I can comment on my experiences with the 740G chipset, Fedora 9, AMD 5000+ and a Gigabyte GA-MA74GM-S2 motherboard.
Install was a little rough, as whatever driver was being auto selected would give a black screen and lock me out of the system. I tried text install and that worked, but playing with radeonhd (xorg-x11-drv-radeonhd-1.2.1-3.7.20080724git.fc9.x86_64.rpm) would allow me to login once. If I would exit the session, I would get a solid black screen that no amount of switching screens would bypass. Even during the active session I was logged into, lockups were fairly common with multimedia (xv and x11 under mplayer).
I went to the 'ole stable vesa driver for a while, and that worked OK. My prior setup was a 9250 with the radeon driver, and a P4 1.6Ghz. Vesa might be slow, but with the 5000+ and 2 gigs of ram, I was able to play video using the x11 driver with mplayer. The only issue that I was having was that vesa doesn't like widescreen monitors (video bios presets or something). My 1440x900 display was showing a squashed 1440x1050 screen. While functional, it was difficult to look at.
I crossed my fingers and changed over to the radeon driver, and it seems to work right now. I'm still using x11 and mplayer (Haven't had the courage to try xv yet). I have not had a lockup to date and I am able to exit the session and return to gdm with no issues.
I don't like to text mode install under Fedora 9. My recommendation to anyone installing on a 740G mb is to disable the onboard video in the bios set the mb to boot from PCI, power down the machine, and add an old PCI video card for install. Once all is set, you can switch to the vesa (or radeon) driver, set the bios back to the 740G, remove the card, and restart the machine. I tried this on a re-install and it seemed to work much better.
Overall, I'm quite happy with the 740G; I might not be so happy with a slower processor, but it suits my 2D desktop work fine. I'm hoping the radeonhd driver will update soon to include better support for the 740G.
I'd be interested in feeback from other 740G operators. I'm always looking to improve my setup.
For those interested, pulseaudio didn't seem to like the hda-intel Realtek ALC888. Alsa worked fine by adding the lines to /etc/modprobe.conf:
alias snd-card-0 snd-hda-intel
options snd-card-0 index=0
options snd-hda-intel model=auto
Some things in my xorg.conf file were from trying to get vesa to display 1440x900 instead of 1440x1050. The xorg site explained that my efforts were futile, of course. My xorg.conf is:
Thanx for the info jeffk!
Have you checked running hdparm too?
Will probably get a 740G soon so I can reply how it went for my install, I will be installing Ubuntu intrepid ibex. If the gfx card dont work well I can always use my old nvidia card in the mean time til the radeon HD drivers get better.
I was looking around at Toms Hardware and their graphic card charts. 780V, 780G, 690G, 740G are not shown. The 780G is supposed to be about the same as a HD2400 even though it shows up as a HD3200.
A lot of people don't seem very happy with the 8600GT passive (non-fan) cards. Based on review, the 8600GT with fan is probably the best buy. The 7600GT is probably almost as fast. The 7600GS is probably the best fanless option (for a separate card). These cards blow away all integrated graphics. The 7300GS while probably better than integrated is not that cheap compared to others.
Review of 740G shows cheapest is around $50. The cheapest 780V is around $55. The cheapest 780G is around $65 (not believing too much in rebates), and the ASUS and Gigabyte boards start around $85.
The cheapest mboards with or without integrated graphics is around $40 (and does have the 6100 IGP). But, the 6100 and 6150 had tight memory (DRAM) requirements as they had to operate at 1.8V.
I've never tried a foxconn or biostar so I suggest you try one or both of these and give us some feedback.
Edit: looks like moments after linking the link for the 780V, it went out of stock. The 740G link is still good but I notice it only has 100MB integrated lan but not GB lan. Darn! But, still a little better than my previous dialup or even more recent 1MB/s home lan hookup. Sacrifices...Sacrifices.
No issues yet, other than it's "bleeding edge" Linux-wise.
Having to use the radeon driver and alsa in lieu of radeonhd and pulseaudio (as mentioned above). I fully expect the driver issues to improve on both video and audio shortly. I was looking at either the 740G or an NVIDIA 6100 for an integrated video solution... I think the former offers more promise in the future.
Reviews were pretty solid and I've had good success with Gigabyte before. Plus... it's "in stock". I also added an FSP (Fortron) 400W PSU.
My reason for going with this setup was for Linux x86_64 development, and in that regard, all works splendidly.
No clue on the 780, other than it was $20 more.
Oh, and the Realtek ALC888 sound chip... I set /etc/modprobe.conf to:
alias snd-card-0 snd-hda-intel
options snd-card-0 index=0
options snd-hda-intel model=3stack-dig
I'm playing with that for the time being, although "auto" and "3stack-dig" both give stereo sound in my left and right speakers.
Considering its 690g graphics with sb700, support in linux should be good. With kernels older than 2.6.25 the sb700 might show up as unknown in lspci but it will still work. Use kernel at 2.6.25 or newer and everything should show up well.
The catalyst 8-5 driver works fairly well on a 690g a friend has. 8-6 and 8-7 goofed up video on mythtv, wine, and others as you've probably already read. Catalyst 8-8 was the first one for me that would autoinstall in kernel 2.6.26(.3) but it has same problems in mythtv, wine, etc (on my 780g). I haven't had time to try 8-8 on the 690g.
Using the radeonhd (or radeon) from the git, my screen was goofed up after exiting X (on 780g). I haven't had time to try this on 690g so I would be interested in your results.
What distribution and kernel are you using?
Edit: newegg seems to have zoom feature for images of your mboard link. Pretty good. Also, what is the orange coax port under the lpt? I would download owners manual but gigbayte site is too slow.
Oh, and the Orange coax connector on the GA-MA74GM-S2 is described in the manual as:
"Coaxial S/PDIF Out Connector: This connector provides digital audio to an external audio system that supports digital coaxial audio. Before using this feature, ensure that your audio system provides a coaxial digital audio in connector."
The motherboard also has a 5-pin SPDIF_IO (S/PDIF In/Out Header, Red) header. I think the Gigabyte site has a bracket cable if your case doesn't have an existing cable connector.
Don't ask me if any of this stuff actually works; I have sound coming out of my left and right speakers through Alsa. Is there really any need for more?