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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [05.21.04]
Manufactured by: Foxconn

Lowest Price from Dealtime: $92

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This won't be the first Foxconn product you've ever used

If you have owned a computer in the past 23 years, I can virtually guarantee that you have used at least one Foxconn product at some point in time. It may have been an IDE cable, USB plug, or the socket you plug your memory into on a motherboard. For most of their history, Foxconn has stuck to producing parts sold directly to motherboard and other component manufacturers.

But now, Foxconn is launching a line of retail channel products. One of the first was their line of cases, which included the Diabolic Minotaur we looked at a few months ago. They also have a full line of AMD and Intel motherboards under the Foxconn name.

Our first Foxconn motherbaord review will be the 755A01-6EKRS. Granted, while it is a retail board, it probably isn't considered as an enthusiast board. The main reason I wanted to check this board out is because it uses the seemingly rare SiS 755 chipset for Athlon64. Until now, it has seemed like the ONLY choices we had for the Athlon64 was either VIA's K8T800, or NVIDIA's nForce 3.

SiS 755 (and 964 southbridge!)

 

    

First of all, here is a table describing the features of the four main A64 chipsets (including the NF3 250, which is just starting to show up in stores):

  SiS 755 VIA K8T800 NVIDIA nForce3 150 NVIDIA nForce3 250
Downstream HyperTransport Link 16 bit / 800 MHz 16 bit / 800 MHz 16 bit / 600 MHz 16 bit / 800 MHz
Upstream HyperTransport Link 16 bit / 800 MHz 16 bit / 800 MHz 8 bit / 600 MHz 16 bit / 800 MHz
Northbridge? Yes Yes No No
North/Southbridge Connectivity 1 GB/s (MuTIOL) 533 MB/s (8X V-Link) 1.8 GB/s (no Northbridge) 3.2 GB/s (no Northbridge)
Max. Memory 2 GB 4 GB 3 GB 3 GB
SATA 2 Channel w/ RAID 2 Channel w/ RAID 2 Channel w/ RAID 4 Channel w/ RAID
PATA 2 Channel ATA 133 2 Channel ATA 133 2 Channel ATA 133 2 Channel ATA 133
Ethernet 10/100 Base-T 10/100 Base-T 10/100 Base-T 10/100/1000* Base-T
Max. USB Ports 8 Ports 8 Ports 6 Ports 8 Ports
Max. PCI Slots 6 Slots 5 Slots 6 Slots 6 Slots

Just looking at the stats above, we can see that the 755 is actually quite a powerful chipset! Certainly it seems to have a much better HT link than the original NF3 chipset.

Like the K8T800, the SiS 755 uses a southbridge (in this case, it's the latest SiS southbridge; 964). VIA employs a 533 MB/s connection between the Northbridge and Southbridge, while the SiS 755 has 1 GB/s of bandwidth using SiS' MuTIOL link. To be honest, 533 MB/s is probably enough for even the most saturated bus, but it's nice to have the extra bandwidth in case of very extreme circumstances.

Besides the HT links, the 755 chipset doesn't bring much else new to the table. Everything else is pretty standard; USB2.0, software RAID, SATA, 10/100 ethernet, FireWire, etc.

Now that we have covered the chipset, we can get to this Foxconn board in particular...

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