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8/10

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ASRock 890FX Deluxe3

You can never have too much of a good thing. That certainly seems to have been ASRock's philosophy when designing its current flagship AMD motherboard, simply named the 890FX Deluxe3. You see, where even the most expensive motherboards currently on the market only offer two USB 3.0 ports, the 890FX Deluxe3 doubles that to offer, well, four.

So what's the big deal, you might ask? Because motherboards tend to be one of the longest-lasting and least-upgraded components of a PC, future-proofing is arguably more important than for other computer parts. As more and more USB 3.0 peripherals and storage options become available, two ports may soon prove inadequate: for example, if you have a Full HD webcam hooked up using one port, you can now no longer directly copy data from your USB 3.0 memory stick to your USB 3.0 external hard drive. If you're as yet unaware of what all the fuss around USB 3.0 is about in the first place, we'd advise having a read of our USB 3.0 article.

Of course quad-USB 3.0 is not the only draw of the AM3 890FX Deluxe3. Up to Quad CrossFireX, AMD Core Unlocking for up to 140W (six-core) processors, SATA 6Gb/s, 10 (8+2)-phase voltage regulation, a large two-digit LED readout and red-backlit power, reset and clear-CMOS buttons are but some of the features ASRock has incorporated to entice enthusiasts.

This generous collection gives it stronger high-end appeal than a more restrained board like the recently reviewed Asus M4A89GTD Pro/USB3, which utilizes a largely similar 890GX northbridge/SB850 southbridge combination but lacks many of the features. Considering that ASRock's latest uses the more advanced 890FX northbridge (offering a total of 42 PCIe lanes compared to the 890GX's 22), it comes as a very pleasant surprise that the 890FX Deluxe3 only costs around £10 more, as it's widely available for under £130. So far then, this ASRock motherboard would appear to be stuffed with features and priced to move, but let's see how it holds up.

First impressions are a bit of a mixed bag. While its styling is not as aggressive as the MSI P55-GD65 or Asus ROG Maximus III Gene, it's still an attractive board, with a complementary combination of white, blue and black that also serves as logical colour coding (hint: blue is primary, white secondary).

Unfortunately the four plain SATA cables provided in the rather sparse bundle are bright orange, which doesn't exactly go with the board's livery. Other bundled items include two four-pin to SATA power adapters that might come in useful depending on your PSU, and non-rounded EIDE and floppy (why!) cables that are at least blue to match the board.

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