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Biostar TA870+ - Software, Value & Verdict
Unsurprisingly, Biostar's installation disc isn't quite as sophisticated as some rivals' efforts: for example, there's no single button to install all the apps or drivers, and they're not as visually appealing as we're used to. The two utilities likely to see most use are Toverclocker, Biostar's Windows overclocking utility, and Green Power Utility II, which provides various instant performance/power profiles.
Unfortunately, Toverclocker didn't manage to get the CPU even close to what the Overclock Navigator provided, so - as is often the case - you're better off using the BIOS. The software's testing function didn't help much either, as overclocked settings would successfully pass the test only to crash the PC within seconds once actually applied.
Overall then, we have a motherboard that's pretty much average for its price of around £70 (with this likely to go down as availability increases). Above and beyond many boards in this price range the TA870+ does offer the advantage of SATA 6Gb/s, but as we discovered in our review of the P7P55D-E Premium the benefits of this are minimal at best (at least when using mechanical drives) and with a bit of searching you can even find motherboards offering USB 3.0 (a far more useful addition) for under £75.
The TA870+ is certainly a good-looking board (we can only hope Biostar keeps this new colour scheme up) and its red & black livery will go well with the latest Radeon video cards, but its enthusiast potential is somewhat limited by its lack of proper CrossFire and merely decent overclocking performance. It's also worth keeping in mind the board's slightly smaller-than-standard size, which adds a little flexibility (especially for modded cases), but for that you're probably better off with a micro-ATX board like the Asus M4A785TD-M to begin with.
Biostar's TA870+ is an attractive and decently-performing motherboard that offers SATA 6Gb/s at an affordable price point. However, there are boards available providing various combinations of better overclocking performance, proper CrossFire support, more refined software and even USB 3.0, so think carefully before betting on the TA870+.
Addendum: There was some confusion as to the CrossFire capabilities of this motherboard, and unfortunately it turns out the second slot will only run at 4x maximum. The review has been amended to reflect this.