Biostar, the well known Taiwanese manufacturer, ships affordable solutions for several categories of users, from entry level up to enthusiasts. The announcement from AMD of an IGP chipset, the AMD690G, has made many users happy, since for the first time, an HDMI enabled motherboard will be available on the market for the AM2 platform. We evaluate Biostar's new TA690GAM2 with our usual array of tests and we check out the High Definition playback for users who want to use this board as a Home Theatre system.
- Biostart T-Force TA690GAM2
The Biostar AMD690G is based on AMD's 690G chipset, which supports AMD Athlon 64 X2/64/FX/Sempron Processors. It features 800/533MHz(FSB), dual-channel un-buffered DDR2 800/667/533 x 4DIMMs with a maximum of 4GB.
- Main features
The Biostar TA690G AM2 motherboard is built on AMD's 690G Northbridge and SB600 Southbridge chipsets, and it supports all Socket AM2 processors from the AMD Sempron to the Athlon64/X2 and FX processors. The platform can be used for 32-bit or 64-bit computing as well. Four DDR2 slots accommodate up to 4GB of DDR2-400/533/667/800 memory.
In terms of data storage, four 3.0Gb/s Serial ATA II channels provide lots of room for additional drives, and RAID 0,1,10 is possible too. There is one one parallel IDE port, so you're best off connecting a DVD/ROM there. Gigabit Ethernet and 7.1 channel High Definition audio come standard, though the COM and parallel printer ports are both only available from headers.
With its ATI Radeon X1250 Graphics on board, the Biostar TA690G AM2 provides a good solid platform for office applications and the like, without the need to install a stand alone video card. If gaming is your thing, you'll want to install a nice Geforce 8600GTS PCI Express 16 video card or something comparable. The onboard graphics card shares up to 512 MB of system memory.
In terms of expansion the Biostar TA690G AM2 provides ten USB 2.0 ports for peripherals (four are on the rear I/O, the rest via internal headers). There is a PCI Express x16 slot for stand alone video cards (a good idea if you plan on gaming), a PCI Express x1 slot for high bandwidth devices and two PCI slots for legacy peripherals
There are a couple of nice mods, like a set of hard Power and Reset buttons on the PCB itself.
Also, fully passive thermal solution for each chipset keeps the system quiet and is also eye-catching. The larger, taller heatsink is attached to the NB.
Solid electrolytic capacitors, using conductive polymer materials will extend the life-span of the board.
Low-distortion audio design is based on Biostar's own concept, with one independent high-efficiency capacitor for each channel. Any unwanted noise will be shut out and SNR ratio will be over 95dB – good enough for Vista premium.
- Full specifications
||Socket AM2, Micro ATX
Supports AMD Athlon 64 X2/64/FX/Sempron Processors
Support AMD HyperTransport up to 2G
Supports AMD Cool'nQuiet Technology
OS Support:Win2000 / WinXP / WinXP 64 / Vista / Vista 64
||AMD R690G + SB600
|| Maximum 4GB
4 x DDR2 SDRAM DIMMs
Dual Channel DDR2 400/533/667/800 MHz
2 x PCI slots
1 x PCI-Express x 16
1 x PCI-Express x 1
|| 1 x PS/2 Mouse, 1x PS/2 Keyboard Port
1 x VGA Port
1 x TV-OUT Port
1xDVI-D port 9(support digital signal output only)
1 x HDMI Port
10 x USB 2.0 (4 x Rear USB 2.0 , 6 x Front USB 2.0 )
6 x Audio Ports
1 x RJ-45 LAN Jack
1 x Floppy Connector
1 x IDE Connector
4 x SATA2 Connectors
1 x S/PDIF Out Connector
1 x System Fan Connector
1 x CPU Fan Connector
1 x CD-in Header
1 x Printer Port Header
1 x Front Audio Header
Realtek ALC888 8+2-Channel HD CODEC
||ATI Radeon X1250 Graphics On Board Graphic Max. Memory Share 512 MB
||Realtek 8111B(PCI-E) Integrated 10/100/1000 Transceiver.
|SATA / RAID
|HARDWARE MONITOR FUNCTION
CPU Fan Speed
1 x User Manual
1 x HDD Cable
1 x FDD Cable
1 x SATA Cable
1 x Real I/O Panel for Micro ATX Case
1 x Fully Setup Driver
Micro ATX Form Factor: 24.3cm (W) x 24.4cm (L)