Biostar TPower i55 Review
Biostar TPower I55
Intel Core i7 870
Thermalright MX12 with Arctic Cooling MX3 paste
ASUS HD5850 TOP
2x2GB Kingston DDR3
Cougar CM1000 PSU
Windows 7 x64
For comparison we'll be running the Biostar up against the current OC3D Best in Class, the MSI P55a Fuzion, and our most recently reviewed value option P55 motherboard the also MSI GD85. All will be tested at stock and the Biostar will also have results for the overclock.
Within the package of Utilities included with the TPower I55 is the Biostar Toverclocker utility. Sounds like a Yorkshireman. "What's that?". "That's t'overclocker".
Visually it is very similar to the xPU-Z series of freeware applications.
This is the real meat of the package, the place where you can overclock from your desktop. As we all know getting through POST and to the desktop is the hardest part of any big overclock and so to be able to modify it once you're there is a boon.
Should you wish to use the presets there are two additional ones available in Toverclocker that aren't in the BIOS, namely V3 and V15. Considering the V6 increases the BCLK by 2MHz the V3 might as well be a button labelled "nothing". The Auto professes to go through an overclock and reboot cycle until optimal settings are achieved.
It's all very good in theory but in practise it just doesn't work very well. Even mild overclocks were met with a black screen reset. The Auto overclock took forever to get an overclock barely stable and barely worth it. This is definitely a piece of software best used for monitoring and use the BIOS for the overclocking. Speaking of which.
Wow this was frustrating. To look at our CPU-Z shots you'd think that this was an overclocking behemoth. Sadly no, no it's not. This, albeit great in the "big number" stakes, was as stable as a drunk, motion-sick, one-legged unicyclist. Not helping is the fact CPU-Z doesn't appear to be reporting the CPU VCore correctly as everything else from BIOS to Everest showed it as the actual 1.38v it was.
Having had a lot of experience with our setup we're well aware of what our 870 can do. Apparently the Biostar isn't at all aware. The BCLK topped out at a measly 207MHz, but the moment the multiplier was increased it had to be put through the floor to even boot into Windows.
Eventually after huge amounts of cursing and far more tweaking that we've seen since the Lanparty days, we got it stable at 3.6GHz. Not exactly stunning by any measure. Considering we also have the benefit of the unlocked i7-870 then with a multiplier locked processor it would have been even worse.