Taiwanese motherboard maker Biostar has been in the IT industry for over 20 years now and the company has focused its efforts on producing motherboards with bargain prices. Recently, Biostar has moved into building motherboards for enthusiasts with its T-series boards focused on overclocking and gaming.
The company has used its knowledge of production to successfully move into producing video cards and small form factor barebones products too. The T-series has five AMD products and two Intel products that are all based on NVIDIA's nForce4-series chipsets, The AMD product stack features two GeForce 6100 / nForce 410 boards, an nForce4, nForce4 Ultra and an nForce4 SLI board. The Intel stack has an nForce4 SLI Intel Edition board, and an nForce4 Ultra Intel Edition - the TForce4 U 775. Does this board live up to expectations by catering for the gaming enthusiast looking to get the most out of their system? Read on to find out...
- Biostar Overclock Navigator Engine, CMOS Reloading Program, Memory Integration Testing & Integrated Flash Program;
- Supports all LGA775 processors, including Intel Pentium 4, Celeron D, Pentium D, Pentium Extreme Edition models;
- Four DDR2 memory slots supporting up to 4GB of DDR2-667;
- NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra Intel Edition; NVIDIA nForce4 SPP Ultra, NVIDIA nForce 430 MCP;
- One full-bandwidth PCI-Express x16 slot, two PCI-Express x1 slots and four PCI expansion slots;
- 7.1 channel Realtek ALC850 AC'97 audio with optical S/PDIF-Out;
- 10/100 Realtek 8201CL PCI-based Ethernet PHY;
- NVIDIA SATA II RAID, supporting 0, 1, 0+1, 5 and JBOD;
- Support for eight USB2.0 ports (four on back I/O panel and two via on-board pins/expansion brackets);
- Two ATA133 connectors;
- One floppy drive connector;
- One black SATA cable;
- One black ATA133 cable;
- One black single ended floppy cable;
- One 4-pin molex to SATA power cable;
- Rear I/O bracket;
- Drivers, utilities and manual on CD.
It is clear that this board was designed with budget in mind as soon as you open the box, as there is very little included in the bundle. Many users don't want the additional fluff, but there is at least one important thing missing from this bundle. There is only one SATA cable, meaning that you'll have to go out and buy more or find them in an old motherboard bundle if you're looking to use more than one SATA device in your system.
There are no USB expansion brackets either, but as many cases have front USB, you'll still be able to use the on-board USB pin headers. The bundle is understandable considering the price, but the one part of the bundle that displeases us is the lack of a hard-copy user manual. The soft copy of the manual lists the following items in the package checklist:
- FDD Cable x 1;
- HDD Cable x 1;
- Power Cable x 1;
- SPDIF Cable x 1 (optional);
- User's Manual x 1;
- Overclock Guide x 1;
- Serial ATA Cable x 1;
- Fully Setup Driver CD x 1;
- Rear I/O Panel for ATX Case x 1;
- USB 2.0 Cable x 1(optional);
- Serial ATA Power Switch Cable x 4 (optional);
It appears that some of the items listed on the check list are not in our box - none of the optional choices are included, and there isn't a user manual or overclock guide. At least, there are no hard copies of either included - they are on the CD, however. The problem with soft-copy manuals is that there could conceivably be no way for the end user to read the manual if they encounter problems on installation of the motherboard. Not every end user has more than one PC in their house, so it seems a little short sighted of Biostar to not include a hard copy.