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The packaging for the A88W is very well constructed with a smooth matte finish on the outside. The focus on the advertisement here seems to be the audio solution, pushing for the audiophile to select this as their motherboard of choice. If they had missed a spot which said “Hi-Fi” somewhere on the box we certainly can’t find it!
This push for recognition of their audio solution certainly pours the pressure on the board to do well in that regard. Only the testing scenarios will tell if the advertising is well placed.
The contents of the box are fairly straightforward, consisting of four individually-packaged straight SATA cables, the instruction manual, a very plain metallic I/O shield, driver and software disk, instruction manual and a sheet describing some of the particulars of how to make use of the 3D Hi-Fi interface. Those with an observant eye will notice that one of the sections of the I/O shield appears to not have any dividers present – we will get into that a bit later. The Velcro strap that bundles the SATA cables together could also be reused to bundle the PSU cables in the front of the PSU, should you desire, and is actually pretty well made. The instruction manual is decently written and descriptive; however, there are several codes missing for the motherboard debug lights. Not to worry… Biostar supplies a fairly decent solution to the problem should a code not be present in the manual.
The motherboard itself is, in our eyes, very attractive. The heat sinks are black aluminum encased by blue anodized aluminum surrounds containing the Biostar and “Hi-Fi” logos in white. Those looking for a black/blue aesthetic should look no further than this motherboard, as this is probably one of the most tastefully done black and blue color schemes we have seen in a while.
With that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at some of the other sections of the board.