|Biostar TA890GXB-HD mATX AMD Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Hank Tolman|
|Monday, 31 May 2010|
Page 7 of 15
Motherboard Testing Methodology
At the start of all tests, the previous display adapter driver is uninstalled and trace components are removed using Driver Cleaner Pro. We then restart the computer system to establish our display settings and define the monitor. Once the hardware is prepared, we begin our testing. We conducted the tests at the resolution of 1280x1024 (19" Standard LCD), a very standard and highly used resolution for both games and other normal uses. Each benchmark test program begins after a system restart, and the very first result for every test will be ignored since it often only caches the test. This process proved extremely important in the Resident Evil 5 benchmarks, as the first run served to cache maps allowing subsequent tests to perform much better than the first. Each test is completed five times, with the average results displayed in our article.
The focus of our testing for the Biostar TA890GXB-HD motherboard will be to compare it's performance, with the new 890GX chipset, the 785G chipset found in the ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO motherboard. All components use in the test system will be identical, with the exception of the motherboard. This should help us to isolate the motherboard during testing to see how the two motherboards compare directly. We are not expecting a lot of difference between the boards, as there is not a lot of difference between the two chipsets.
AMD Socket AM3 Test System
Overclocking with the TA890GXB-HD was a little bit more of a chore than I have become accustomed to recently. The BIOS is laid out in a relatively easy to understand format, but the overclocking section was a little confusing. Still, it's leaps and bounds ahead of the old jumper tweaking method. The TA890GXB-HD BIOS has an option for automatically overclocking the CPU called the A.O.S. (Automatic Overclock System).
To use the A.O.S., set the Overclock Navigator in the T-Series tab of the BIOS to automatic. Its three options are Disabled, Automatic, and Manual. Once on automatic, the A.O.S. will become available. The A.O.S. has three different settings, V6, V8, and V12-Tech Engine. The motherboard incrementally steps up the overclocking as you choose a higher numbered Tech Engine. Unfortunately, only the V6-Tech Engine resulted in a stable overclock for me at 3.4GHz. The other two settings always crashed the system before I could get into Windows.
Biostar also includes the T-Overclocker program with the motherboard for use in Windows. The program allows you to adjust the settings of the TA890GXB-HD without going through the BIOS. It is very similar to the settings options in the BIOS, but it is a lot more user-friendly and offers more options. V3, V6, V9, V12, V15, and AUTO settings are available. You can also adjust the settings manually through the utility. Again, I couldn't get over the V6 settings without the computer freezing up. I was sure, though, that I could reach a stable overclock higher than just a 3.4GHz.
I reached the highest stable overclock setting at 3.9GHz by setting the Navigator to Manual and adjusting the settings myself. I started by increasing the bus speed while keeping the other settings at stock levels. The stock multiplier for the Athlon-II X3-445 is x15.5. I reached 245MHz on the bus speed stably before I could no longer boot into the Windows. After that, I added more voltage to the CPU. With just adding voltage to the CPU, I reached a stable overclock of 3.6GHz. I wasn't satisfied with that, so I added voltage to the NB as well. With 1.6V going to the CPU and 1.4V going to the NB, I reached the highest stable overclock I could out of the TA890GXB-HD, at 3.9GHz.
I was a little bit disappointed with the overclock performance of the TA890GXB-HD. First of all, the Automatic overclock settings wouldn't get me past 3.4GHz. In the end, I was only able to keep the Athlon-II X3-445 at 3.9GHz. Using the ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO, I was able to get the CPU to 4.1GHz stably, a full 200MHz faster than with the Biostar TA890GXB-HD.