Biostar has been a major contender in the budget motherboard category for years and their TP67XE aims to keep that tradition alive. Offering many cutting edge features at a low to mid-range price, this board appears to be a option for overclockers looking to build a new Sandy Bridge rig while not going fully broke in the process. Biostar was nice enough to send one over for us to get an in depth look.
The TP67XE has an EFI BIOS, which is new and common to this generation of motherboards. There are quite a few revisions floating around, but the official ones on Biostar’s website all have the look and feel of the old BIOS we are all used to. Some of them, however, are more like other EFI BIOSs in that they have a more modern GUI that even allow you to use your mouse to navigate and make selections, like the 126 Beta BIOS. The 126 Beta BIOS also allows for storing profiles, while other revisions like the current 414 Beta do not. It’s also notable that the 414 Beta was released to ensure compatibility for PCI-e SSD drives like the Revodrive X2. This release is in part due to my review of the Revodrive, when I informed Biostar that the drive would not work in their board. They then worked quickly with OCZ to fix the issue, so kudos to Biostar and OCZ for their great support.
Specifications and Features
The TP67XE is Biostar’s top of the line P67 motherboard and includes all the features you’d expect to find in a modern computer.
Another feature that Biostar is rolling out with it’s current line of motherboards is the BIO-Remote2 application which allows you to control the media on your computer using your Android or iOS device. You can download the app for free from the Android Market or iTunes. I’m not a huge fan of the GUI but it did work and wasn’t too difficult to get around. However, I do believe there are other, better options out there so pick the one that is right for you. Also on the software side is the included TOverclocker Utility which is more or less exactly the same as it has been for all of their recent motherboards. It is, of course, limited to P67 specific settings and does include screens to view all of your hardware information and temperatures. For a more in depth view of the software, check out my review of the TA890FXE.
Possibly the best features that overclockers will love are the included on board BIOS debug LCD, power switch, and reset switch. You can see where the “value engineering” takes place: fewer SATA ports and fewer PCI-E slots just to name a few. Still, the board has a lot to offer with USB3, SATA3, RAID, HD Audio, SLI and Crossfire support, solid capacitors, and 10-phase power design. Another area where value engineering took over is with the heatsinks on the VRM and north bridge. They do not include heatpipes like you will find on other more expensive boards. However, this isn’t instantly a drawback unless you plan on pushing extremely high voltages to the processor which are typically only seen while running extreme cooling like liquid nitrogen. For the masses that are simply overclocking on air cooling, these heatsinks should be more than adequate for the voltage loads.
Overclocking and Benchmarks
Unfortunately, the 2600k I have isn’t the strongest of overclockers and could not go above 5.3 GHz no matter what I tried. I even ran it with dry ice but no amount of voltage or tweaking would push it further. However, the TP67XE took everything I threw at it. The only issue I ran into while overclocking is that the voltage droop on the core was quite severe under load even with LLC enabled. I’d have to set the Vcore to 1.56 V to keep the chip stable for benching at 4.9 GHz. This would result in a Vcore around 1.45 V when under load. When pushing the FSB, I was able to reach a maximum of 105.1 MHz which seems to be about the average for this chipset if you look around the ‘net a little.
For an overclocker on a budget, the Biostar TP67XE a decent choice. It overclocked relatively well and allowed me to run benchmarks at 4.9GHz without any problems. It comes with all the features of a modern motherboard like SPDIF out, USB3, SATA3, and two PCI-E x16 slots. The downside is that there are only three SATA2 and 2 SATA3 ports so this board won’t work for anyone with a wealth of hard drives. The lack of a 3rd or even 4th full size PCI-E port also limits what you can plug into this board; dual GPUs and a PCI-E based SSD are out of the question along with tri- or quad- GPUs for gaming.
Even though the TP67Xe is Biostar’s top of the line motherboard, it is still meant to be a “bang for the buck” option for the budget conscious consumer and is retailing at Newegg for $140 right now. That price places it firmly in the low to mid-range and fits the features well. Taking this all into consideration, I wouldn’t have a problem suggesting this to a friend looking to save a few bucks and still have great overclocking ability, so I’m marking the TP67Xe Overclockers Approved.