DieHard For High Definition: Biostar TA880G HD Motherboard

Motherboards with integrated graphic cards have previously been labeled with a slightly negative reputation where performance is concerned. This is mainly because such boards were designed to offer the best ‘value’ available for users on a budget. As such they focused more on providing everything in a single board, reducing the need to get a dedicated graphic card, network card or sound card.

However, the advent of AMD’s new 8-series motherboards and better integrated GPUs have resulted in new ‘value’ motherboards that can stand tall with the rest of the performance motherboard class. The BIOSTAR TA880G HD is one of these new 8-series boards featuring a new integrated GPU in the form of the ATI Radeon HD 4250. Find out how it fares below.

The board uses a black PCB with white and red fittings for its main color scheme while the actual board is micro-ATX sized. The layout is understandably busy but each part of the board is nicely spaced. The four DDR3 DIMM slots work just as well with a dual slot graphic card installed in the single PCI-e x16 slot while the six open SATA3 ports are equally unaffected thanks to good spacing.

Biostar TA880G HD MotherboardThis board uses ATI Radeon HD 4250 graphics which is powerful enough for smooth HD video and some light gaming. This also means that it has a built-in HDMI port, VGA port and DVI port so you can get a HTPC system out of the box. The other ports on the board include two PS/2 ports, four USB2 ports one RJ-45 LAN port and the usual six audio jacks. Other features include Hybrid CrossFire which allows you to link the onboard HD 4250 with another ATI Radeon card for an added boost in performance and BIOSTAR’s BIO-unlocking feature which activates inactive cores on a processor for better performance.

However, this might not be necessary as even on default using just the HD 4250 and our quad-core Phenom II, we easily got a PCMark05 score of 8152, passing the performance baseline score of 8000+. The board is fully compatible with a six-core Phenom II but performance is more or less the same using the quad-score Phenom II. The board is quite easy to overclock while the BIO-unlocking feature worked like a charm with our Athlon II X3 processor; unlocking the extra core for a slightly higher performance increase. The board stayed stable throughout testing but you may need better cooling if you’d like to do some overclocking.

The BIOSTAR TA880G HD is a great addition to the ‘value’ class of motherboards as it delivers great performance with a more powerful integrated GPU. It’s perfect for the HTPC crowd looking for a smaller system that is still powerful enough to do gaming with the right components. The extra features of Hybrid CrossFire and BIO-unlocking add even more ‘value’ to the system while the SATA3 ports offer a good amount of future-proofing. The lack of USB3 support is apparent but shouldn’t be an issue. [source]


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