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TP43D2-A7 Software, BIOS, And Accessories

Roundup: Six Core 2 Motherboards Under $100
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The TP43D2-A7 doesn’t include any third-party applications, but Biostar has added a few of its own utilities.

TSeries Overclock 3 supports changes in FSB clock speeds plus CPU, DRAM, northbridge, and CPU FSB voltage. We didn’t have any problems setting up voltage levels and clock speeds just as we would in BIOS, though using BIOS to make the changes did give us a slightly better maximum speed.

Biostar also includes a hardware monitor utility, but the temperatures displayed can’t be considered accurate.

The TP43D2-A7 also includes a Windows flash utility and an email tech-support client. A few of our experiences with Windows flash utilities would show that the tech-support client is a smart add-in.

BIOS

The TP43D2-A7 has a relatively good selection of BIOS tuning controls, but the wide range of selectable frequencies appears almost ludicrous in light of the motherboard’s limited voltage selections.

BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)

FSB Frequency

100 to 800 MHz (1 MHz)

Clock Multiplier Adjustment

Yes

DRAM Ratios

Up to DDR2-1066 (By Boot Strap)

PCIe Clock

100 to 150 MHz (1 MHz)

CPU Vcore

+5%, +10%, +15%

CPU FSB Voltage

+0.10 V, +0.20 V, +0.30 V

Northbridge (MCH)

+0.10 V, +0.20 V, +0.30 V

Southbridge (ICH)

Not Adjustable

DRAM Voltage

1.80 - 2.50 V (0.10 V)

CASLatencyRange

tCAS:3-7; tRCD: 3-10; tRP: 3-10; tRAS: 9-24


The most limiting of TP43D2-A7 voltage settings appears to be CPU vCore, although the +15% setting resulted in an increase of almost 20% on our Core 2 Duo E8600. Since most budget systems use air cooling, this particular limitation should affect few builders.

Biostar’s Over-Clocking Navigator menu is simplified through the use of several sub-menus. The main menu shows major frequencies and ratios only.

The DRAM Timing Configuration sub-menu lists the most important timings, but enabling manual configuration disables automatic configuration for all settings. We experimented with various tWR, tRFC, tWTR, tRRD, and tRTP settings but were unable to get perfect stability at reasonable timings. Leaving SPD detection on locked us in at 5-5-5-15 latencies, which was fortunately the timings we’d chosen for running our Ballistix DDR2-800 kits at DDR2-1,066 speed.

PCIe clock control can be found in the Clock Gen Configuration sub-menu.

The TP43D2-A7 Voltage Configuration sub-menu has a single GTL Reference Voltage control, in addition to ordinary adjustments. Most buyers who need per-core GTL Reference settings are probably in a somewhat higher-priced market.

The TP43D2-A7 can store 10 BIOS profiles, allowing easy restoration of previous BIOS configurations.

Accessories

Accessories

Documentation&Software

Motherboard Manual

Motherboard Driver DVD

Hardware

2x SATA Data Cable

1x 80-conductor Ultra ATA cable

1x I/O Panel Shield

1x 4-pin to SATA power adapter


The TP43D2-A7 installation kit is slightly lighter than most other low-cost motherboards, in that it doesn’t contain a floppy cable. While most users won’t install a floppy drive, these are still useful for adding AHCI drivers during installation of Windows XP, which low-budget buyers so often favor.

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Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , December 24, 2008 12:11 PM
    I run the I.T. department for a couple small businesses, and the sub $100 motherboard is almost essential in today's economy. Sure I could use a $120-$150 motherboard, DDR3, 10000 RPM hard drive, and all kinds of other things, but I would end up with a system that is only marginal faster in business applications for 3+ times the price. Take one of the G3x or G4x motherboards, 2GB DDR2, Intel E7x00 CPU and 80GB+ HDD and you have a system that will meet the needs of a good majority of businesses and home users. I am personally a gamer and can see the value in the higher end components; but there are a lot of other market segments out there where this makes financial sense.
Other Comments
  • -5 Hide
    V3NOM , December 24, 2008 9:10 AM
    interesting, although pretty much anyone building a P775 system these days would spend a bit more than $100... and somethings really weird with this commenting thing cos i can't read what i'm typing... it just ... doesnt fill the box? just when i type something it instantly goes to the left instead of filling the box... but anyway, interesting if a bit useless article.
  • 5 Hide
    cangelini , December 24, 2008 9:42 AM
    FWIW, the issue with text disappearing from the commenting box as you're typing is something I've reported and m waiting for a fix still. Thanks for confirming that it's still an issue.
  • -9 Hide
    rjcorrin , December 24, 2008 11:16 AM
    Yes - everyone has money shooting out of their pantless ass to buy more expensive motherboards. I use a gigabyte Ep35 DS3L and am very happy with it. What is a >$100 board going to give me? Is it just that you want to waste money? I'm guessing you are one of those people who carry a balance on your credit card and lease a Lexus - you debt-carrying phag.
  • 5 Hide
    jsc , December 24, 2008 11:38 AM
    "What is a >$100 board going to give me?

    I have a DS3P becuae i need the exrta SATA ports.
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , December 24, 2008 12:11 PM
    I run the I.T. department for a couple small businesses, and the sub $100 motherboard is almost essential in today's economy. Sure I could use a $120-$150 motherboard, DDR3, 10000 RPM hard drive, and all kinds of other things, but I would end up with a system that is only marginal faster in business applications for 3+ times the price. Take one of the G3x or G4x motherboards, 2GB DDR2, Intel E7x00 CPU and 80GB+ HDD and you have a system that will meet the needs of a good majority of businesses and home users. I am personally a gamer and can see the value in the higher end components; but there are a lot of other market segments out there where this makes financial sense.
  • 4 Hide
    gaiden2k7 , December 24, 2008 1:06 PM
    I got a Gigabyte UD3P for $99 during black friday... would that top this list? :) 
  • -8 Hide
    Noya , December 24, 2008 1:27 PM
    I got a Gigabyte UD3P for $84.50 during Black Friday, pwned you ninja gaiden fag.
  • -8 Hide
    malveaux , December 24, 2008 1:28 PM
    Wait, no AMD stuff?

    :( 
  • 6 Hide
    gwolfman , December 24, 2008 1:46 PM
    lol @ rjcorrin's 1st comment.

    In reply: Maybe he already had HDDs laying around of smaller size and thought it best to save money by spending a few more dollars on more SATA ports than hundreds on new 3 x 1TB HDDs. You're reasoning is asinine and self contradicting.
  • 2 Hide
    Tindytim , December 24, 2008 1:47 PM
    rjcorrinDid you happen to notice that the comment box detects your errors and underlines them in red?

    Did you happen to notice you're using Firefox? It, not this comment box, does that.

    rjcorrin"I have a DS3P becuae i need the exrta SATA ports."The DS3L has 4 Sata ports which could easily handle 3 terabytes and a DVD drive. You could have saved money by editing down your porn collection and deleting your stolen .iso's of the entire "Friday the 13th" collection.

    And what about Raid? And all the PC's I've had in this Millennium have had 2 Removable Disk drives.

    Not to mention I have multiple OSes installed, and an extra drive I use for storage (I reformat often). So I have plenty of drives.
  • 1 Hide
    gwolfman , December 24, 2008 2:11 PM
    Ummm, maybe I missed it but I didn't see anywhere that said what video/graphics card was used in these test. Anyone!?! I'm curious because of the power consumption numbers. Thanks.
  • 3 Hide
    cambion , December 24, 2008 2:14 PM
    Attention to detail alert... The MSI Neo3-f has eight SATA ports not, as the article claims, six.
  • -1 Hide
    rjcorrin , December 24, 2008 2:20 PM
    cambionAttention to detail alert... The MSI Neo3-f has eight SATA ports not, as the article claims, six.


    This is the exact number of ports on the DS3P. So, again, what does a >$100 board going to give me?
  • -3 Hide
    tmc , December 24, 2008 2:24 PM
    Though this does give you an what our Taiwan & Chinese friends have in the goodie bin at the local computer store.. you will still want to wait to bu
  • 1 Hide
    tmc , December 24, 2008 2:26 PM
    tmcThough this does give you an what our Taiwan & Chinese friends have in the goodie bin at the local computer store.. you will still want to wait to bu

    Ugh, got cut off..
    Wait to build your system until Q1, Q2 processor price cuts of 2009.. especially if you have your heart set on $ inTEL $ 775 vs amd.
  • -9 Hide
    rjcorrin , December 24, 2008 2:29 PM
    TindytimDid you happen to notice you're using Firefox? It, not this comment box, does that.And what about Raid? And all the PC's I've had in this Millennium have had 2 Removable Disk drives.Not to mention I have multiple OSes installed, and an extra drive I use for storage (I reformat often). So I have plenty of drives.


    /Sarcasm
    Maybe I should load up a few more OSes, Opera, IE (6 & 7) and Chrome to fully analyze the capabilities of this text box. I should probably hook up a raid array (mode 0+1 anyone?) to maximize my system performance and maintain the integrity of my porn collection prior to starting my full analysis of this text box.
    /sarcasm
    Do you get any real work done on that computer of yours? Seems like you're spending all your time loading operating systems, plugging in drives, reformatting, and flipping between your extensive collection of linux derivatives. Get a life dude!! You are a hacker-poser!

    And...
    Merry Christmas to EVERYONE!! (even the Jews)
  • 6 Hide
    orangedrink , December 24, 2008 2:29 PM
    Merry Christmas
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