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Biostar Hi-Fi A88W FM2+ Motherboard Packs Headphone-Amp

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 11 comments

Biostar's new motherboard carries a headphone-amp, and looks like it's budget-friendly.

Biostar has unleashed a new motherboard – the Hi-Fi A88W 3D FM2+. This motherboard is built to support AMD's A-Series APUs and has a number of interesting features.

For starters, the motherboard features two PCIe x16 slots, two PCIe x1 slots, as well as two legacy PCI slots. Aboard users will also find 4 DDR3 DIMM slots, as well as a handful of SATA3 ports. There are also a number of USB 2.0 front headers, as well as a USB 3.0 header. Rear I/O connectivity is handled by a pair of USB 3.0 ports, a quadruplet of USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, VGA, DVI, HDMI, an old-school PS/2 port, as well as the standard set of surround-sound audio jacks.

The key feature, which is also mentioned in the product name, is the on-board 'Hi-Fi' goody. One of the things on-board is a headphone amplifier, which will allow driving of headphones with higher impedances with greater control, as well as higher volume levels.

Biostar gave no word on pricing or availability.

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  • 1 Hide
    edogawa , February 11, 2014 2:20 PM
    While it's nice motherboard manufactures try to make on-board audio better, people will still use sound cards or external DACS instead if they want "Hi-Fi audio." I doubt their audio implementations are very good.These days the lines are blurring between motherboards and they have to start come up with distinguishing features.
  • 1 Hide
    teh_gerbil , February 11, 2014 2:33 PM
    As above, it's nice to see actually useful additions being touted by Motherboard manufacturers. Onboard audio is typically utterly piss poor, but most people don't see a sound card as a necessity but there is a large uprising in people wanting clean, crisp sound. Good on Biostar!
  • 2 Hide
    K2N hater , February 11, 2014 3:02 PM
    OK I really want to like their solution but I just can't get the picture of an audiophile going cheap with FM2+ (instead of AM3+ or Intel) and with such huge ATX size... Perhaps someone willing to save on PC components in order to spend more on the speakers?
  • 0 Hide
    WithoutWeakness , February 11, 2014 3:21 PM
    Quote:
    OK I really want to like their solution but I just can't get the picture of an audiophile going cheap with FM2+ (instead of AM3+ or Intel) and with such huge ATX size... Perhaps someone willing to save on PC components in order to spend more on the speakers?
    I don't think it's really targeted at true audiophiles as much as it's just supposed to be a selling point. If someone plans to buy a $50 sound card when building their PC and this motherboard is roughly the same price as others that they're looking at then they might buy this and save the $50 or put it toward upgrading other components. I don't think any true audiophile looks at this as a replacement for an external DAC and amplifier.
  • -1 Hide
    Nada190 , February 11, 2014 3:27 PM
    I brought a Asus Maximus VI Formula so I wouldn't buy a sound card, guess what I did anyway and it's way better.
  • 0 Hide
    Duelix , February 11, 2014 6:38 PM
    Aw man, this thing looks sexy. Hopefully the heatsink over the vregs will allow for decent overclocking :D 
  • 2 Hide
    rwinches , February 12, 2014 12:24 AM
    Overclockers link to real review:

    http://www.overclockers.com/biostar-hifi-a88w-3d-motherboard-review

    MSRP $84.99

    76 BPS at Amazon UK
  • 2 Hide
    cypeq , February 12, 2014 1:17 AM
    It has more to do with flashy box with Hi Fi on it, than with actual sound.
    Quality of integrated audio is really quite terrible, high quality on board audio is a waste of space and money.
    (Imagine integrated GTX 780 how much sense does that make ?)
    You'd have to pay double, tripple for this feature on motherboard and than again...
    having discrete card means you can freely move it between PC builds (mine is in third right now).

    Headphone amps range from very simple circuitry to quite robust devices. In truth decent headphone amp would double the price of mother board and it's good for nothing without a real sound card.

    What this gives you is more drive for high impedance headphones... in reality if you have those you'd rather plug them to your hifi amp they are intended for. You also most likely sport one of the sound cards out there because you absolutely hated how integrated chip sounds.

    IMHO this product is for no one, just a little hook that may catch a fish on 'HiFi' letters and speaker on the box.
  • 0 Hide
    average joe , February 12, 2014 9:24 AM
    I'm not a fan of Biostar MB they were terrible for years. Must be better these days but 10 years ago at fry's we got 4/10 returned defective. ECS was the same. Foxconn had better quality.
  • 0 Hide
    patrick47018 , February 12, 2014 11:53 AM
    I don't like Biostar, ECS, Foxconn mobos.. But it'd be nice to see this on a more reputable brand.
  • 0 Hide
    Shatarupa1 , March 3, 2014 2:46 AM
    https://www.youtube.com/user/BiostarTaiwanThis is the new introduction from Biostar:)  quite excited at this new development:)