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Foxconn Mars

Layout

The Mars sports a black PCB with a general red, white and blue theme which should suit particularly patriotic Brits and those States-side. Solid aluminium capacitors deck the board out entirely, providing a longer life and better power delivery. The six chokes are sealed and ferrite cored, and everything is stacked on top of a standard six layer PCB.

The overall layout is very good, however after so much hype about a "named brand" I was sort of expecting something DFI or Asus Republic of Gamer-esq – something clearly striking and packed with bits that make you want it immediately.

Unfortunately all the Mars does is just the tick boxes and that's that – black PCB, check; heatpipes, check; some board theme, check; overclocking, check. I suppose stick to what you know works, and if you compare it against the Asus Republic of Gamer boards with their red, white and blue components and dark PCB, it strikes of bit of a bad copy-cat.

Foxconn Mars Board Layout
Foxconn Mars Board Layout

PCI & PCI-Express

Foxconn has managed to squeeze in seven slots onto this board, of which two PCI are still usable even if you use dual height CrossFire – a job well done here. However there is no lane splitter like MSI (on its X38) or Asus (on its Blitz) use to convert the single (red) PCI-Express x16 into two x8s, instead Foxconn relies on just x4 bandwidth in an x16 physical slot. By using the (blue) x4 slot it automatically disables both x1 slots because they are shared.

The company does quite rightly advise you in the manual that when using a “performance graphics card” you should use both a 24-pin ATX connector and the additional Molex power socket, even if your card uses PCI-Express power connectors for extra juice. It’s interesting that Foxconn still brand the board CrossFire capable when other companies have avoided it, because of the performance crippling by giving the second card just a quarter of the bandwidth.