If you're building a media-center or home
theatre PC you'll find that the Radeon HD 4290 at the heart of the AMD 890GX
chipset is well suited to meet your needs, with support for HDMI 1.3 output and
hardware acceleration methods for H.264 and Blu-Ray playback.
You can also take advantage of the Biostar TA890GXE
motherboard's high level of integration and low cost if you're building
productivity computers for an office or home business. The TA890GXE draws
very little electricity when paired with a low-wattage processor, so operating
costs can be lower. Even better is that the motherboard itself retails for only
$125 CDN ($125 USD, £80 GBP) and it can
be used with a huge variety of socket AM3 CPU options.
Biostar did have to
cut a few corners in order to get the TA890GXE to a competitive price point.
While a few of the optional extras that got cut won't really be missed (SidePort
memory), there are some omissions that hurt the TA890GXE as an overall package.
Most notable is the lack of USB 3.0 support. While AMD intends USB 3.0 to
distinguish "premium" motherboards from "value" motherboards, buying into a
motherboard without it seems foolhardy with so many USB 3.0 devices on the
Along with a lack
of USB 3.0 ports, there also aren't enough USB 2.0 ports. You get four on the
I/O panel, three USB headers, and no brackets included in the Biostar TA890GXE's
packaging. If you have a USB keyboard and mouse, this leaves you with two USB
2.0 ports left for the rest of your devices before you need to run out and buy a
bracket or a USB hub.
If you can live within its limitations you'll be well
served by the microATX Biostar TA890GXE motherboard. It's a cost-effective
solution that forgoes some performance and tweaking features but delivers on
most of the core features that have made the AMD 890GX chipset a hit.
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