Foxconn MARS has the Quantum Force!

August 31, 2007 | 09:07

Tags: #2 #chipset #core #crossfire #enthusiast #force #mars #motherboard #overclocking #p35 #performance #quantum

Companies: #dfi #foxconn #intel

We're imagining an awesome theme tune to go along with it - something mildly cheesy but inspiring none the less. The Quantum Force is the new product line not for an eighties cartoon remake, but for Foxconn's new enthusiast range of motherboards. Starting it is the MARS we first saw at Computex and talked about the new Gladiator BIOS here.

First off, anyone else think the branding is a little confusing? Quantum, MARS and Gladiator? There may be an underlying Roman theme of the Gladiator warrior, the God of War and the Latin for "how much", but it all seems a bit convoluted. Maybe it will go head to head with the Maximus.

"The Big Fight Liiiiiiiiiiiiive - MARS versus Maximus! Here for an overclocking deathmatch. To the death! Where one dies and has to be RMAAAAAAAYYY'D."

The Quantum Force series is the high-performance, enthusiast range that centres around value for money as well as focusing on user feedback - so be vocal with what you like or dislike! The site will launch in early September and will feature Beta BIOS downloads, tutorials on how to get the most out of the boards and competitions.

“We have developed a design manifesto we call SWORD, which focuses on delivering more performance capability with better value for money, whilst listening to the feedback of real enthusiasts.” Maybe they will do tattoos?

The board gets an "enthusiast popular" black PCB, with heatpipe array that includes an optional fan on the northbridge that is very similar to what we saw on the nForce 680i SLI board we previously looked at. The board features support for up to 8GB of DDR2 1,066MHz memory along with 1,333MHz FSB support with the ability to run 45nm Penryns in the future too.

It has one PCI-Express x16 (in red) and one PCI-Express x4 (in a physical black x16 slot) as well as two PCI-Express x1 and three PCI slots. It looks like Foxconn is using an HD audio codec and a PCI-Express Gigabit Ethernet controller from Realtek, as well as a Texas Instruments Firewire chipset supplying two Firewire ports - one via pin-outs and one on the rear I/O. Six USB 2.0 ports are included there as well as another six via pin-outs.

Both optical and RCA digital S/PDIF and six 3.5mm audio jacks, some PS2 ports and an eSATA socket finish up the rear I/O. There's an on-board clear CMOS button as well as power and reset switches. The entire board is decked out in solid aluminium capped capacitors but it only has (from what we can tell in the photos) a six phase power regulation system with just four of them cooled by the heatpipe array.

To finish up there are six SATA 3Gbps ports and the IDE looks to be from the JMicron chipset. The memory and PCI-Express x16 lane has independent power regulation, and all the ports and pin-outs are well placed around the edges. Foxconn are also taking on board the need for using proper bolts to hold down heatsinks as the northbridge heatsink gets a pair to enforce a proper contact.

In the press release Foxconn is claiming a 575MHz FSB from a Core 2 Duo, although how this overclocks quad-cores like the popular Q6600 G0 has yet to be seen. Unfortunately Foxconn hasn't gone to the extent of Asus with the Blitz and used a PCI-Express splitter chip, so you're stuck with an unequal x16 and x4 CrossFire. There is only a single Ethernet connector as well, and we assume there might be some limitation between using the x4 lane and multiple x1 PCI-Express lanes together because of the limitation of the ICH9R.

As we saw before - the Gladiator BIOS settings provide some insane voltage adjustments and there's also the AEGIS Panel utility for monitoring system temperatures, voltages and fan speeds. What we were really after was an in-Windows BIOS adjustment tool, but at the very least we'd hope it's not an overskined interface that lacks clear functionality and a minimal resource footprint.

The board has had some ex-DFI engineers contribute to its design so Foxconn is clearly confident about its impending release, however availability is destined for the late September which means it'll be behind many X38 releases. The suggested retail price is looking at around £125 (inc. VAT) which is currently far cheaper than the first signs of X38, but about average for an enthusiast P35 board.

Your next potential motherboard purchase or are Foxconn too late to the game? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.
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