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Biostar TA890FXE review

Kat Orphanides
20 Aug 2010
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.

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Specifications

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 socketAM3
Form factorATX
Size305x244mm
Processor supportPhenom II, Athlon II, Sempron 100
Processor external bus260MHz (2.6GHz HyperTransport)
Chipset north bridgeAMD 890FX
Chipset south bridgeAMD SB850
Passively-cooled north bridgeyes
Integrated graphicsNo
Supported memory typeDDR3 800/1066/1333/1600
Maximum memory speedPC3-15000
Memory slots4
Maximum memory16GB
Dual-channel supportyes

Buying Information

Price£107
Supplierhttp://www.cube247.co.uk
Detailswww.biostar.com.tw

Internal Ports

Power connectors1x 24-pin ATX, 1x 8-pin ATX
PCI-E x16 slots3
Dual graphics architectureCrossFire
PCI-E x4 slots0
PCI-E x1 slots0
PCI slots2
Fan headers3
Floppy ports0
IDE ports1
Serial ATA ports4
RAID chipset (max disks)AMD SB850 (5x SATA III, RAID 0, 1, 5, 10)

Features

Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Sound (ports)Realtek ALC892 (6x analogue out, optical S/PDIF, coaxial S/PDIF)
USB2 ports / headers6/3
Firewire ports / headers1/1
Legacy ports2x PS/2, serial header
Other ports1x eSATA, 5x SATA III
Cables included3x SATA, 1x Molex to SATA power, 2x CrossFire
Brackets includednone
Software includeddrivers only

Setup and Overclocking

Voltage adjustmentCPU/RAM/Chipset
CPU clock max adjustment600MHz

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