iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Biostar A960G+ Motherboard

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The mainboard is based on the AMD 760G chipset and supports up to 16 GB of DDR3-800/1066/1333/1600/1866 RAM. It also has 4 onboard SATA 2.0 ports (RAID 0, 1, 0+1).

Auxiliary controllers include:

  • integrated audio based on the 6-channel Realtek ALC662 HDA codec;
  • Realtek RTL8111F (PCIe x1) Gigabit Ethernet controller;
  • system monitor based on ITE IT8728F which can automatically control 3-pin and 4-pin CPU fans. In BIOS Setup users can set temperature thresholds, the temperature for the minimal fan speed, and its increase rate. Besides, we have the automatic mode with two presets: Quiet and Performance. The handy Biostar fan calibrating function is included as well.

We tested the integrated audio solution in the 16-bit/44kHz mode using RightMark Audio Analyzer 6.2.3 and an ESI Juli@ sound card.

Frequency response (40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB +0.12, -0.22 Very Good
Noise level, dB(A) -80.2 Good
Dynamic range, dB(A) 83.9 Good
Total harmonic distortion, % 0.0064 Very good
Total harmonic distortion + noise, dB(A) -76.5 Average
Intermodulation distortion + noise, % 0.019 Very good
Channel crosstalk, dB -87.5 Excellent
Intermodulation distortion at 10 kHz, % 0.018 Very good

Overall grade: very good. Economy class 6-channel codec showed standard level of quality.



  • CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 810
  • RAM: 2 x 2GB Apacer DDR3-1333 CL9 9-9-9-24-1T for Socket AM3 boards; 2 x 2GB GoodRAM PRO DDR2-1066 CL5 5-5-5-15-2T for Socket AM2+ boards
  • HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (SATA, 7200rpm)
  • Graphics card: ATI RADEON HD4850, 512 MB GDDR3
  • PSU: AcBel ATX-550CA-AB8FB
  • OS: Windows Vista SP1 64-bit, Catalyst 9.2, latest chipset drivers


  • 7-Zip 4.65 x64
  • WinRAR 3.80
  • XviD 1.2.1
  • x264 r1129 x64
  • FarCry 2 (Ranch Medium)
  • Crysis (DX10, HOCbenchmark, VGA test, built-in demo)
  • Devil May Cry 4 (built-in benchmark)
  • World in Conlict (built-in benchmark)

To assess performance we measure time required to archive a 297MB set of 277 files of various types and convert a 636MB MPEG2 video using XviD and x264. We also measure frames per second in game demos. In FarCry 2 we run tests in 4 modes: low, medium, high and very high quality. The first three modes imply the aforesaid quality level, 1280x720 resolution, DX9 rendering, High Performance. The last mode implies: 1680x1050 resolution, Very High setting for both graphics and system, DX10 rendering. In Crysis we also use 4 modes at 1024x768 and 1280x1024 and run tests at Low and High quality in each mode. In Devil May Cry 4 we run two tests: 1280x720 (High DX9) and 1680x1050 (Super High DX10). In World in Conlict we run test in 4 modes: 1280x720 Low, 1280x720 Medium, 1680x1050 High, 1680x1050 Very High.

It's obvious which modes should be used with integrated graphics and which, with discrete graphics. Note that if a motherboard has no integrated graphics, performance tests are only used to check for serious layout or BIOS flaws and can be reduced to minimum. Vice versa, performance tests are indicative for motherboards with integrated graphics. And if a certain motherboard review lacks certain details, we might add respective test results to make up for it.

To assess capabilities of a motherboard and its BIOS, we overclock test CPUs (which ones depends on board's market segment) to a stable maximum with the help of Zalman CNPS9700 AM2 and Cooler Master Hyper Z600 coolers. At that we use all motherboard features, like CPU core voltage adjustments and, if needed, bus multiplier and clock adjustments (Hyper-Transport, CPU NB, etc.) For RAM we select a clock rate typical for this class of modules by adjusting its multiplier, or clock rate needed to maximize CPU core clock rate. The stability of an overclocked machine is assessed in Windows Vista with the help of AMD OverDrive stability test (all tests are run for 5 minutes). Note that since overclocking potential somewhat varies from one board to another, we are not focused on finding board's exact overclocking potential accurate to 1MHz. We just try to find out if a board hampers in CPU overclocking (due to insufficient voltage stabilizer power, etc.) and see how it performs in atypical modes, including automatic BIOS recovery in cases of overclocking issues (not requiring CMOS reset) and such.

Power consumption is assessed in the light-load mode (with text editor running) and in the heavy-load mode (FarCry 2, high quality, 1280x720). Processor's standard power-saving features are enabled. Also if a board has proprietary power-saving features, we examine their efficiency separately.

Overclocking settings in BIOS Availability Notes
Memory timings +  
Memory frequency + DDR3-800 to DDR3-1600
CPU reference frequency + 200 MHz to 600 MHz
CPU multiplier +  
CPU voltage + Decrease only
Memory voltage + 1.50V to 1.85V
Northbridge voltage -  
CPU graphics core frequency -  

Note: the CPU and HT bus clock rates depend on the processor installed. In our tests we provide values for the AMD Phenom II X4 810 CPU with the BIOS dated August 3, 2012.

Users can change CPU reference frequency so overclocking without increasing voltage is possible. In this case the voltage stabilizer will certainly need extra cooling.

Moreover, users can set CPU graphics core frequency from 150 MHz up to 1000 MHz (the default value is 350 MHz), but with Biostar A960G+ it can be dangerous due to the mediocre chipset heatsink. By default, the integrated graphics cannot boast of high performance: hardly 25 fps in Far Cry 2 at low quality.

Enclosure Power Consumption

We measure power consumption with the wattmeter built into the PSU.

AMD Radeon 4850 Biostar TA75M+ Biostar A960G+
Text editing, W 53 59
Far Cry 2, W 133-169 131-160

Int. graphics Biostar TA75M+ Biostar A960G+
Text editing, W 5 15
Far Cry 2, W 58-75 56-68

For a comparison of budget solutions, we used a Socket FM1 mainboard with an AMD A8-3850 processor, instead of an AM3+ board. The big difference can only be seen with the integrated graphics not under load, where Socket FM1 mainboard with an APU shows much better efficiency.

Final Thoughts

Nowadays even some netbooks, not to mention desktops, perform better than what an average user needs. From this point of view Biostar A960G+ could've become a perfect solution for undemanding users but it sort of failed to. The main downside is a poor cooling system, which sometimes needs extra support. Unless you provide better cooling, you might find yourself carrying the board back to the store because it stopped working while you were installing the OS.

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