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.