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Biostar TZ68A+ SKT1155

cadaveca

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#1
After 25 years in the market, Biostar recently released their latest product, the T-series TZ68A+, based on the new Intel Z68 Express chipset. Featuring Lucid's Virtu technology, the entry-level TZ68A+ seeks to meet the needs of mainstream enthusiasts with affordable pricing, with everything the Z68 offers ready and waiting.

Show full review
 
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#2
Great review.
I'm not familiarized with Biostar's products, since the only thing I see from them here are some old GeForces, but the quality always seemed a bit dubious.
But your review helped me rethink about that. It's a bit spartan with the connectors, yes, but I see a good layout in the expansion slots and the rest of the features remind me of ASRock. All the needed goods and features are there, not extra glitter. :)
The odd size immediately gave me the idea for a LANRig using those old Pentium 2/3 chassis, which are very crowded by today's standards.
I'm thinking of a board like this plus a 2500K, 8GB of RAM, a HD 6870x2 and a GeForce for PhysX would be a good configuration.
 

cadaveca

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#3
It's a solid board, for sure. There were the software issues..no BIOS updating is kinda crappy, but I did talk to Biostar, adn they are worknig to fix it. Based on what I saw error-wise with the other software, once BIOS updater works, all the rest should, too.

It clocks well, the same, or better, than the other SKT1155 boards(the Gigabyte board doesn't clock as well), too, and with the added Z68 features, and low cost, it becomes hard for me to understand why anyone who is going to use a single VGA would really need much more than what this board offers for the SKT 1155.

Mind you, I do feel the same way about the ASUS M5A97 EVO, which costs about the same, too. Entry-level products are a TOTALLY differnt ballgame these days, for sure.
 
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#4
Good review and good to see that Biostar are still quietly putting out reliable and well-designed boards that are light on the wallet. I'm running a Biostar TPower I45 in my system and it is the best board I have ever owned, bar none.

It's a shame to see however, that Biostar are still reluctant to add a decent number of fan headers (my board also only has 3); I would like to see at least 4, preferably 5. I'm also puzzled as to why they continue to include LPT ports (COM I can understand as some UPSs use these to report their status to the OS).

cadaveca, in the review you mentioned the CPU area was cramped, did you have any clearance issues fitting coolers like the Noctua DH-14?
 

cadaveca

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#5
cadaveca, in the review you mentioned the CPU area was cramped, did you have any clearance issues fitting coolers like the Noctua DH-14?
No, and I did mention that there were not any issues with the backplates, either. But, if this was a board that was going to be insulated for sub-zero, it's not exactly the best layout, as the capacitors and chokes are quite close to the socket.


The VRM cooler has a low profile, so other than issues with some of the taller DIMMs that all boards have, I can't see that there would be any clearance issues with the majority of aftermarket air coolers.
 
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#6
@cadaveca

In the oveclocking section of the review, you mentioned the board overclocked to 4.5, with the usual voltage of 1.264v. The cpu-z shot shows 1.38v. Is the shoot wrong, or does the voltage under load drop to 1.264, and the 1.38v is idle, or does it accualy rise to 1.38v?(my MSI raises the voltage undel load, no matter what LLC setting)
 

cadaveca

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#7
that shot was taken while i was trying to find stability at the normal 4.5 GHz.


However, as I mentioned in the review, the "loadline Calibration" setting was backwards, so with it set to enabled, I had to use that high voltage.

Then, I tried "disabled" for the loadline setting, and the 1.264v, under load, worked right, with 1.272v @ idle, which is what other boards will do with loadline calibration set to "enabled".

I purposely left that screenshot there so this question would come up; Good Job, Heky! ;).
 
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#8
Thanks for the info. I just thought there was another board like my GD65 from MSI that raises the volts about 0.05v under load, no matter if i use vdroop high, low or disabled. It really confuses me, becouse as far as i know raising volts under load is outside of intel specs.

Oh, btw, thanks for another SUPERB review.
 

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#9
I was confused as well...but you know, this is why it takes me 40+ hours to do a review...I try literally every avenue when clocking, to ensure that the results I provide are accurate. If things like voltage are behaving weird, I investigate!
 
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#11
nice review and nice to hear we have new board from biostar so far biostar is a nice but it looks kinda shine too bright
 
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#12

cadaveca

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#13
Um, I haz a confuse?

:wtf:

005a.jpg





004a.jpg
 
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#14
Perhaps it was part of the assembly procedures on a prior revision/batch with printing errors? And the assemblers just kept on applying it after the problem was fixed?
 
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#15
Eheh, yeah, that is confusing. My mobo also has stickers like those, but it's because mine is a Rev. 2.0, so they covered a label on the board that said 7.1 sound (mine only has 5.1) and the model of the board, to add the Rev. 2.0.
 
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#16
:roll: nice Stickers...

Great review but I gotta say on the "board Software" section.. The last part with Lucid...

you say
"The last but " :pimp:

Shouldn't it be
"The Last Bit "

???
 
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cadaveca

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#17
"What you talkin' about, Willis?"


;)
 

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#18
For anyone considering this, I noticed this combo today. http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.676009

That's the TZ68A+RCH. Pretty much the same board but with 8x 8x support when using crossfire, and the combo deal makes it the same price as the non-RCH edition so free upgrade!
Hi all. New here, love the site. I enjoyed the review so much that I decided to join.

I contacted Biostar about the board above with RCH because I was interested in a crossfire setup but not at 16x and 4x like the board reviewed.

Biostar replied back to me that the RCH board is the exact same (16x 4x), except that the RCH board has a media remote. They told me that NewEgg's description is wrong.

Just a heads up for anyone interested in this board as I was.
 
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#19
Settings used to overclock

Nice article but you left out how you got your overclock. I went into O.N.E. and Enabled "Fixed CPU Ratio" to 40. Disabled Enhanced SpeedStep and Turbo Mode. As you suggested I set "CPU VCore Mode" to Fixed Mode and "CPU VCore Fixed" to 1.26V Everything else was left with what "Optimzed Defaults" gave me. When I boot it seems everything reverts back to defaults. I even went in and only changed "Turbo Mode" Core Ratio Limits to 45 for all 4 cores, same thing, reset. I save and exit. What am I doing wrong?

Thanks for any help

I have a 1055T cruising at 4Ghz and that only took 5 minutes on an ASUS board. Have a Conroe E6600 at 3.4Ghz on a Gigabyte board. I thougt I7 2600K was the easy one.
 
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cadaveca

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#20
Disabled Enhanced SpeedStep and Turbo Mode.
I don't disable ANY power saving features, and if a board has any setting disabled by default, I then enable. Usually overlcocknig is done via Turbo mode only.

You'll need to up current and wattage limits as well.
 
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#21
Thanks

Thanks

Update: Looks like my bios is not saving info. Saw a guy on NewEgg got one of these with a bad CMOS battery. I disconnected power and reconnected and noticed my dates had changed. Pulled a battery from another board plus updated to the curent bios. Noticed in the new Bios I can't set the Turbo on Core #1 above 38, if I try and reboot it resets itself. The rest of the cores are fine. I also noticed on Prime 95 testing that the temp is always ALOT lower on Core #1. Example on Prime95 Core temps as follows: #1 54 #2 64 #3 63 and #4 60 as noted in CPUID. Could I have a bad chip?

I set to enable "Set CPU" and input 40 and the Vcore to 1.26, is holding fine in Prime95
 
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cadaveca

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#22
Most users I've talked to seem to agree that 2600K at stock is just as fast as 6-core AMD @ 4GHz. AMD's stuff is last-gen, 2600K is current, so compare is not exactly fair, anyway. SB is not the next-gen high-end performance platform, either.


As far as I remember, I simply set all 4 turbo ratios to 45, and then adjusted voltage accordingly. using TUrbo mode with all pwoer saving features enabled. If your CPU slows back down, and never reaches 45 if set at 45, perhaps a CMOS clear, or maybe reflash BIOS is needed.
 
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#23
Nuts!!

Spend 8 hours on it and no go. Sometimes the turbo core setting will accept say a 42 multiplier and other times it won't accept a say 40 multiplier and on reboot show 40 40 40 35. As far as Fixed CPU Ratio its even worse, will generally revert from say the 40 I set it to and go to 34. I've tried the original BIOS and the other 2 that are available. This is either a bad board or extremelly buggy BIOS. I'll spend another hour on it then it's RMA time to NewEgg and maybe go back to plan A with the ASRock Z68 Extreme 3 Gen 3. What I don't understand is nobody posts exactly how the set their BIOS or show screen shots of the BIOS settings on the web. I got the settings for the 4Ghz 1055T on a 5 minute YouTube video! I have no problem working it but this is ridiculous.:banghead:
Not a newbi at this as my first computer (1986) after the VIC20's and Commadore 64's was a 4Mhz 286 XT Bluechip with a huge 13" Amber monitor.

I can't believe it's easier to get a A3+ 1055T (Asus board) to 4Ghz 24/7 than this 2600K with this board.
 

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#24
Luck of the draw. Sounds like a BIOS issue, but my board doesn't behave like that, for sure. I fired up the board this morning, the same settings you see in those screenshots are still there, and 4.5GHz is still working.
 
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#25
Thanks for all the help! I'll take a restocking hit from NewEgg even though it's a bad board (What's up with that?) Heading down to Fry's to swap out the I7 2600K for another in case that's the problem. Picking up the MSI P67A-GD65 B3 Board ($50 more) as I see in some reviews iit has no problems getting to at least 4.8."http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/265056-29-2600k-2500k-overclocking-guide". Going to PU the MSI P67A-G45 B3 also as it's $109 after rebate and see what it can do. If it's OK and I can live without the extras I'll go with it. No onboard video like the Z68 setups but I'm running a HD6870 anyhow. I think my Sundays filled up now with this! I'm not a gammer, just like to see ow far I can take things. Usually water cool with a Corsair Natilus 500 or my own custom car heater core setup when things warm up. Try the Nautilus 500 if you can find it, great external compact setup!

Note: I used a Hyper 212+ for cooling and my Corsair Vengance heat spreaders juuuust got in the way. Tried zip tying a fan but looked crappy. So I milled a recess where the fan mounts so it is flush and removed the little rubber pads. Now it fits, just barely but clears the heat spreaders. Good cooler to use if it fits, if not the N520 is as good or better and not as tall.

Thanks again!

Got to get down to Fry's......
 

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