After the extravagance of the ASUS Crosshair IV Formula, the Biostar TA890FXE is a return to reality. For the typical user who has no urge or need to tweak voltages, overclock or in general fiddle with their motherboards in their free time, this Biostar board looks like the vanilla board that they require. Even then, given the enthusiast nature of the 890FX chipset, Biostar has included some touches that hint at its hidden potential.
These are the overclocking utilities in the BIOS and the software version available on the manufacturer's disc. While they will not make this Biostar a favorite among enthusiasts, they, along with BIOS functions that unlock cores on AMD processors and allow the flashing of the BIOS directly, will contribute to raising Biostar's profile among enthusiasts. Already, the ability of Biostar boards using the previous generation of chipsets to unlock AMD processor cores has been quite well-documented and known among enthusiasts, especially as an affordable alternative.
Features-wise, the TA890FXE follows the reference chipset, with five SATA ports and one eSATA. There are no perks beyond a VIA controller that provides FireWire and IDE support. It's pretty boring if you're used to exotic features that you're unlikely to use regularly but then that's not the market BIOSTAR is targeting. Unfortunately, this board is restricted to dual CrossFireX configuration, due to the lack of PCI Express lanes on the remaining two PCIe 2.0 slots. Besides, with the layout of the expansion slots as it is, it would not be practical to have more than two graphics cards, especially the dual-slot variety.
Overall, we found the Biostar TA890FXE to have a pleasant and simple layout, with no jarring mistakes. It does have fewer features than the other competitors here, which helps for the layout but it appears to be a rather competent board. Perhaps due to the cost factor, the chokes on this board are not as expensive as those chosen by the other three vendors, but at least there are solid capacitors throughout.