Biostar TP35D2-A7 Motherboard Review

biostartp35d2a7

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.

biostartp35d2a7
biostartp35d2a7
biostartp35d2a7

The Bundle

  • 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

Motherboard Details

Basically Biostar’s Intel P35 chipset motherboard under the T-Force range. Kindly refer to the official product page for more details.

biostartp35d2a7
biostartp35d2a7
biostartp35d2a7

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.

biostartp35d2a7
biostartp35d2a7
biostartp35d2a7

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

PCMark05

E2140E2140 OC
46406690
* Higher the better

3dmark06 (CPU Test)

E2140E2140 OC
13882729
* Higher the better

SPECViewperf10.0

 E2140E2140 OC
3dsmax-04 (up to 4x)8.3013.27
catia-02 (up to 4x)9.4911.26
ensight-03 (up to 2x)8.9014.08
maya-02 (up to 4x)11.6329.28
proe-04 (up to 4x)7.0014.90
sw-01 (up to 4x)14.019.99
tcvis-01 (up to 4x)4.064.24
* Higher the better

Super PI

E2140E2140 OC
36.593s20.359s
* Lower the better

Conclusion

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.

goldfries recommended

goldfries rated this product :

17 Comments

  1. 😀
    thank god i didn buy their 965 board…

  2. Author

    hehe. no reason to buy an older chipset unless you need it specifically for some purpose.

  3. woo…nicely done, but could you run sisoft sandra for its bandwidth test or even lavalys everst for its bandwidth test…am wondering what is the fsb strap on this baby 😀

    and there are some settings you missed, because my 3.0ghz does the same 1m in superpi with slightly faster times then yours

  4. sounds like Brian really gets involved into hardware solutions.
    interesting…

  5. nola, brian got poisoned by the p35 strain of flu going around LOL 😀

  6. Author

    Nawww. it’s the Intel Pentium E2140 flu! 🙂 even the 965 chipset also can do OCing. 😉



  7. Where do I find the official Biostar BIOS that has the option for choosing the FSB:DRAM ratio ? The one with improved overclocking features ?

    I can’t seem to be able to find it on their official website.

    A link would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance 🙂

  8. Has is this board treating you now? Have you updated the BIOS to the latest one yet? I just got mine yesterday and still waiting for my video card to test this board.

    Regards.

  9. Author

    I sold my board quite a while back. It’s a great board, less picky in OCing compared to my ASUS P5K-E. 🙂

  10. Do you remember which BIOS you used to get the 1:1 ratio? I have E2160 and oc to 2.7 right now but ram is still 3:5. I wonder if the latest BIOS had the fix.

  11. Author

    oh the BIOS with the 1:1 ratio was released around September last year.

    Just update your BIOS for the 1:1.

  12. does biostar have a am2 socket??


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