BIOSTAR TA870+ Motherboard Review :: Layout

08-26-2010 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun

The BIOSTAR TA870+ motherboard uses an all black layout that is aesthetically pleasing. It uses an ATX form factor that has dimensions of 30.5cmx 22 cm (WxL). Starting on the upper right hand area of the board we see that BIOSTAR has integrated a 4-pin power connector on the board. The 4-pin power connector is sufficient for the CPU.

The top of the CPU area is where the Power Phase VRMs are. This board as mentioned before has 5 Phase Power and 2 Phase Power VRMs for the memory alone. The MOSFETS are not covered by a heatsink as some are on other boards, but overall the board has a lot of space for aftermarket CPU coolers that might cover them. In any event you can purchase a heatsink solution for the MOSFETs if you wish.

The CPU Cooler is set in the normal orientation for an AMD motherboard. To install an AM3 CPU simply raise the lever orient the CPU in the correct way using the arrow and lower it into the Socket. Note you canít force the CPU in without bending pins but as long as the pins are aligned correctly the CPU should slide into place easily. Lower the lever install the CPU cooler and you are good to go with your new CPU on the board

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Next to the CPU are four LEDs for the Phase switching technology on the board. When power is applied to the board and the system is running the number of active phases is displayed by a red light at that location. The CPU Fan header is below the LEDs. This board has four DIMM slots for up to 16GB of DDR3 memory clocked at up to 2000MHz when overclocked. The AM3 CPU supports up to DDR3 1333MHz memory via its onboard memory controller.

The bottom of the board starts off with the BIOS chip and is followed by a 24-pin ATX Power connector. Two SATA 3 connectors are face up on the board next. Note the SB 850 Southbridge natively supports SATA 3.0, with support for up to 6 Gb/second of memory bandwidth. The Southbridge supports up to six SATA 6 Gb/second ports but this board has five with a sixth port reserved for external SATA on the Rear I/O. An IDE port is between the two sets of SATA ports along with a Power and Reset switch.

Being a board without an integrated graphics chip, the TA870+ has two PCI Express x16 slots for external graphics cards a white one and a red one. The 870 chipset has 22 PCI Express lanes so this is split into an x16 lane and an x4 lane for the motherboard though both PCI Express slots are x16 length. With PCI Express 2.0 warranting over up to 500MB/second per lane of bandwidth between the graphics card and the CPU, this should be enough bandwidth to cover two cards.

The bottom of the board starts off with a color coded and labeled Front Panel I/O. This allows for the end-user to install the case connectors without making an error of what goes where. There is a Firewire header, three USB headers, the CIR header, a System fan header, the COM1 header, a LPT printer header, a SPDIF Out header and the Front Panel Audio header on the left side. The onboard audio is provided by a Realtek ALC892 CODEC which has support for Azalia 1.0 and is a decent onboard solution.

The rear I/O on the board consists of a PS/2 Mouse, a PS/2 Keyboard , an external SATA 3Gb/second connector, a Firewire port, 6 USB 2.0 ports, a RJ-45 port for the onboard LAN, 6 Audio jacks for the onboard audio and a S/PDIF Out port. Note the absence of the USB 3.0 ports that are becoming prevalent in the market today. BIOSTAR has a few boards with USB 3.0 but this is meant to be a mainstream board priced to move at under $90 and the addition of USB 3.0 would require another chip from NEC to facilitate it.