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The new 785G chipset is just an evolutionary step from the 780G. With the UVD2 it now also features Picture in Picture for Blu-Rays which is especially important for HTPCs.
The Elitegroup board features the best layout and the best backpanel with all the features you can wish for. Sadly, that is ruined by a very weak VRM implementation and a disappointing BIOS. We are in constant mail-contact with Elitegroup and the person on the other end is very helpful and understanding, but that will not help if the BIOS team is unable to fix problems soon. It took them two weeks to fix a bug with the memory timing when set manually. Looking on the website a fixed BIOS is still not available for the end-user. When Elitegroup is serious with the retail-market they need to put much more effort for their customers and have a own team which is seperated from the OEM guys. The board is an all solid capacitor design, but still have cheaper chokes and other design issues, such as sensors not connected, so you have no control for the +3.3V, +5V and +12V rails which is helpful when your system is not running stable. The board is available in Europe for €68.34 while in US you have to pay $89.99 but you get back $18 with mail-in-rebate which will reduce the price to $71.99. As usual we Europeans have to pay more. (That's what we call Liberation Tax. sub.ed.)
MSI can't match the design of the Elitegroup board, having only one PCIe x1 slot and missing the debug led. Also a second eSATA port on the back-panel would not have hurt. In contrast you get a heat-piped cooling system and a much more efficient VRM. While we have tested we got several BIOS upgrades, now even officially unlocking cores. For some unknown reasons this board is not available in Europe, only the downsized E53 version which does neither feature 128MB Sideport memory nor the nice heat-pipe cooling. In US you get the board for $89.99 which is quite competitive. With mail-in-rebate it costs you only $74.99. This deserves our Top Value Award for the most power efficient AMD mainboard so far.
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