Foxconn N68S7AAManufacturer: Foxconn
Price (as reviewed): £158.57
Foxconn makes just about every computer component under the sun and the company has been a long-time provider of components to motherboard manufacturers, OEMs and ODMs. Unfortunately, the company has yet to really break into the minds of enthusiasts, and the brand might not be an enthusiast's first choice on the motherboard front.
We decided to find out if this was a deserved attitude or a gross misjudgement when we took a look at its latest enthusiast motherboard, dubbed the N68S7AA, which is based around Nvidia's nForce 680i SLI chipset.
The board features the same "Fox One" technology that we previously covered almost a year ago when we reviewed the company's 975X7AA
. This is Foxconn's custom chip that promotes overclocking, and is a similar approach to MSI's Core Cell or Abit's uGuru.
If you're unfamiliar with the way FoxOne works, give our 975X7AA review a read, as it should help to explain the technology Foxconn is using. Without further ado, let's have a look at Foxconn's N68S7AA...
- Support for LGA775 Intel Core 2 Quad, Core 2 Duo, Pentium 4, Pentium 4 D, and Pentium XE, including 1333/1066/800/533MHz FSB processors
- Nvidia nForce 680i SLI SPP (NF680-SLI-A2) northbridge
- Nvidia nForce 680i MCP (NF590-MCP-N-A2) southbridge
- Supports up to 8GB of dual channel DDR2 533/667/800, using four 240-pin/1.8V DDR2 DIMMs
- Three PCI Express x16 slots (The two blue are full x16 and the single black is x8)
- Two PCI Express x1 slots
- Two 32-bit v2.3 Master PCI bus slots (support 3.3v/5v PCI bus interface)
- One IDE port
- Six SATA 3Gbps ports supporting RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 or JBOD
- Realtek ALC888 High-Definition audio codec supporting 7.1 channel surround sound
- Two Gigabit Ethernet ports provided by the Marvell 88E11116-NNC1 chipset
- VIA VT 6308P IEEE1394a Firewire chipset
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- Six black SATA cables
- One rounded black IDE cable
- One rounded black floppy cable
- Three molex to six SATA power adapter cables
- USB 2.0 PCI bracket with four ports
- IEEE1394a Firewire bracket with a 6-pin and 4-pin connector
- 9-pin RS232 Serial port PCI bracket
- Metal rear I/O shield
- Driver CD and Quick Install Manual
There is a good complement of cables in the box, including a complete set of SATA cables and SATA power adapters for the available ports. The Foxconn board does have an eSATA port, but it doesn't supply a cable (I don't think any mobo manufacturers include eSATA cables in their bundles, as they generally come with the eSATA hard drive enclosure you purchase -- Ed
Also included are some black rounded IDE and floppy cables that fit within the theme of the board. Although, to be pedantic, a shorter singled ended floppy cable would have been better. A single SLI bridge is supplied, which is sufficient even for the new 8800-series GPUs. Abit includes a pair of SLI bridges in its IN9 32X-Max, but I'm not sure why anyone would need two bridges at this moment in time.
The metal rear I/O shield is coloured to increase the awareness of what plugs go where, encouraging ease of use. Also, the included PCI brackets supply a great range of extra ports. One such bracket has four space-optimised USB 2.0 ports, however the board does have a total of six pin-out ports on board. Most cases will have a front pair USB 2.0 ports which makes a total of eight usable straight out the box, so this isn't a huge issue. There is also a nine-pin RS232 port on a separate PCI bracket just in case you do need the extra legacy port in addition to the Parallel port.
The Firewire bracket has both four-pin and six-pin connectors, and although the motherboard only supports two Firewire ports (with one already used on the rear I/O panel), it does give you a choice depending on what your particular peripheral needs are. If you have one on the front of your case, you won't be able to use this anyway, but it's a nice offering if your case doesn't have one (or has the wrong one).