high. This was corrected with 0407 BIOS code fortunately.

- Northbridge HSF design requires some airflow over it with something as simple as Intel-stock style HSF that blows down and around the IGP. Tower / passive HSF designs negate this airflow and can lead to dangerously high temps (85+C).

- High VDroop on VCore line between idle / full load of up to ~400MV. On the P5Q-EM, VDroop is virtually non-existent and probably why you could not achieve better undervolting on the P5N7A.

Also a couple more things to mention not listed in your review:

- 24p playback! nVidia's MCP7A works flawlessly! No more stuttering like on the G35/G45 boards.

- backwards compatibility with older software players. Since G45 is a new architecture, it requires new software to get full DXVA HW acceleration. the 9300 is fully backwards compatible with existing nVidia PureVideo accelerated players, thus I can use my PDVD7.3 w/o needing to fork out addtional $$$$ to upgrade to the craptastic PDVD 8.X (if i wanted to do that, i might as well buy a discrete GPU in the first place).

ST
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Post by ST » Tue Dec 16, 2008 4:00 pm

colin2 wrote:Thanks a lot for doing this. Very enlightening and must have been a lot of work.

What are the benefits that this setup would offer over a similar AMD package, using, say, a Gigabyte GA-MA78GPM-DS2H with a low-power (maybe even Brisbane) CPU? Comparing reviews, the power usage seems pretty similar.

In both cases video processing has moved from CPUs to chipsets (as compared to the previous generation) but that just means that more heat is coming off the board and less off the CPU.

What might tip it for me is that to date my experience with Nvidia on the driver/software side has been better than my experience with AMD integrated graphics.
As an aside, I have both of nVidia's latest IGP solutions: Asus 8200 (w/ 4850e) and Asus 9300 (w/ a Q9300).

Although they are comparable performance and quality wise, there is one annoying trait with the 8200 (and all AMD IGP platforms in general): CnQ

There is a bug where CnQ is not detecting IGP HW acceleration properly thus putting the CPU into a very low P-State causing video stutter and such: http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3430&p=6

This has a drastic affect on power consumption : http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3430&p=10

Until this is fixed by AMD, I would go with an Intel solution.

QuietOC
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Post by QuietOC » Wed Dec 17, 2008 3:24 am

ST wrote:There is a bug where CnQ is not detecting IGP HW acceleration properly thus putting the CPU into a very low P-State causing video stutter and such: http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3430&p=6
Have you tried using CrystalCPUID or RMClock to create and manage P-states?

ACook
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Post by ACook » Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:05 pm

ST wrote:Nice review, and I concur with almost everything that was stated. However, having owned this board since the 2nd week of introduction, I have had a few weeks worth of soak time on it and found some issues:

- 0404 BIOS and lower can cause system lockups during hard / soft poweron/reboots if the IGP (northbridge) temp is too high. This was corrected with 0407 BIOS code fortunately.

- Northbridge HSF design requires some airflow over it with something as simple as Intel-stock style HSF that blows down and around the IGP. Tower / passive HSF designs negate this airflow and can lead to dangerously high temps (85+C).

- High VDroop on VCore line between idle / full load of up to ~400MV. On the P5Q-EM, VDroop is virtually non-existent and probably why you could not achieve better undervolting on the P5N7A.
I'm in the last (software) stages of making a machine for someone with this board an a E7300.

I too ran into the annoying hard/softboot issues, after upgrading to 407 bios this seems to be solved. Typical asus behaviour is that their downloads are bloody slow, and they're currently listing a 502 bios but none of the links work.
edit: I just tried again, and the global option does finally work!

You say 85C is dangerously high. What should be the desired temperature of the 'Core/GPU' as reported by Speedfan?

I've left the stock intel cooler on, it's quiet enough, while the only fan is the 12mm in the Seasonic S12II-380W, I'm gonna see how that performs doing typical intended usage.

Ketan
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Post by Ketan » Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:34 pm

Could anyone with this motherboard post their power draw figures - especially if you're using pico psu.

I'm trying to work out the benefit of switching to this motherboard from the Asus G35 board power wise.

Many thanks in advance

xc
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Post by xc » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:34 am

I have just built a system around one.

Asus P5N7A-VM
Intel Q9400
8GB PC2-6400 (4 x 2GB)
2 x Spinpoint F1 500GB SATA
2 x WD 80GB PATA
1 x DVD-RW
and a second Netgear NIC.

It idles around ~75W and pulls ~125W running 4 instances of cpuburn.

These readings are at the wall, on an old (and presumably inefficient) 450W PSU.

dcwp
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Post by dcwp » Mon Apr 13, 2009 5:56 am

Excuse me for dredging up an old thread, but I upgraded to this board a little over a month ago and have had a very positive experience with it.

The only two problems I have are the BIOS forgetting boot device priority occasionally and very high chipset heat.

I've replaced the glob of mediocre thermal paste on the chipset heatsink with Arctic Silver and noticed a tangible but not huge improvement. I also suspended an 80mm fan over the chipset, which keeps things in the right temp range, but provides a few extra dbAs.

But now I'm looking to move into a Silverstone LC04 case where heat will be a bigger issue. So I'm wondering if anybody with this board has found an adequate passive cooling solution for this chipset. Specifically I'll need one that is under 60mm high to fit in the case. I'm considering the Zalman blue flower design and the Nexus heatpipe and copper disk model. I would have thought the Nexus would be a better cooler being copper and having heatpipes, but the reviews seem to suggest that the aluminum Zalman is a bit better.

Any thoughts or experiences with this board would be most appreciated.

If it helps, my system includes:
Asus P5N7A
Core 2 Duo 2.2 GHz
Stock Intel cooler
2X1G Crucial DDR2 PC6400
WD 1.5Tb Green Power HDD
Hauppage PVR 1600
Currently using Ultra Microfly case, moving to LC04

Thanks!

xc
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Location: England

Post by xc » Tue Apr 14, 2009 12:13 am

As an update and possibly a point of reference for above post....

I swapped my PSU for an 80+ 400W (OCZ Stealth Extreme) and the system now idles at 65W @ the wall.

As for the above - my chipset idles at 57ºC alas I do not do much work that uses the iGPU yet so cant give you an upper range, but with a cpu and memory stress it increases 10ºC or so. My Nvidia Settings tool say it's slowdown speed is 115ºC so it seems warrantied to run at high temps.

As and when I get an Ubuntu VDPAU movie player I will be able to better stress it.

signal64
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Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2006 4:11 am

Post by signal64 » Sun May 24, 2009 5:17 pm

If you run this board horizontal (as most htpc orientations would be) you can do a quick little mod to help the mcp79 cooling.

The ASUS logo on the heatsink is just double sticky back tape attached. It covers the center length of the heatsink and inhibits proper air flow if the board is lying flat. Found this out after some testing on the bench.

You can use your hands or a screwdriver to leverage on the fake heatpipe to get the cover off.

The only difference between the 9300/9400 igpu's is the core/shader clocks and hence usually a better heatsink on the 9400 variants.

450/1200 is the default 9300 speed and bumping that up to 580/1500 to match a 9400 produces the same benchmarks as a 9400 (compared against my DFI and Gigabyte 9400 boards). I've been running that speed for a few months without issue with the heatsink "cover" removed and only a slight breeze from the case/cpu fans over the mcp79.

One issue I can't track down is a 30W (from the wall) increase in power when using an E8400 vs. an E7300. 266 fsb and 340Mhz difference between the two but that much of a power draw increase?

I was using a pico 200W with 8.5A supply, x2 hard drives, x4 2GB DDR2800 sticks with the E7300 and getting 40W idle, 70W load. This bumped up to 70W idle and 100W load with the E8400 pushing the limits of the 8.5A supply (and it's little fan kicking into high gear all the time).

I've stuck to the E7300's for now and considering trying an E7500 for grins.

janwyta
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Post by janwyta » Thu Jul 30, 2009 3:22 am

I'm puzzled.

The article says:

"Supports DVI interface with HDCP compliant with max. resolution up to 1600x1200 @60Hz"

Is it true that one can't get 1920x1200 resolution using DVI output?

Later in the article it says:

"The board's HDMI output worked flawlessly with our Asus MK241H LCD monitor at 1920x1200 resolution. There was no overscanning or other video issues — it looked identical to the DVI output."

So it looks like they tried 1920x1200 DVI?

I'm looking for a uATX board which would support two displays at 1920x1200 resolution. 1600x1200 is simply not good enough. Could some lucky owner of this board kindly check whether DVI output works at 1920x1200? Thanks in advance. :-)

This board beats all Intel chipset-based boards in one more respect. Only nVidia cards currently support hardware decoding of HD movies under GNU/Linux. So as a GNU/Linux user I'm looking for some uATX board with integrated nVidia GPU. This one would be perfect, if only DVI works with 1920x1200 resolution.

signal64
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Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2006 4:11 am

Post by signal64 » Thu Aug 27, 2009 10:42 pm

Albeit a bit late on a response, but yes the DVI or HDMI can display 1920x1200 or 1920x1080 depending on monitor.

The wording used by ASUS on the product description is poor.

The max resolution they are describing is if you are playing HDCP content (blueray for example) on a non-compliant HDCP HDMI/DVI monitor.

For any other kind of non-hdcp type of media being played it isn't an issue and you always have full resolution.

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