Joined on 08/22/11
The new flagship, and likely the last AM3+
Pros: Fast processor Comes with a liquid cooling solution made by Asetek (is the same as the Antec H2O 920 with an AMD label on it). Chill control V is an awesome app to control your cooling system or create custom profiles for over-clocking. Scored a Passmark rating of 10,849 which is about 1500 marks higher than what my FX-8350 did. Keep in mind these are auto-clock settings using my Fatal1ty. To give you an idea, I gained about 2000 more marks when I upgraded to the FX-8350 from the FX-8150 so you can see there are gains to be made by using this processor. Was able to overclock to 5.4ghz at 1.59v and still get to a desktop. Very light web browsing was possible but that's about it or the system would lock up. Temps never went above 38 °C so I know heat wasn't the issue.
Cons: Not much room for overclocking from it's default clock when compared to the FX-8350. 5.1ghz was as high as I could get a stable Passmark run at 1.4625v. Any voltage higher or lower would lock up the system but I managed several runs while scoring 11,700. Unfortunately, 3Dmark would crash about half way through at this setting but I found 5.0ghz at 1.45v to be the sweet spot. In comparison, 3Dmark would crash with the 8350 at 5ghz so there is some obvious optimizations done with this processor. My highest PassMark bench with the FX-8350 was 11,500 while my highest run with the FX-9590 was 11,700. As an overclocker, what you can get away with and what is actually useable are two different things.
Overall Review: AMD has made some improvements. While this may not be the overclocker of the year, it's noticeably faster than the 8350 in it's default state. It doesn't run any hotter than my 8350 did which for me with a closed loop is quite cool. My twin GTX-680's create way more heat than this does and they feel much more alive in SLI now when compared to the 8350 as well. The 220w TDP may seem high but in reality this processor is a great performer when you have your power saving features enabled. To score almost 11,000 Pass Marks is quite impressive in this state. It doesn't pull any more than my FX-8350 unless I'm running Prime to stress it out. I thought this processor was going to be power hungry 24/7 but it really isn't. I have yet to do anything that has made the cooling fans run faster than the default values of the Chill Control V software so it's clear that this processor is the best of the best in this series. I bought this from Newegg but it was from a well known auction website that rhymes with e-today. Apparently I cannot mention this website while leaving a review even though Newegg still get's my business and they could quickly verify the transaction. To be honest I was about to switch to Intel when the initial cost for this processor was over $800. I thought AMD lost their mind and was very disappointed. I waited patiently until I happened to be browsing that auction website and saw Newegg had it with the cooling solution for $389. I thought it was a mistake so I bought it immediately. I have no regrets. This is likely the last AM3+ processor so may as well have the flagship to get me by for another year or so. Thank you Newegg :)
UPDATE: Not an overclocker
Pros: I'm updating from my last review with three eggs instead. This board does well in it's default environment. It supports 1866 but that is actually an (OC) setting within the bios so make sure you enable manual overclocking and adjust your memory from there. This board will default to 1600 when two memory slots are taken and 1333 when all four are filled. 1333 is actually a CPU controller limitation so if you want speed get the highest possible in two sticks.
Cons: Overclocking is a joke. Sure I could get the processor to 5.0 ghz without my desktop locking up on an FX-8150 with an Antec H20 920 but anything above 4ghz constantly and performance is worse than stock. After countless benchmarking and various hardware runs I found this motherboard useless when attempting to manually overclock regardless of voltages. There isn't a turbo core option in the bios either so make sure you disable powernow and C1E. You also cannot over clock the FSB and the Multiplier at the same time in the bios. I never could get a good stable manual overclock with this board that was worth anything. My best benchmarks were with the V12 automatic overclock setting and the memory set to limit 1866 which won't allow the memory to overclock. Cheap 1866 memory doesn't overclock well so limit it to 1866 or take it down to 1600 when overclocking.
Overall Review: Here's the deal. Most people don't know how to properly overclock their stuff. What's the point of doing it if it makes you lose FPS or causes your game to stutter? It takes time to tweak everything and this biostar is not the board for that. Prior to this board I had the Sabertooth. The sabertooth was an easy board to overclock, I had noticeable gains with a 4.1 ghz clock and a 4.5 Turbo. I was able to run the FX-8150 at 4.7 stably for 24 hours but it's gains weren't worth keeping it at that clock 24/7. You can read my review on the sabertooth if you want to know why I sent it back. I ordered the Crosshair V Formula and am going to give that a try. I am hoping that gives me what I need without having to go back to Intel. I'll review the Crosshair after I spend some time with it. All in all the Biostar isn't bad if you don't plant to manually OC your FX-8150.
Update to very good
Pros: Small and easy to use. Captures with great quality and accuracy.
Cons: Still no control over the captured file size. As of this review it still splits the files into 4gb sections and only the provided software will properly merge the files together. I tried merging the captured mpeg2 files with several different programs but all of them produced a small glitch in the final video at each section. No bueno!
Overall Review: I wanted to update my previous review since I've had much more time with the device. At the time of my last review I had been using Windows 8 and experience problems with the OS itself. I was unable to use Movie Maker as an alternative at that time but after giving up on the Monstrosity of Windows 8, I went back to Win 7 and everything functioned as it should. The Movie Maker integration is nice because you have more control over the final file but it still lacks some features as well. In the end, if it would simply capture to one file it would give us geeks more options with how we encode the final file. The ideal method would be to go from mpeg2 to mp4 once and be done. As of now we have to go from mpeg2 to mp4 and then our final file which for me would be mp4 so the process is converting the mpeg2 capture files to one big mp4, and then it's converted to the lower mp4 bit-rate which is sort of silly because it's twice the processing..lol.. All in all though I am quite pleased with the product. I get very good results with Movie Maker so I'll keep using it as long as I have to. I do hope they enable an option to capture to a single file in the future. Movie Maker is slow when compared to other programs. UPDATE on the HP dc7900 Core 2 Duo E8400 Ultra-slim Desktop I bought to use with it. The processor is at 3ghz and is BARELY enough to capture full 1080 on max quality while retaining audio/video sync. I ended up backing it down to 27Mbps for the capture to be able to maintain sync properly. You should be able to watch the capture on a separate screen with perfect sync(expect a 1-2 second delay from the source). Sync will start to go before the video gets choppy so keep that in mind if you're trying this on a less powerful system. The minimum system requirement will NOT allow you to capture full 1080. Hope this helps someone make a decision.
Pros: Captures full 1080 with great quality. I tried this out with my old Pentium D 3.4 dual core and was able to capture 1080 @ 59.94 fps / 21 Mbps (159 MB/min) from my direct TV HD receiver via the component cables. I couldn't go any higher than that or it would get choppy but the picture quality was impressive. The color isn't as bright as the HDMI interface but the software does allow you to make adjustments if you think you need to. I did.
Cons: The software is limited. It would be nice to have control over the encoding process but you're limited to their selections. At the default settings of 1080 when capturing, I selected the HD MP4 as the output and the encoded MP4 file was larger than the mpeg2 file that was originally captured and it took FOREVER to do. Wondershare is WAY faster. It would also be nice to have control over the file you are capturing. As of now it will split the capture into 4GB files so I have to merge them together. I used wondershare to re encode the captured mpeg2 instead of the included software. I took a 14GB capture and condensed it to 5GB in MP4 for my media server collection with great quality at 1080.
Overall Review: I bought this for my media server. I wanted to be able to record my favorite shows and have access to them over my network. I spent a year researching the right capture card after I had one die. I was hesitant to get a USB device but am glad I did. I can now record my favorite shows off of my HD receiver with great HD quality and use a little slim PC to do it. If you're picky about quality then I'd suggest capturing at the full 1080 and then re encode down to 720 versus capturing at 720. The quality difference is noticeable during the capture. I bought a HP dc7900 Core 2 Duo E8400 Ultra-slim Desktop to replace my Pentium D for my media server. That should have enough power to capture at a higher bit rate and keep me content. Keep in mind that it can only capture as fast as your drives are. If you try to capture to a slow drive, it's gonna get choppy. I can't capture in 1080 to one of my WD 500GB my books because it's too slow. If the drive you capture to is fast enough and you have enough memory, even a Pentium D can capture with great 1080 quality.
Smaller than I expected
Pros: I thought this card was going to be larger. I bought it to replace two GTX 260's I had running in SLI when one failed. It was nice to see Saints row the third go from low/medium setting to ultra compared to my twin 260's. Runs very cool in my case compared to my GTX 260s.
Cons: Some people think the size is a con but if you want a quality card that performs, it's going to be much larger than a little GTS or weak AMD card.
Overall Review: If you want to run SLI expect to pay for a motherboard that has enough separation between the PCI-E slots without restricting air intake to the top card. Don't blame the video card because of your poor choice in motherboard. The manufactures do that so you'll spend more money on the board. My motherboard runs 16x16x4x so while SLI isn't ideal with this card due to the location of the two 16x slots, I have my old GTX260 in the 4x slot handling PhysX which is awesome! The two patches that Microsoft released for Bulldozer really helped with my Vantage benchmarking with this video card.