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Biostar TA890FXE review

Biostar TA890FXE
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £107
inc VAT

Biostar's TA890FXE has loads of features including four PCI-E x16 slots, but it's expensive and doesn't have USB3.


AM3, ATX, AMD 890FX chipset, supports: Phenom II, Athlon II, Sempron 100

Biostar’s TA890FXE is one of the most expensive AM3 motherboards that we’ve seen, so we were expecting a lot from it. It’s surprising, then, that it doesn’t have a single USB3 port, for use with super-fast external storage.

This is especially strange, as in every other way this is a high-end motherboard. For starters, it has four PCI-E x16 slots for graphics cards, although the expense of this kind of CrossfireX configuration means you’re probably better off thinking of these as regular expansion slots to complement the two PCI slots. You’ll need to use the main slot, though, as this motherboard has no onboard graphics.

This board is really designed for enthusiasts looking to overclock their PC. One key feature is the BIO Unlocking options, which can unlock extra cores on AMD processors that were disabled due to not reaching manufacturing thresholds. There’s no guarantee that this will work on all chips, but it worked with the handful that we tried.

Biostar TA890FXE

It’s good to see power and reset buttons on the motherboard, so you can try it out before you hook everything up to your case. The LED read-out makes it easy to identify problems by reading the associated code – particularly handy if you’re going to use the easily-accessible overclocking settings.

The motherboard has five SATA III connectors and one eSATA, along with an IDE connecter for older PATA hard disks. At the back, you’ll find six USB ports, an eSATA port and a FireWire port, so you can connect almost anything, from older DV cameras to external hard disks. If you want to add rear bracket or front panel connections, there are three USB headers, a FireWire header and a serial header on the motherboard.

Performance, at default speeds, was as we’d expect from an AM3 motherboard. As it stands, the TA890FXE is a decent motherboard with lots of expansion options, but it’s just too expensive.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
Processor socket AM3
Form factor ATX
Size 305x244mm
Processor support Phenom II, Athlon II, Sempron 100
Processor external bus 260MHz (2.6GHz HyperTransport)
Chipset north bridge AMD 890FX
Chipset south bridge AMD SB850
Passively-cooled north bridge yes
Integrated graphics No
Supported memory type DDR3 800/1066/1333/1600
Maximum memory speed PC3-15000
Memory slots 4
Maximum memory 16GB
Dual-channel support yes

Buying Information

Price £107

Internal Ports

Power connectors 1x 24-pin ATX, 1x 8-pin ATX
PCI-E x16 slots 3
Dual graphics architecture CrossFire
PCI-E x4 slots 0
PCI-E x1 slots 0
PCI slots 2
Fan headers 3
Floppy ports 0
IDE ports 1
Serial ATA ports 4
RAID chipset (max disks) AMD SB850 (5x SATA III, RAID 0, 1, 5, 10)


Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Sound (ports) Realtek ALC892 (6x analogue out, optical S/PDIF, coaxial S/PDIF)
USB2 ports / headers 6/3
Firewire ports / headers 1/1
Legacy ports 2x PS/2, serial header
Other ports 1x eSATA, 5x SATA III
Cables included 3x SATA, 1x Molex to SATA power, 2x CrossFire
Brackets included none
Software included drivers only

Setup and Overclocking

Voltage adjustment CPU/RAM/Chipset
CPU clock max adjustment 600MHz

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