goldfries was greatly impressed by this T-Force board, his high hopes of pushing an Intel Pentium Dual Core E2140 to 3.2Ghz was realized with ease.
The Appearance and Layout
Generally I like the color of the board. Plenty of clearance around the processor, nice solid capacitors – all looks well. 🙂 I like it that they went fanless for bridge cooling. The only thing I didn’t like was their floppy disk drive connector being on the far side of the board, very close to the PCI slot but it doesn’t matter to me since I’m don’t use floppy disks anymore.
- 1 x IDE Cable
- 1 x FDD Cable
- 2 x SATA Cable
- 1 x SATA Power Cable
- 1 x I/O Shield
- 1 x CD Driver
- 1 x User Manual
Basically Biostar’s Intel P35 chipset motherboard under the T-Force range. Kindly refer to the official product page for more details.
The Performance & Overclocking
I installed this board a little over 3 weeks ago and my, I was disappointed with the overclocking feature, especially the FSB:RAM ratio option.
The default BIOS was horrible. The FSB:RAM ratio come as 3:5 by default so by running an 800mhz FSB processor, your RAM automatically goes to DDR2 667 instead of DDR2 400 speed if it was 1:1. Good? Yes, for stock usage but for overclocking? Hah! It’s a joke!!
While the Intel Pentium Dual Core E2140 is known to reach 2.5ghz to 3.0ghz range with ease, the ridiculous ratio of this board limits my overclocking to only 2.2ghz at most – and even that I had pushed my poor DDR2 667 to speed of a DDR2 916. That’s the only good thing I got from this board so far, to discover that my DDR2 667 could perform at a speed that I had never imagined.
Just before I decided to publish a harsh review on this product, BIOSTAR released their latest BIOS. No choice, if they say it improves overclocking features then I have to check it out. Running my Intel Pentium E2140 at 2.15Ghz wasn’t enough for me.
After flashing the latest BIOS – VOILA!!! Finally I could set 1:1 FSB:RAM ratio and the processor went flying!
Here are the setup
- E2140 (1.6Ghz / 333.4Mhz RAM / 200Mhz bus / 800Mhz rated FSB)
- E2140 Overclocked* (3.2Ghz / 400Mhz RAM / 400Mhz bus / 1600Mhz rated FSB)
The following are the results from the tests I’ve conducted
|* Higher the better|
3dmark06 (CPU Test)
|* Higher the better|
|3dsmax-04 (up to 4x)||8.30||13.27|
|catia-02 (up to 4x)||9.49||11.26|
|ensight-03 (up to 2x)||8.90||14.08|
|maya-02 (up to 4x)||11.63||29.28|
|proe-04 (up to 4x)||7.00||14.90|
|sw-01 (up to 4x)||14.01||9.99|
|tcvis-01 (up to 4x)||4.06||4.24|
|* Higher the better|
|* Lower the better|
If I were to go with the original BIOS, I’ll be tempted to give my ratings at half or less. 🙂 Lucky for BIOSTAR they’re released a wonderful new BIOS and I whole-heartedly recommend this board to anyone who intend to use Intel-based setup!
Update : 2nd September 2007 – Just when I thought everything was working well, I just realized something amiss – when 400mhz FSB:RAM setting was chosen, audio ability was totally screwed. Yes, the system still shows the audio device (onboard audio device that is) BUT it just doesn’t work. Games run sound-less, Winamp refuses to play AT ALL. When you click PLAY, it doesn’t even move and time remains 0:00. It’s just plain bad for now until they fix this issue.
Update : 5nd September 2007 – Found a new BIOS for this board from Rebels Haven, apparently it’s not at BIOSTAR’s website yet but heck I’ve used it and w00t! Finally I could use the audio device is working now.
Furthermore, there’s no 533mhz option for the FSB:RAM setting either. 🙁 Man I couldn’t believe how many times I had to change my score for this board. After the new BIOS, I gave it a perfect score for being such a great board but apparently the driver issues happen so often and the thought of me having to FLASH the board again soon – it just doesn’t cut it.
I’ve used boards that are updated via Windows but not for Biostar’s offering, that’s fine but the fact that I have to dismantle and install my disk drive again because of their incompetency in BIOS – it’s annoying. The first updated BIOS they sent to me saying would fix the problem didn’t work, the 3rd BIOS they released allowed better OCing but screws up the audio system. So yeah, 4th BIOS coming soon I guess.
And the EIST is still working despite having disabled it in the BIOS. Weird.
It’s a great board, only to be marred by lousy BIOS. I can’t give it really high marks because of this. 🙁 I’ve had many other boards before, and they worked great without even having to touch the BIOS, let alone flash it 3 times to make it work properly.