Biostar has been hitting the budget overclocking market hard for a couple years, often holding records within its price class and occasionally outclassing even the highest-priced competitors. Its latest move towards performance value comes near the bottom of today’s price range, eschewing excess features in its quest for best stability for the money.
USB 3.0, for example, is limited to two rear-panel ports, and a single eSATA port is subtracted from internal connectors. FireWire is a surprising inclusion in light of the design’s narrow focus.
Check out the size of those chokes! Dual eight-pin plugs power an upsized 10-phase VRM to please competitive overclockers.
Competitive overclockers often use SLI or CrossFire to boost benchmark scores, and Biostar addresses this with electronic pathway switches that change the PCIe configuration from single x16 to dual x8 slots when a second card is installed. The two x16-length slots are also spaced three-slots apart to improve cooling to the top card.
A lean-and-mean competition design doesn’t have many extra connectors to misplace, and we’re fairly happy with the way the TP67XE turned out. Our only real complaint is a common one, that the front-panel audio’s “standard” bottom-rear corner position is often very difficult to reach, requiring super-long front-panel cables on most cases.
The TP67XE’s installation kit is similarly lean, though it does include the CrossFire bridge often neglected by its competitors in addition to the obligatory SLI bridge.
I'm just missing benchmarks like SATA/USB speeds etc. Please Tom's get those numbers for us!
1. SLI "support". Do not understand why end-user has to pay for mythical SLI "sertification" (all latest Intel chips support SLI by definition) and a SLI bridge coming with the board (at least 75% of end users would never need one). The bridge should come with NVIDIA cards (same as with AMD ones). Also, in x8/x8 PCIe configuration nearly all NVIDIA cards (exept for low-end ones) will loose at least 12% productivity - with top cards that is about $100 spent for nothing (AMD cards would not see that difference). So, If those cards are coming as SLI-"sertified" they have to be, in the worst case, equipped by NVIDIA NF200 chip (though, I would not recommend to by cards with this PCIe v.1.1 bridge). As even NVIDIA GF110 cards really need less than 1GB/s bandwidth (all other NVIDIA and AMD - less than 0.8GB/s)and secondary cards in SLI/CrossFire use no more than 1/4 of that, a normal PCIe v.2.0 switch (costing less than thrown away with x8/x8 SLI money) will nicely support three "Graphics only" x16 slots, fully-functional x8 slot and will provide bandwidth enough to support one PCIe v.2.0 x4 (or 4 x x1) slot(s)/device(s).
2. Do not understand the author euphoria of mass use of Marvell "SATA 6G" chips. The PCIe x1 chip might not be "SATA 6G" by definision, as it woud newer be able to provide more than 470GB/s (which is far from the standard 600GB/s) - so, I'd recommend to denote tham as 3G+ or 6G-. As it is shown in the upper section, there is enough bandwidth for real 6G solution (PCIe x8 LSISAS 2008 or x4 LSISAS 2004). Yes, will be a bit more expensive, but do not see the reason to have a palliative solutions on $200+ mobos.