Articles: Mainboards

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Standardization is one of the base principles, which helped personal computers to spread practically all over the place. For the users it means that they do not need to wait until someone designs and manufactures a computer of the user’s desired configuration. No, we take a mainboard of choice, install our CPU and cooling system, and pair them with a suitable graphics card and memory. Then we install the drives and power supply unit into the system case, connect the monitor, keyboard and mouse and here we are – the fully-functional computer system is all set and ready to go. Even if it differs from a mass production model, the difference is only for the best, because all the components have been carefully selected to meet our specific needs and abilities.

The only problem DIY users face these days is the problem of choice. There are a lot of almost identical memory modules using the chips from the same maker and featuring similar characteristics. Many graphics cards differ only by their packaging, bundles accessories and stickers. Even mainboards may often be very similar to one another even though they have different cooling systems, different variety of onboard controllers and different individual components layout. However, there is one mainboard maker, whose mainboards are always a little different. No, I am not talking about the mainboards from the biggest CPU maker. The mainboards from Biostar Company don’t look strange or unusual at first glance, and in fact, they even seem to be just like most other mainboards out there. However, if we take a real close look at these products, we will notice a lot of unique distinguishing features that make them stand out.

Today we are going to talk about Biostar TA990FXE mainboard for AMD Socket AM3+ processors from Bulldozer family. It is based on a combination of AMD 990FX North Bridge and AMD SB950 South Bridge, so it will be interesting to find out how it is different from similar products, which we have already reviewed before. We are going to compare this mainboard against Asus Crosshair V Formula, Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD7 and MSI 990FXA-GD80, which we reviewed within the same roundup as well as against Asus Sabertooth 990FX.

Packaging and Accessories

Biostar TA990FXE mainboard is shipped in a vertical box of standard size without a carry-handle or any other additions. The package is designed primarily in red:

The last Biostar mainboard (TZ68K+ model), which we tested in our lab, arrived in a blue box that is why we assumed that they color coordinate the mainboards with either AMD or Intel platform: mainboards for Intel processors use blue packaging, while mainboards for AMD processors – red packaging. However, this assumption didn’t prove to be correct. Previously we have come across Biostar mainboard packaging of many different colors including gold and black. Moreover, Biostar TP67XE was also shipped in a red box, although it was based on an Intel chipset and supported Intel processors.

Besides the mainboard inside an antistatic pouch, you also get the following few accessories:

  • Four Serial ATA cables with straight metal connector locks;
  • Velcro tie with the Biostar logo;
  • Two flexible bridges for AMD CrossFire graphics configurations;
  • I/O Shield for the back panel;
  • User manual;
  • CD disk with software and drivers.

You don’t really need flexible bridges to build an AMD CrossFire graphics sub-system that is why they aren’t included with all the graphics cards out there, but this mainboard comes with two bridges like that. Another piece of luxury, in my opinion, is the reusable Velcro tie, which is bundled with all or almost all Biostar mainboards. It is very convenient for cable management inside or outside the system case.

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