|Biostar TA890GXB-HD mATX AMD Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Hank Tolman|
|Monday, 31 May 2010|
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Closer Look: Biostar TA890GXB-HD
Biostar is a name I haven't heard from in quite a while. They have recently released a whole new line of motherboards touting the 890FX/GX chipsets. The TA890GXB-HD is a micro-ATX entry-level board that costs about $95. The TA890GXB-HD, despite being a micro ATX motherboard, ships out in a full sized box. I found this to be a nice feature, as the contents of the box were not packed in nearly as tightly as I have seen on other mATX board boxes. The motherboard and accessories are well protected within the box with cardboard dividers and a foam pad. The box is black with silver writing is pretty eye-catching. It touts some of the features of the motherboard, including the native SATA 6Gb/s 6Gb/s controller.
The contents of the box are pretty standard, but Biostar goes a little beyond what's normally found with a mATX entry-level motherboard. There are three SATA cables included with the TA890GXB-HD, rather than the standard two. Additionally, each of these SATA cables is the locking type, that secures it to the drive or peripheral and to the motherboard. Anyone who has used SATA drives, which are very common, knows the value in locking cables, as the SATA connector can easily come loose with a little jarring or excess movement. Biostar also includes a MOLEX to SATA power connector adapter. Most power supplies are now equipped with SATA connectors, but some older PSUs are not, and even some of the newer ones are limited on the number of SATA connectors they offer. Including an adapter with the motherboard isn't extremely rare, but it is far from common. Other contents include a driver CD, the motherboard manual, and the I/O panel shield. Also included with the Biostar TA890GXB-HD is a blue Velcro cable organizer. This was a nice commodity that I haven't seen before with a mATX motherboard.
The Biostar TA890GXB-HD is laid out very similarly to nearly all mATX motherboards these days. For the purposes of this article, we will call the side with the I/O panel the top and the side with the ATX power connector the bottom. The 4-pin CPU power connector is located all the way up at the top right of the motherboard, somewhat hidden amongst the I/O connections. This location could be potentially difficult to reach if your power supply doesn't have long cables, and depending on the size of case you have, especially if you are using a large GPU.
Down at the bottom of the motherboard you can see the 24-pin ATX power connector. Down in the bottom left corner are the six SATA 6Gb/s 6Gb/s connectors. Before the 890FX/GX chipsets with the SB850 southbridge, motherboard manufacturers needed to a third party controller to allow for SATA 6Gb/s ports. This general meant that you would find maybe two SATA 6Gb/s ports, and the remaining ports would be SATA II. With the new availability of the SATA 6Gb/s native controller in the SB850, it is likely that we will see many more drive manufacturers working on drives that can take advantage of the higher bandwidth speeds. At the time of this article, there are still very few SATA 6Gb/s drives available that actually function at speeds high enough to need the new technology. With the native SATA 6Gb/s controller, the SB850 becomes the southbridge to beat, and Intel will have to play catch-up to AMD for a change.
The Biostar TA890GXB-HD motherboard uses a black and red coloring scheme that looks pretty good and matches the box and the Biostar logo quite well. The PCI slots use the red color while the single PCIe 2.0 x16 is white. The DIMM slots also play along with the coloring scheme. In fact the only thing that really looks out of place with the coloring scheme (other than the blue VGA port) is the purple parallel port pins labled "Printer" on the far left of the TA890GXB-HD. I know the pins are labeled "Printer", but I can't imagine what use they would really have on this motherboard. If you still have a printer that requires a parallel port, I have a suggestion. Instead of trying to find a parallel port cable to go from the motherboard and screw in to one of the cases open PCI slot covers, do yourself a favor and spend $50 on a USB printer. They aren't hard to find. In fact, it would be much more of a challenge to find a printer still using a parallel port. What I'm trying to say here, Biostar, is that it's time to get rid of the parallel port connector. Besides, it doesn't match.