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Biostar TForce P965 Deluxe

Biostar takes aim at the overclockers

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Review First up in a series of Core 2 Duo motherboard reviews from Reg Hardware comes the TForce P965 Deluxe from former mid-table manufacturer Biostar, a company now working hard at getting their enthusiast oriented and overclocking-friendly T-series motherboards noticed by the DIY performance builder.

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Intel's Core 2 Duo takes a whole new architecture, throws in a smattering of impressive sounding tweaks, twists and optimizations then packages it all in a 65nm, dual core, Quad Pumped 1066MHz package. In short it’s fast, but you probably knew that.

Helping the new processor forge ahead in the benchmarks Intel also introduced a new chipset, the 965 Express, designed to coax out every last drop of power. Speaking of power, that’s the primary reason why older LGA-775 motherboards can’t support Core 2 Duo even with BIOS support added, they simply can’t cater to the VRM11 Vcore needs of the new cores but that’s for another today. The 965 Express chipset does however support Pentium D, Pentium 4 and Celeron D

The Biostar TForce P965 Deluxe isn’t very exciting to look at. There are no spiffy heatpipe coolers, nor does it have onboard wireless networking, but that has never been a very reliable barometer for performance or reliability. Instead you get a reasonably well laid out board with yellow, orange and green slot-work on a blue PCB.

Expansion is well catered for with a single x1, x4 and x16 PCI Express slot and three vanilla 32bit PCI slots offering ample legacy support. A full compliment of six Serial ATA connectors are served up all driven by the 965’s ICH8 South Bridge. Intel have tried to force change, by omitting support for the ageing parallel ATA based IDE interface since the introduction of LGA775 and its accompanying ICH6 South Bridge. But savvy board makers realize that moving too soon would alienate users and so many add parallel ATA functionality back in by way of an additional controller. In this case Biostar have added a single IDE channel thanks to the VIA VT6410 controller, which technically supports dual ATA133 channels and RAID 0, 1 and 0+1. The ICH8 also supports RAID 0, 1 and 0+1 but adds RAID 5 over its predecessors.

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The floppy disk drive may be becoming increasingly rare in off-the-peg PCs, but motherboard support is still very much alive and well, for the time being at least.

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