ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 890GX Motherboard Reviewajmatson - March 1, 2010
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Turbo Key II:
Turbo Key II is a hardware utility that is controlled by flipping a switch, allowing you to overclock your system. There is no input or changes made from the user, it is all automatic. When I flipped the switch, it overclocked the Phenom II X4 965 processor to 3.70GHz (217.7 x 17), but it sacrificed the memory speed and latencies dropping them to 870MHz with timings of 8-8-8-20. With the overclock and the reduction of the memory, I ran PCMark Vantage to see how it faired and ended up with a score of 4954, which a bit lower then the stock score of 5127 so the auto clock actually hurt the performance. While you can go into the BIOS and still alter the settings, this defeats the simplistic design of the feature and defeats its purpose.
Core Unlocker is another hardware driven switch that when enabled allows the system to automatically tune the BIOS, to attempt to unlock hidden cores in some of AMD's processors. As we have all seen I am sure some of the AMD Phenom II X2's and X3's are actually Phenom II X4's that have one core disabled, either due to stability issues or simply to meet demand for that particular CPU. This utility attempts to restore it to the quad core state. To test this feature, I placed a Phenom II X2 555 "Black Edition" processor into the system and flipped the switch. To my amaze the system automatically unlocked the other two cores with no other input from me. With this board, I was able to stably run the unlocked cores for 2 hours using Prime 95 and had no stability issues. In fact, I have kept it in the system for the last four days and still running strong as can be.
Express Gate is nothing new to us, however, ASUS continually is updating it and making it better. The Express Gate utility for the ASUS M4A89GTD Pro/USB3 is software based and is installed onto the hard drive to function. Once installed, the user can go into the BIOS and set the utility to start up on boot. It only takes a few seconds to boot into Express Gate and once into it, you can surf the internet, browse photos, send instant messages, talk on skype, and more all without having to boot into the normal operating system which saves time. As shown in the drivers section, you can even export your bookmarks to the Express Gate browser for faster access to them.