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Nvidia Geforce 8200 MCP78 Mainboard – DX10 IGP Revolution

We’ve seen Intel rolling out DX10 solutions a couple of month back, and the IGP wars rage on today with Nvidia lifting their embargo for their MCP78 chipset. Today, We will be taking a look at Palit’s version of the MCP78S, otherwise known as the Geforce 8200, exploring it’s IGP and Hybrid SLI capabilities.

Hybrid SLI? That’s definitely something fresh out from the oven that all of us have been hearing from the press. Some might consider the prospects of SLI-ing onboard integrated and discrete graphics interesting, while many others may just dismiss this new technology as just pure gimmicky. The nice guys at Palit managed to get one of these boards down south to the sunny island of Singapore a couple of days ago, and the elves at VR-Zone labs have been working on the board since.

So, what’s new in Nvidia’s latest series of onboard graphics? What are the things that they’ve implemented to benefit the consumers? Let’s take a look at some of the features.

Hybrid Power Technology

Hybrid Power Technology allows the computer to turn off the discrete graphics card when the computer is not running graphics intensive applications. This is done by having the system fall back on the Integrated Graphics Processor (IGP) that consumes less power and still provides enough power for regular applications. Whilst this may not seem to be a concern for most enthusiasts, we can certainly see this as a boon to laptop power-users. By turning off the MXM graphics solution and falling back on the integrated graphics, users would gain generous amounts of battery life when running regular desktop applications. Unfortunately, we note that current graphics accelerators do not support running in this mode but future NVIDIA graphics solutions will be able to support this

These 3 babies guzzle 230W more power idling than a 8600GT. Will Hybrid Power help turn the heat off as we sleep?

Geforce Boost

As its name suggest, this is a method of using the integrated graphics to boost the performance of a discrete graphics accelerator. A more common name for it would perhaps be Hybrid SLI. Currently, the only supported accelerators are the Geforce 8400GS and Geforce 8500GT. As the only mode of SLI supported is Alternate Frame Rendering (AFR), it makes sense that only these accelerators are supported. Any faster accelerator would actually be slowed down whilst waiting for the IGP to render its share of frames. Whilst the MCP78S that the Palit board is based on supports both Hybrid Power and Geforce Boost technologies, both the 8400GS and 8500GT do not support Hybrid Power since there is little power difference from powering down these low-end graphics accelerators.

DirectX 10, PureVideo HD & Improved Connectivity

The new MCP78 is also known as the Geforce 8200. Despite its naming convention, it is very much a motherboard chipset. Amongst other new features, the Geforce 8200 adds support for DirectX 10 and is meant to be able to fully support Vista Premium graphical features. In addition, a new PureVideo HD decoder is part of the IGP to help relieve the CPU when decoding high definition videos. The PCI-e x16 expansion slot is also a 2nd generation slot thus, future proofing the chipset. Unlike previous NVIDIA IGPs, the Geforce 8200 comes packed with 6 SATA-II ports rather than 4 and also an integrated Gigabit Ethernet MAC across all variants of the chipset. Without further adieu, lets take a look at the board.

Bear in mind that this is a very early sample that’s no where near production.

The Palit N78S that we received is a very early engineering sample and so the production units may have certain differences from what is seen in this review. This will explain the lack of markings on the board and the customary box shot. There simply isn’t a box as this is not even a commercial product!

Lets take a quick look at the basic specifications of this board before we move on.

Socket AM2/AM2+ for AMD Athlon 64FX/Athlon 64X2/Athlon 64 and Sempron processors with Hyper Transport 3.0
NVIDIA MCP78S (GeForce 8200)
4 x DDR2 240-pin DIMM slots, 8GB memory capacity, DDR2 1066 for AM2+ CPUs and DDR2 800 for AM2 and lower
Build in GeForce 8200 GPU
Realtek RTL8211B 100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet controller
Realtek ALC883 7.1 Channel HD Audio
Expansion Slot
1 x PCI Express x16 graphics slot
1 x PCI Express x1 slot
2 x PCI slots
Onboard Connector/Header
6 x SATA II(3.0Gb/s) connectors, support RAID0, 1, 0+1,5 and JBOD, NCQ
1 x ATA133 connector support up to 2 IDE devices
1 x floppy connector
3 x USB headers support 6 USB 2.0 ports
1 x parallel port header
1 x SPDIF out header
1 x CD-In header
1 x IrDA header
1 x front panel header
1 x front audio header
1 x 24-pin ATX power connector
1 x 8-pin ATX power connector
1 x 4-pin CPU fan connector
2 x 3 pin system fan connectors
Rear Panel
1 x PS2 keyboard
1 x PS2 mouse
1 x Serial port
1x VGA port
1x DVI port
1 x RJ45 GbE controller
4 x USB 2.0 ports
1 x 7.1 channel audio ports (6 phone jack)
Form Factor
mATX (244 x 220 mm)

VR-Zone is a leading online technology news publication reporting on bleeding edge trends in PC and mobile gadgets, with in-depth reviews and commentaries.

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