The new TA970 Plus motherboard from Biostar is targeted at budget enthusiasts. The board offers a number of features such as ACC (Advanced Clock Calibration) to help achieve better results from overclocking.
The TA970 Plus is predominantly black with yellow highlights. The heatsink over the MOFSETs is made to look like a piano keyboard to go with the audio and Hi-Fi theme. Although the audio chipset used on the board is a cheaper ALC892 that has become a baseline for quality motherboard audio in recent years, Biostar used a number of Hi-Fi capacitors and a segmented section of the motherboard to improve the SNR.
There are two USB 3.0 and six USB 2.0 ports on the back I/O panel, with an additional USB 3.0 header and two USB 2.0 headers on the board. Further, the I/O panel has a 1 Gbps LAN connection, two legacy PS/2 connections and basic audio connections.
For storage, the board has five SATA 3 connectors and an mSATA connector. There are two PCI-E x16 2.0, two PCI-E x1 2.0, and two PCI slots available for expansion cards, and the TA970 Plus supports two-way Crossfire. Accessories are the typical included I/O shield, driver disk, manual and two SATA cables.
The board has an 8-phase power design that directly affects what CPUs are supported on this board. Often, users will buy motherboards that only feature a 4-phase power design, targeted at AMD's four and six core units, then buy an octo-core processor and not understand why they aren't getting optimal performance. The reason the performance suffers is that the system's power design is being overworked and begins overheating, which leads to throttling.
With an 8-phase power design, this board should manage processors up to 140 W TDP, giving some overclocking headroom for 95 W TDP and 125 W TDP CPUs. Users should not attempt to run one of the AMD 9000 series processors on this board, however, as the power demands are more than this board can handle.
Pricing and availability are unknown at this time, but it will likely land around the $100 mark or lower to compete with other AMD 970 chipset boards.
Update, 3/9/15, 6:35pm PST: Biostar got back to us with pricing. The TA970 Plus will have an MSRP of "around" $79.
Stay on the Cutting Edge
Join the experts who read Tom's Hardware for the inside track on enthusiast PC tech news — and have for over 25 years. We'll send breaking news and in-depth reviews of CPUs, GPUs, AI, maker hardware and more straight to your inbox.
I've always seen Biostar as a company with very shoddy QC. Is that just me? Same goes for ECS.Reply
I've always seen Biostar as a company with very shoddy QC. Is that just me? Same goes for ECS.
built a pc with biostar as the motherboard a number of years back, i think about 2 or 3 years into the mb, the capacitors died... i have had 3 computers personally and 6 motherboards have been in this house, the biostar was the only one to die before the 7 year mark of 24/7 use so far.
Not a whole lot of reviews on this yet, wondering if it's a true 8 phase power design or if it's 4 phase with doublers. Seen a lot of that from mobo manufacturers, listing their phases a lot higher in the specs thanks to using doublers. (For instance my board only has 6 true digital pwr phases but the advertised specs say it's a 12 phase).Reply
Is it just me or does it seem like amd boards are so low budget they constantly have trouble supplying power? I'm not being a fanboy or anything, just doesn't seem to be an issue with intel mobos. I realize amd cpu's have higher power draw, but not ridiculously high power requirements. Why is it such a challenge to provide them with ample power? They advertise it like it's a 'feature' to provide the necessary power for something so basic as allowing the cpu to run. Why not spend the extra $5 and make them reliable? It's not as if these boards are universal, they're amd design boards - make them so they actually work with the parts and platform they're made for.
The problem that AMD is facing right now is that they're selling themselves as 'Bang for the Buck'. As a result, motherboard manufacturers try to go as cheap as possible; usually skimping out on parts like capacitors. They could make a high end (meaning pricey) board, but at that point most people will go to Intel if the overall cost is near the same.Reply
True, that makes sense. I just find it disturbing that 'budget' means they've gone so low as to barely meet stock specs. It would make sense for a more budget board not to be designed to handle overclocking of a particular platform, intel has similar offerings in h97, h81 etc which lack hefty vrm's and other features useful for pushing the envelope. I'd been out of the loop for a little while regarding amd's offerings and the last time I upgraded it involved new motherboard, cpu, ram etc. I even debated going with the fx 8xxx series for graphic content creation on a workstation build but am breathing a sigh of relief I didn't. It would have been severely frustrating being limited to just a small handful of boards to even be able to run the hardware it was intended for. Even more disappointing since the very same companies making amd boards are making plenty capable intel boards.Reply
Not referring to platform differences, but since quality is available on one, similar quality should be available on the amd's boards as well. It's completely understandable that budget boards will lack some features on either platform compared to their more premium counterparts. I just think it's disappointing basic requirements like proper power delivery are considered 'optional'. Additional pcie slots, usb connectivity, m.2 and sata express are options, power delivery is pretty much crucial.