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Biostar A88W Hi-Fi 3D ATX Motherboard Review

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Posted April 3, 2014 by Mike in CPU & Motherboards

Overview

Hardware:
 
Manufacturer:
 
Release Date: Currently limited availability
 
Price at time of Review: $89
 

WHAT WE LIKED:

Mostly good build quality, nice color scheme, excellent built-in audio solution with nice accent lighting, nice software bundle with mostly useful apps, good amount of SATA ports, excellent internal header arrangement, PCI-E 3.0 on one slot
 

WHAT WE DISLIKED:

Lacks SLI or CorssFire compatibility, odd build quality issue with I/O shield/top USB ports, glaring BIOS issues regarding Kaveri overclocking, extremely hard to find, included Toverclocker software is not as good as it is in other offerings, back plate design limits aftermarket cooler installation.
 
BOTTOM LINE:
Once the BIOS bugs are sorted out this will be an excellent enthusiast option for Kaveri users. Until then it is still useful for Richland owners looking for excellent audio and overclocking.
by Mike
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Testing, Overclocking and Results

 

Test System Specifications:

AMD A10 7850K APU

Biostar A88W HiFi 3D FM2+ motherboard

8GB Kingston HyperX Genesis memory @ 2133 MHz (10-12-10-31-1T, 1.65V)

Cooler Master Seidon 120M (performance lapped)

Silverstone Strider Gold S 850W PSU

Seagate Barracuda 1TB HDD

Cougar MX500 Mid Tower

For testing this system we opted for hardware that would more accurately reflect a typical usage scenario for someone purchasing this product, (with the exception being the PSU to ensure we had more than enough power on-hand to eliminate that as a possible source of failure). The memory in question comes stock at 1866 MHz (9-11-9-28-2T, 1.65V). You will note that in our testing results we do not include any overclocked numbers; this will be explained at the end. Also, due to a lack of previous A88X motherboards coming through here we don’t have a whole lot to compare it to, but this should change once more product comes our way.

 

PCMark 8

PCMark 8 is the latest version in our series of popular PC benchmarking tools. It is designed to test the performance of all types of PC, from tablets to desktops. With five separate benchmark tests plus battery life testing, PCMark 8 helps you find the devices that offer the perfect combination of efficiency and performance. PCMark 8 is the complete PC benchmark for home and business. -Futuremark

 

Cinebench R15

CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer’s performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Iron Man 3, Oblivion, Life of Pi or Prometheus and many more. CINEBENCH is the perfect tool to compare CPU and graphics performance across various systems and platforms (Windows and OS X). And best of all: It’s completely free. -Maxon

 

MaxxMEM

MaxxMEM is a memory benchmarking tool that gauges your system’s memory performance in terms of all relevant statistics: Copy, Read, Write and Total Bandwidth.

 

SuperPI

Super PI is a computer program that calculates pi to a specified number of digits after the decimal point—up to a maximum of 32 million. It uses Gauss–Legendre algorithm and is a Windows port of the program used by Yasumasa Kanada in 1995 to compute pi to 232 digits. -Wikipedia entry

*Lower is Beter

 

Power Consumption

As far as these performance results go there isn’t much to report here. For the most part, all of these results appear to be within the acceptable margin of error for most A88X chip set motherboards, (with the exception of any of the scores that pertain to iGPU performance). In CineBench, we noted that our 7850K underperformed significantly in OpenGL performance, well below the standard range of 40 FPS typically seen on these new APU’s on various calibers of motherboards. Perhaps our overclocking results can shed some light on the matter.

 

Overclocking Results

At first glance these results appear to be pretty solid. In the past, this is roughly the maximum overclock that we have achieved with this chip on the lapped Seidon 120M used in this review; however, there were problems that occurred after initial overclock testing. First off, the iGPU clock speeds seen here could only be achieved with the use of AMD Overdrive: for one reason or another, the BOS simply refused to actually apply our iGPU frequency no matter what settings were changed. We also noticed that upon booting into the OS, the computer exhibited strange behavior, including random CPU core loading and dramatically inconsistent performance across both CPU core and iGPU testing.

All things factored together, it’s hard to tell whether or not this indicates a weak limit on the MOSFETs or a faulty BIOS, though given our iGPU issue we are leaning more towards a BIOS issue. Thinking that perhaps the latest BIOS would fix the problem, we updated to said BIOS (At the time of the review this was BIOS revision A88BCC25)… unfortunately the problem still persists. Noting that manufacturers such as Asus have released several BIOS revisions for their FM2+ boards since the launch of the Kaveri APUs for “Stability Improvement,” we are currently leaning towards this product needing some BIOS tweaks before we can come to a solid conclusion on this matter. If this can be ironed out, either with a BIOS update or a different revision of the board, then these overclocking results could prove to be very promising, indeed.

 

Audio

It’s such a shame that the rest of the motherboard suffers from deficiencies in certain areas, because the Puro HiFi audio employed here is probably one of the best integrated audio solutions we’ve heard in a while. For testing we used a set of Logitech Z523 2.1 Speakers; while these aren’t exactly the highest end speakers on the market, they have never sounded better than they did when plugged into the A88W. Bass came through hard and strong, treble and mid-range sounds were crystal clear and as readily discernible as these speakers would allow them to be. The room these were employed in was a living room environment with vaulted ceilings, and everywhere you positioned yourself clean, clear sound filled the room without being so irritating that you had to turn the volume down.

 

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One Comment


  1.  
    Carlo Infante

    Biostar is I guess the most underrated motherboard vendors out there. Could have all the features a famous board has but at a very affordable price.





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