The 890FX Deluxe3’s rear I/O panel is impressive. Up to 7.1 audio is output from the board’s VIA VT2020 audio codec through six analogue and coaxial plus optical digital audio connectors. Gigabit Ethernet is an inevitable presence, but it’s when it comes to data and peripheral connectivity that ASRock’s high-end AMD motherboard really shines. We’ve already mentioned the USB 3.0 ports, but you also get PS2, FireWire, eSATA and four standard USB 2.0 ports, so you’re left wanting for little to our minds.
Further praise must also go to the dedicated ClearCMOS button found on the I/O panel, which is always a nice feature for overclockers. To hook up extra connections from your case or expansion brackets, the 890FX Deluxe3 provides a FireWire and two USB 2.0 headers.
ASRock’s BIOS is straightforward, with everything logically labelled. In fact we would go so far as to say that the 890FX Deluxe3 features quite simply the most intuitive BIOS we’ve ever used, and that’s saying something.
One nice extra is that the Exit screen also lets you load original BIOS or power saving presets, with the latter definitely being an unusual addition. Don’t worry though, if you care more about performance than your electricity bill, ASRock has you covered with three user-definable profiles logically found under the OC Tweaker menu. It offers a selection of automated CPU overclocking presets (from five to 50 per cent in five per cent increments) as well as the usual manual settings.
We also like the 890FX Deluxe3’s post screen options, which not only give access to the BIOS by pressing either Del or F2, but also let you call up a boot menu, flash your firmware or activate/deactivate Turbo UCC by pressing X or D respectively.
ASRock’s Turbo UCC is unique in that it combines automatic overclocking (including CPU and memory voltage adjustments), automatic core unlocking and power saving all into one single press of a button. Of course competitors also offer all these features, but in separate packages – which can lead to problems when they are unaware of each other, like we found to be the case with the Asus M4A89GTD Pro USB3. For the kind of user automatic overclocking is aimed at in the first place, it’s really nice to have everything taken care of at the press of a single button.
Moreover, Turbo UCC works quite well. Of course it can’t perform miracles, but it nevertheless manages a surprisingly successful balance between the seeming incompatibility of overclocking and power-saving. Idle power was reduced from 95W to 87W with it enabled, and even under load, with our Phenom II X4 810 overclocked to a reasonable 2,800MHz from its stock 2,600MHz, power draw only went up by 3W (from 150W to 153W). We couldn’t test Core Unlocking as none of our AMD CPUs seem to have a working deactivated core, but you might well have better luck.