How to Build a Green Instant-On PC

  • By

    Frank Ohlhorst

    | Posted 2008-08-22

Motherboard and Chip Set

When it comes to selecting the major components of a PC, reliability reigns supreme, but that reliability should not come at the cost of performance and features—also very important in any motherboard.

Asustek Computer is well known to system builders and has a deserved reputation for reliability and innovation. Asus' latest motherboard exemplifies the company's commitment to excellence and serves as the foundation for our instant-on PC.

The M3A78-T motherboard is one of the first to market using the AMD 790GX chip set, which incorporates a variety of features that enhance performance, yet offers significant energy savings. The 790GX chip set features the current fastest integrated graphics core (the Radeon HD 3200 at 700MHz), energy efficiency from the advanced 55-nm fabrication technology used, AMD's new SB750 southbridge chip (which supports RAID 5) and an ACC (Advanced Clock Calibration) feature that enhances overclocking for Phenom processors.

The 790GX further enhances performance by incorporating sideport memory support into the video subsystem, which acts like a performance cache for video memory. Of course, the 790GX chip set is the heart of Asus' $149.00 M3A78-T motherboard, which is an ATX mainboard that supports socket AM2 processors with 2000/1600 MT/s FSB. The board features two PCI, one PCI-E x1, three PCI-E x16 slot and four DDR2 (double data rate 2)-1066 DIMM (dual in-line memory module) sockets. Rear panel I/O ports include one HDMI, six USB 2.0/1.1, two RJ45 LAN, one IEEE1394a, one Optical S/PDIF and eight-channel audio jacks.


Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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