CeBIT Hannover 2007 (Part 7)

Biostar's Booth

Biostar's Booth

 Biostar has been doing well with their motherboard business and have bettered their reach, brand and revenue with the release of the high-end T-Force series of motherboards. We take a look at what new goodies they have lined for consumers from now till the next quarter.

 Just starting to enter the retail channel is this Biostar TA690G AM2 motherboard based on the AMD 690G chipset for AM2 processors. A complete complement of four DDR2 memory slots (max. 4GB memory) supporting up to DDR2-800 speeds, integrated Radeon X1250 graphics core with option to better your graphics subsystem later with the PCIe x16 slot, dual PCI and one PCIe x1 slots for other peripheral expansion needs, HD audio output with 8 + 2-channel audio support, 10 USB 2.0 ports, quad SATA 3Gbps ports (with RAID and Gigabit LAN. Very importantly, it also has DVI and HMDI outputs at its rear I/O panel with both supporting HDCP. Exhaustive amount of features for a micro-ATX, but hey, this could well be what you're looking for and it's not going to cost you an arm.

 Here's an NVIDIA based competitor to the prior board. This is using the single-chip GeForce 7050 + nForce 630a chipset. The board layout might not be as ideal and it lacks DVI output, but it oddly supports up to 8GB of system memory. Till we test-run a GeForce 70xx based IGP chipset, it would be difficult to say which side to lean to, but that should be known real soon.

 Here's Biostar's Intel P35 chipset based motherboard. If you notice the expansion slot layout, it looks like Biostar was forced into this layout due to their memory slot positioning. Given that premise, the expansion slot configuration does make sense. There's room to install/remove memory without hindering the graphics card and Biostar doesn't see the need to offer a secondary graphics slot (and there isn't room on the board to fit one). Two full PCI slots are available at all times (no slot cannibalization) and everything else about the board seems well positioned too. Besides some crazy specs like dual-channel DDR3 memory (800/1066), dual Gigabit LAN and 12 USB 2.0 ports and dual e-SATA 3Gps ports, one other feature of the board is that Biostar removed the chipset's overspeed protection, so overclockers might want to make a mental note of this board to keep in view.

 Here's a more affordable P35 platform using an ICH9 Southbridge (the TP35D2-A7), dual-channel DDR2 memory, a good expansion slot configuration (one PCIe x16, one PCIe x4, one PCIe x1 and 3 PCI slots), 8 + 2-channel HD audio, a Gigabit LAN port and quad SATA 3Gbps ports (no RAID). Suprisingly, it too has no chipset overspeed protection.

 Biostar is tapping into the appliance-based market as well and they got some mini-ITX boards for this purpose. Here's a CN700-I7 board using VIA C7 1GHz CPU with a VIA CN700 + VT8237R Plus chipset combo. On this tiny board, Biostar has also integrated a VIA VT1625M HDTV encoder, a VIA VT1618 AC97 sound CODEC and dual Fast Ethernet LAN connections.

 Here's a digital media adaptor (DA100) that Biostar will be retailing and selling this design to others to take up and bundle in their suite of offerings. All of it is designed and made by Biostar and this is how the company plans to capitalize on its ITX based board designs.

 This is the rear connectivity options of the Biostar DA100 digital media adaptor. HDMI, S-Video, Component and Composite video connections are available as well as S/PDIF audio and analog RCA stereo audio jacks. RF-in/out, USB and Ethernet round up the rest of the connections.