Gigabyte MA78GM-S2H is a very well loaded motherboard for the usage it is targeted for: HTPC’s or PCs for editing audio and video. What makes this an spectacular motherboard for these applications are the presence of three video outputs (VGA, DVI and HDMI supporting digital audio; only two of them can be used at the same time), the presence of an optical SPDIF output, FireWire ports (excellent for connecting digital camcorders based on this standard) and the impressive Realtek ALC889A codec, a rarity even on high-end motherboards.
One constant complaint we make regarding on-board audio solutions is the low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) for the analog input. With values below 95 dB you will have a lot of white noise (background noise) when converting analog audio sources to digital format (VHS to DVD or other digit
al format, LP to CD or MP3, etc). This codec, however, offers a signal-to-noise ratio on the same level of professional add-on sound cards: 104 dB for its analog inputs and 108 dB for its analog outputs. You can use this motherboard to build a PC to work professionally with audio and video editing without the need of an add-on sound card.
The number of SATA-300 ports is more than enough for most users and the presence of an eSATA-300 port on the rear panel is becoming more important. We, however, were disappointed by the fact that this motherboard has only four USB 2.0 ports on its rear panel, from a total of 12 ports.
Obviously don’t expect to use its on-board video to run at a high frame rate the latest games, but the presence of an x16 PCI Express slot supporting Hybrid CrossFire allows you to install a “real” video card in case you want to upgrade your computer in order to play games. The overclocking options available aren’t bad at all, making this a good pick if you are willing to build a small gaming system to be connected to your home theater setup.