The final handful of tests are all gaming related, with one synthetic benchmark and two games to be considered. For this round of testing, the onboard graphics solutions were compared, and each board was also fitted with a Sapphire Toxic 512MB Radeon HD3870 graphics card
for good measure. The drivers used for this video card were from the Catalyst Control Center version 8.5.
FutureMark's 3DMark06 was executed at a resolution of 1280x1024 (no anti-aliasing / optimal filtering), and higher values are better. Here we see that neither onboard solution is going to knock your socks off with its gaming potential, but that the A780GM-A does offer the best integrated graphics performance. Popping in the overclocked HD3870 gets things respectable on both motherboards, but the A780GM-A is still the top dog.
Call of Juarez is a wild west themed first person shooter game that offers a benchmark to test the game's DirectX 10 capabilities. With a resolution of 1280x1024 and settings on high, the minimum, average, and maximum frame rate values were captured and presented in the chart below (higher is better). If you didn't realize it yet, hopefully the numbers below convince you that a real video card is in order to play modern games.
The final test was conducted using the game Track Mania Nations Forever. The built-in benchmark was configured for a resolution of 1280x1024, with 4x anti-aliasing and 4x anisotropic filtering. The results below are presented in units of frames per second, and higher is better. The game didn't look as bad as the onboard results would indicate, but once the HD3870 was installed the difference was very clear. And once again the A780GM-A takes the slightest of leads.
While serious gaming may not be the calling for either motherboard's integrated graphics, they both do quite well otherwise. Desktop and multimedia applications both run just fine, and either board could be used for the base of an excellent budget friendly HTPC. If you want that system to double as your gaming rig you need to consider a high end graphics card, or at least something with some more horsepower. HybridPower Technology and GeForce Boost Technology only work with certain NVIDIA PCI Express graphics cards, so looking into that option may be one way to stretch your budget a bit further. Coupling the integrated 8200 graphics with a GeForce 8500 might get you decent performance in some games, although it can't compete with the true high end options out there.