Biostar TP45 HP review

£90
Price when reviewed

Taiwan’s Biostar is perhaps a less well-known name than its rivals this month. That’s because the company doesn’t make mainstream boards: as the TP45 HP clearly demonstrates, its priorities lay elsewhere.

Biostar TP45 HP review

For a start, it’s the only Socket 775 board to offer CrossFireX. Since the P45 chipset shares 16 PCI Express 2 lanes between the two PCI Express x16 slots, you won’t get the full bandwidth from both cards, but it still reaches out to those who demand top performance.

It’s also the only board in its class to come with onboard controls, plus LEDs to help troubleshoot hardware problems by alerting you to errors in the memory controller, video system or chipset.

Not surprisingly, the BIOS has plenty of tweaking options too, although oddly you can turn voltages up but not down – evidently, Biostar customers aren’t interested in underclocking their PCs to make them run more quietly.

Beyond that, the expected features are all present and correct. Four DIMM sockets will take up to 16GB of DDR2, at speeds up to 1,200MHz. You get six SATA ports and one IDE controller, although there’s no RAID. And the six USB ports on the backplate are ample, if not quite as liberal as the eight offered by Asus and Gigabyte. Our only gripe is that, once again, eSATA is nowhere to be seen.

The TP45 HP’s idle power draw of 87W is an average figure, which neither recommends nor damns the board. Ultimately, the question is what you want from a motherboard: the Biostar will surely appeal to techies, but others may prefer a more mainstream option such as our recommended Gigabyte.

Details

Motherboard form factor ATX
Motherboard integrated graphics no

Compatability

Processor/platform brand (manufacturer) Intel
Processor socket LGA 775
Motherboard form factor ATX
Memory type DDR2
Multi-GPU support yes

Controllers

Motherboard chipset Intel P45
South bridge Intel ICH10
Number of Ethernet adapters 1
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
Graphics chipset N/A
Audio chipset Realtek ALC1200

Onboard Connectors

CPU power connector type 8-pin
Main power connector ATX 24-pin
Memory sockets total 4
Internal SATA connectors 6
Internal PATA connectors 1
Internal floppy connectors 1
Conventional PCI slots total 2
PCI-E x16 slots total 2
PCI-E x8 slots total 0
PCI-E x4 slots total 0
PCI-E x1 slots total 2

Rear ports

PS/2 connectors 2
USB ports (downstream) 6
FireWire ports 0
eSATA ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 6
Parallel ports 0
9-pin serial ports 0
Extra port backplane bracket ports 0

Diagnostics and tweaking

Motherboard onboard power switch? yes
Motherboard onboard reset switch? yes
Software overclocking? yes

Accessories

SATA cables supplied 4
Molex to SATA adaters supplied 0
IDE cables supplied 1
Floppy cables supplied 0

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