Biostar TPower i55 Review
Packaging, Accessories and the I55 Itself
Run Charlie, run home as fast as you can. Yes indeed the Biostar box most certainly is the Golden Ticket. It's actually not as gaudy as it sounds and in the flesh looks alright. Sure it's a bit shiny, but we don't mind packaging trying a bit harder in the very competitive "standard consumer" marketplace.
Thankfully Biostar haven't seen fit to adorn the box with a myriad of "LOOK AT ME" feature highlights. Rather the box has all the pertinent information whilst still remaining as understated as 17 inches of gold box can.
The accessory package is everything you could expect to find for around this price range. A few SATAs, some Molex to SATA adaptors, IDE cable, Crossfire bridge and a un-marked simple metal IO shield.
The motherboard manual is an area where we'd prefer to see as little money saved as possible. Even after all these years we've never found one that explains what everything does. Sure it's one thing to say your choices for an option are "enabled or disabled" but what it is and what would enabling it do? I hasten to add this isn't a Biostar problem, rather one throughout the industry. However even by normal industry standards the I55 manual barely covers the basics and most of it is dedicated to the software.
The TPower I55 follows the fairly standard Biostar colour scheme of mustard and white. Not a fabulously attractive colour scheme but at least it's identifiable. It would be slightly more bearable if they hadn't picked up DFIs mantle of using stomach-churningly bad PCI slots and Biostar have gone for "that crayon you never used at school unless you had to draw vomit". I'm sure Dulux or Foxconn have a romantic term for it. But it's hideous. Stick to mustard please.
If ever there was a backronym, the 'OMG' is it. If you for one moment believe that the designers thought "it's an Overclocking Matrix Genie, what shall we call it?", rather than going "what can we make mean OMG?" then I've a bridge to sell you. Thank goodness it isn't a Great Overclocking BIOS Super Helpful Intelligent Tweak Engine.
If there is one element of this Biostar that it doesn't lack for, it's cooling prowess. Both banks of the power phases and the P55 chip itself have large multi-finned heatsinks that are a really eye-catching feature. Unquestionably, green PCI slots aside, this doesn't look a bit like a board at this price point. Congratulations indeed Biostar. Let's look at it a little closer.