Subsystem Testing

Sound Hardware

BIOSTAR integrated a standard Realtek ALC1220 7.1 Channel HD audio CODEC into the BIOSTAR Z590I VALKYRIE. BIOSTAR doesn’t tell you much about the audio solution specifications. It does reference “Hi-Fi” on the product page which it defines as a combination of exclusive hardware and software design. The page goes onto talk bout a “ground-isolation circuit design”, “independent audio power,” and a “built-in onboard amplifier.”

I can’t speak to all of these and exactly how they are implemented but these largely sound like what everyone else is doing. Examination of the PCB didn’t reveal anything special going on here. From what I can tell, the motherboard uses the same basic PCB isolation and dedicated power designs everyone else is using. Certainly, onboard amplifiers are a big deal but these have been integrated into motherboards for a very long time.

In fact, BIOSTAR’s “Hi-Fi” ground feature as it’s described on the site specifically notes the multi-layer PCB design to isolate analog and digital sources. Its “Hi-Fi AMP” feature is just an amplifier but BIOSTAR doesn’t specifically state what amplifier it is.

Audio – Subjective Listening

To be honest, basically, all Realtek HD audio CODECs more or less sound the same. Sometimes specific OP-AMPs can change how the solution sounds, but even these often sound the same until you step up to higher-end CODECs and OP-AMPs. That being said, the BIOSTAR Z590I VALKYRIE did just fine in this regard as its integrated audio solution sounded precisely as expected.

Audio – Subjective Recording / Playback

On the recording front, the sample sounded good with or without the microphone boost option albeit the audio levels were far better when enabled. I never heard any substantial distortion with the recording sample.

DPC Latency

For those who may not know what DPC is, I’ll explain. Deferred procedure calls are a function within Windows that allows higher priority tasks such as device drivers to defer lower priority tasks for execution at later times. It’s an interrupt and reassignment of sorts performed by the operating system.

DPC latency varies from board model to model and brand to brand. DPC issues show up in the form of audio dropouts and streaming video issues. Naturally, this is something that the enthusiast would want to avoid. I used LatencyMon and let it run for 10 minutes to graph the results. I have compiled a list of several systems I’ve tested over the last year and placed the results in a graph for easy reference.

BIOSTAR Z590I VALKYRIE Motherboard LatencyMon DPC Latency

When it comes to DPC latency, the BIOSTAR 590i Valkyrie knocked it out of the park achieving a result of 161u, and thus hangs with the best motherboards we’ve ever tested on this particular front.

Storage Configuration

For our testing, the operating system is always installed on a Samsung 970 EVO NVMe Plus-based SSD. A second, identical drive is employed for testing RAID0 performance on motherboards that support this functionality natively without PCIe adapter kits. In cases where this is necessary, an alternative is used as the OS drive. It is either an Intel SSD 750 via U.2 to PCIe adapter or a SATA-based Samsung 840 Pro.

For all non-RAID, M.2 performance testing, we used a Corsair MP600 2TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe drive provided by Corsair and AMD. On AMD chipset-based motherboards, this drive is always installed in the M.2 slot which connects directly to the CPU’s PCIe controller. On Intel systems, this drive is attached to PCIe lanes which are provided by the PCH.

SATA & NVMe

The storage configuration of the BIOSTAR Z590I VALKYRIE is exceedingly simple due to the limited PCB real estate. There are four SATA 6Gb/s ports. These support AHCI, RAID 0, 1, 5, and RAID 10 modes. These support Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology. For M.2, there is a single type 2280 slot that is PCIe Gen 4.0 compliant provided you are using a Rocket Lake CPU. Additionally, the BIOSTAR Z590I VALKYRIE supports Intel’s Optane Technology.

Ordinarily, I’d have some NVMe benchmarks, but we do those on secondary drives and not the OS drive. There is only one slot here, so that wasn’t done. That being said, the general performance on our drive was checked and it was within the realm we expected. Thus, everything is working as intended.

USB Ports

The BIOSTAR Z590I VALKYRIE offers 12 USB ports of varying speeds and types. The following configuration was taken from the manufacturer’s website.

1 x USB 3.2 (Gen2x2) Type-C port (1 on rear I/O)
2 x USB 3.2 (Gen2) ports (2 on rear I/Os)
5 x USB 3.2 (Gen1) ports(3 on rear I/Os and 2 via internal header)
4 x USB 2.0 ports (2 on rear I/Os and 2 via internal header)

This implementation is par for the course for a mini-ITX motherboard. The PCB simply lacks the real estate to add a whole lot to it beyond what’s already here.

Wired Networking

Integrated into the BIOSTAR Z590I VALKYRIE we have a single Realtek RTL8125B 2.5GbE network controller. It is capable of half/full-duplex operation at 10/100/1000/2500Mb/s. During our testing of the BIOSTAR Z590I VALKYRIE, there were no issues with the network solution. However, I do not have a 2.5GbE network switch or hub, therefore I only ever operated the system at 1GbE speeds. Additionally, there were never any connectivity problems, lost packets or issues with the NIC negotiating to slower speeds.

Wireless Networking

There is an M.2 “E Key” slot for a WiFi card although one isn’t provided. However, external antennas are along with provisions to connect them to the back panel I/O.

Join the Conversation

8 Comments

  1. Another good review of the mobo by FPS.

    Personally tho, my experience with Biostar from back in the day make me shudder still
    It’s good to see they can produce a decent board these days.
    I however would be hard pressed to spend $350 on a Biostar when there are better to be found.

    Of course, this is all personal preference on my part.

  2. BIOSTAR has actually been making good motherboards for close to ten years now. That being said, I’ve always reviewed their higher end or more enthusiast centric options. I haven’t worked with their bargain basement stuff since the early 2000’s. My experiences with that stuff were few and far between and not really all that bad to tell you the truth.

    When I think of cheap, shitty motherboards I think of ECS, FIC, or PC Chips. There are also many others that died off like M-Tech, Soyo, and QDI. Not to say that those were all terrible, they weren’t necessarily. Although, they all did have some awful models. Soyo being the exception out of that list as it generally had good PR and absolutely horrendous motherboards.

    EDIT: It seems PCChips died off sometime around the socket 478 / S754 era. FIC actually left the PC business entirely and transitioned to making electronics for the automotive industry. I think Soyo, M-Tech and QDI flat died off the same way ABIT did.

    1. PC Chips merged with ECS, who still does ODM work. I think their last notable consumer board was NZXT’s Z370.

  3. Nice review. I have used a few Biostar motherboards in budget builds with no issues. I remember Soyo back in the day, with their Dragon series motherboards being the most popular. I was mostly into ABIT and Epox boards back then, but found the Epox quality lacking after a while.

  4. [QUOTE=”Niner51, post: 38402, member: 106″]
    Nice review. I have used a few Biostar motherboards in budget builds with no issues. I remember Soyo back in the day, with their Dragon series motherboards being the most popular. I was mostly into ABIT and Epox boards back then, but found the Epox quality lacking after a while.
    [/QUOTE]

    Epox quality was lackluster to start with. ABIT at that time had their own issues but they straightened them out. Unfortunately, by the end of their run as a company their motherboards were mediocre at best. The Soyo’s were always popular, and I can’t understand why. I saw a lot of failures on those.

  5. [QUOTE=”Dan_D, post: 38405, member: 6″]
    The Soyo’s were always popular, and I can’t understand why.
    [/QUOTE]

    I honestly think it was mostly their name and color scheme back then (black and purple). I remember all those jumpers on their boards as well. A past friend of mine loved those boards, but he would have all types of issues at LAN parties. Epox had cap bursting issues which I experienced. Never really had an issue with Abit besides one NF2 board dying on me, but that was overclocking a 2500+ to a 3200+ which was popular back in the day. Thanks for the trip down memory lane Dan..(y)

  6. [QUOTE=”AKBrian, post: 38765, member: 120″]
    PC Chips merged with ECS, who still does ODM work. I think their last notable consumer board was NZXT’s Z370.
    [/QUOTE]

    I didn’t know that. Although, I do know the NZXT Z490 boards are made by ASRock.

  7. I have a B550 Biostar board with a 3900x, no issues and one of the few board I’ve ever owned that has zero problems going to sleep and back. Now the VRMs on that board I would say is shaky but I am not OCing. With two (one super cheap and the other kinda cheap) Biostar boards, they purred with no real issues plus actually had frequent bios updates for a long period of time.

    Very nice review Dan, to me the price seems high but today everything seems to be way high.

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