Biostar TPower X58 review

£220
Price when reviewed

Like the Gigabyte, Biostar’s X58 board is for tweakers. The BIOS gives plenty of tuning options, and mounted on the board you’ll find power controls and a two-digit display showing POST results and CPU temperature.

Biostar TPower X58 review

It’s reminiscent of the Gigabyte in other ways too: it has a huge 24GB RAM capacity and offers dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, although here there’s no hardware support for teaming them to provide a 2Gb connection.

Yet little things mark it out as a slightly lesser board. You get six SATA channels instead of the usual eight, for example, and only a single PS/2 port. The board offers connectors for just three fans, versus the Gigabyte’s five. There’s no button to clear the CMOS, and while you can turn up the CPU voltage you can’t set it lower than the CPU default, frustrating “cool and quiet” zealots.

It’s also worth noting that, although the Gigabyte isn’t a frugal board in terms of power consumption, the Biostar is worse with this month’s highest idle figure – 120W.

If all these negative comparisons make the TPower X58 sound like a write-off, be assured it’s still a well-specified board. As with the Asus P6T, in a typical desktop system its limitations are unlikely to hold you back. We’re particularly inclined to forgive the absence of a dedicated PCI Express x4 slot, since realistically almost no-one will fill all three x16 slots.

But it’s hard to swallow even such minor limitations when the TPower X58 costs effectively the same as the GA-EX58-UD5. If prices fall it could become a good buy, but for now, if you’ve got £191 to spend on a motherboard, it isn’t the obvious choice.

Details

Motherboard form factorATX
Motherboard integrated graphicsno

Compatability

Processor/platform brand (manufacturer)Intel
Processor socketLGA 1366
Motherboard form factorATX
Memory typeDDR3
Multi-GPU supportyes

Controllers

Motherboard chipsetIntel X58
South bridgeIntel ICH10R
Number of Ethernet adapters2
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
Audio chipsetRealtek ALC888S

Onboard Connectors

CPU power connector type8-pin
Main power connectorATX 24-pin
Memory sockets total6
Internal SATA connectors6
Internal PATA connectors1
Internal floppy connectors1
Conventional PCI slots total2
PCI-E x16 slots total3
PCI-E x8 slots total0
PCI-E x4 slots total0
PCI-E x1 slots total1

Rear ports

PS/2 connectors1
USB ports (downstream)8
FireWire ports1
eSATA ports2
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports1
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports1
3.5mm audio jacks6
Parallel ports0

Diagnostics and tweaking

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

Accessories

SATA cables supplied6
Molex to SATA adaters supplied6
IDE cables supplied1
Floppy cables supplied0

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