This board is not the fastest media board I’ve tested, and it’s not the prettiest. But, for some reason I love it, everything just seems to work, and there is no effort required to use it. There are no niggly little problems that you have to sort, you just plug in, click install, and your PC is ready to work with.
The graphics chip – Xpress 1250 – is obviously an improvement over nVidia’s offering, and while it doesn’t support SM3.0, you have to ask whether it’s necessary. You aren’t going to be able to game with this card, so why not put more power into general 3D rather than shader models? Aero doesn’t use shaders, and that’s what this GPU is designed for. Yes the nVidia offering has a greater feature set, but doesn’t have the power to excel at any of its offerings.
The abit board manages to beat the Biostar at most benchmarks, but for the most part the difference will be unnoticeable to the home user. The only benefit the abit really offers is FireWire, while the Biostar manages better connectivity (DVI, HDMI, VGA, S-video), more GPU power, and considerably faster USB interaction.
Neither board is the clear winner, and they typically come in at the same price. I hoped that the benchmarks would sway my opinion, but they are too close to call. For some reason, after testing these boards for a few months, I find myself liking the Biostar board more, probably due to the on-board power buttons, and the POST LED’s although these will be largely unused by a media PC owner. The decision is yours; both boards offer an excellent platform for your media
|Silent||No SM3.0 support|
|HDMI output with audio||No FireWire|
|POST LED’s and built-in switches|
Thanks go to Biostar for providing us with the motherboard.
With the introduction of HDMI pumping graphics cards, the motherboard market has jumped on the band wagon, with many featuring full HDMI output con audio. The abit AN-M2HD with it’s GeForce 7050PV and nForce 630a chipset is one such example, but today I have AMD/ATI’s reply; the Biostar TA690G AM2. As the name implies, this mATX motherboard uses the AMD 690G with onboard X1250 graphics.Both accept AM2 processors, both have 4 RAM slots and similar connectivity, but which is the choice of the media lover? Lets find out…