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ASRock 890FX Deluxe3 - Overclocking, Software, Value and Verdict
In terms of software the ASRock 890FX Deluxe3 comes with a number of nicely-presented utilities, though there's no option to install everything at once. OC Tuner is ASRock's Windows software overclocking tool. It's visually attractive (if a bit flamboyant) and easy to use, and results are not too bad. Just by pushing up the CPU frequency without altering voltage or other settings we pushed our Phenom II X4 810 from its stock 2,600MHz to 2,930MHz, 130MHz higher than the board's Turbo UCC tool.
ASRock's IES allows you to regulate and monitor voltages. Again it's visually attractive and very comprehensive, giving you dynamic readouts from how many phases the motherboard is using to how long the motherboard has been operating. Just don't try activating it when OC Tuner is running at its maximum, as this resulted in a BSOD. ASRock OC DNA, meanwhile, lets you create a Windows overclocking profile to share with friends, a neat if somewhat superfluous feature.
For BIOS overclocking, we tried the percentage presets. The highest one that would work was 30 per cent, which according to the BIOS would give us 3,380MHz but inexplicably gave us 2,600MHz – however, with the adjusted voltages we were able to push this up to beyond 3GHz using OC Tuner. As usual, the best method was just to adjust settings manually in the BIOS, which gave us a stable 3,120MHz with a 340MHz CPU frequency; any higher resulted in BSODs when the machine was put under load. While this is not as high as the 3.2GHz we got using the Asus M4A89GTD Pro USB3, it's nonetheless a respectable overclock.
So would we recommend you buy this £127 motherboard? Performance is good if not class-leading, looks are attractive if not outstanding, and despite the disappointing bundle, the amount of features on offer is truly impressive – especially when taking into consideration that the 890FX Deluxe3 is priced lower than the competition. For example, the Asus Crosshair IV Formula that we took a look at in the DinoPC 6th Sense is around £150, and while you do get features like SupremeFX X-Fi emulation, we would argue that the 890FX Deluxe3's extra USB 3.0 ports are a far more useful addition. If overclocking isn't your prime consideration and your case is adequately cooled that you can safely disconnect the motherboard fan, we have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this board.
Cheap but competent and laden with features, a few minor quibbles are easy to forgive considering the ASRock 890FX Deluxe3's low price. If you're an enthusiast on a budget this motherboard is a great choice, and if you're after more than two USB 3.0 ports it's the only one – at least for now.
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