990FX chipset has been out for a while now, yet
Biostar's TA990FXE motherboard still gets you in the game with plenty of PCI Express lanes for Crossfire/SLI,
and more SATA III connectivity than rival Intel's Z77 platform. What's
not to like about all that? Let's dive in, take a close look at the Biostar
TA990FXE board, overclock it and run a few pages worth of benchmarks through it's copper
traces so you know what to expect.
The all black Biostar TA990FXE motherboard is of
course built around AMD's 990FX Northbridge and SB950
southbridge chipsets. That means it supports the latest socket
AM3+ AMD FX-series 'Bulldozer' CPU architecture and the preceding socket
AM3 Phenom II and Athlon II processors - a degree of upgradability Intel has
failed to match in recent years. What's particularly nice about the TA990FXE
board is it's comprehensive feature set and extremely competitive sticker price,
it retails for just $130 bucks!
Naturally overclocking friendly and multi-videocard
compliant, this mainstream level AMD 900FX motherboard is ideal for gamers. Biostar
on savvy users who realize they can spend much less on an total AMD computer
system that offers a bit less raw CPU performance, in turn reinvesting
the savings into high-end videocards. That's what they call "smart
four DDR3 DIMM slots accommodate up to 32GB of dual channel DDR3-2000/1866/1600/1333/1066/800 memory
under 64-bit operating systems like Windows 7. The AMD 990FX chipset is
a versatile solution for running ATI Crossfire and with the proper BIOS
update, this board also supports 2-way nVidia SLI. The TA990FXE board is equipped
with two PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots for graphics cards, the third physical PCI Express x16 slot operates
in x4 mode. A pair of Radeon videocards running in Crossfire will receive x16 lanes of
PCI Express bandwidth each.
INCLUDES: User's Manual, Driver
CD, (4) SATA cable, (2) CrossfireX bridge, I/O
Chipsets: AMD 990FX /
CPU Support: AMD Socket
Memory Type: Dual Channel
Videocard Support: (2) PCI Express 2.0 x16
Estimated Price: $130 USD / £85 GBP / $130
AMD 990FX chipset has plenty of bandwidth to support add-in USB 3.0 controllers
(AMD's 990FX chipset communicates with
the CPU using HyperTransport 3 at 6.4GT/s) Biostar only integrate two SuperSpeed USb
3.0 ports at the rear I/O and two USB 3.0 ports via
header. Four Superspeed USB 3.0 ports isn't bad, but more would be better.
The rear I/O is populated by four USB
2.0 ports, a 1394a Firewire connection, an eSATA jack, Gigabit LAN, optical
S/PDIF optical/coaxial ports and the usual assortment of 7.1 channel audio
Care of the AMD SB950 southbridge are five internal SATA connections (and
the aforementioned eSATA connection) capable of 6Gb/s transfer rates. These can be
configured to RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 modes.
Biostar's take on the AMD 990FX is fairly conservative,
fortunately what it lacks in bonus extras it delivers in cash savings. Expect to
find the Biostar TA990FXE motherboard on retail shelves for less than $130 CDN,
($130 USD, £85 GBP).
360-Degree Motherboard Gallery
PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots support two-way SLI/Crossfire in (x16/x16)
TA990FXE motherboard supports two-way AMD Crossfire and two-way Nvidia SLI provided the board
is installed with BIOS version99FADB24.BST. In both cases, dual
videocard goodness is delivered through a pair of PCI Express x16 slots
operating in x16/x16 mode. The one down
side in this regard is AMDs lack of PCI Express 3.0 compliance with this chipset.