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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [08.20.06]
Manufactured by: Foxconn


Board Layout

Having a good layout has never really been a strong point of Foxconn's motherboards. Let's see if the C51 changes that:

First up are the expansion slots; the C51 has a pair of PCI slots, which may not be enough if you are using an external soundcard and a WiFi adapter, and want to add, say, a Phys-X adapter... Okay... I guess 2 is enough.

Between the two X16 PCI-E slots are a single X1 and X4 slot. I still have yet to see a single X4 adapter, although I have reviewed an X1 TV tuner.

Thankfully, Foxconn did not splatter the expansion slots with USB and FireWire headers. Instead, they are tucked away to the edge of the board. The header you see on the very right of the picture is a FireWire header.

Oddly, Foxconn wasn't able to keep all six of the SATA ports in one area, so the last two had to be placed on the other side of the southbridge. It will probably be a while before you need to use all 6 ports though ;)

Although the southbridge cooler is a slim design, being an actively cooled heatsink, the fan WILL eventually wear down and make noise. With more manufacturers going with heatpipe-based passive cooling for chipsets, Foxconn's design looks a little dated here.

Another gripe I have is the lack of colour-coding on the front panel header. There is a layout silk-screened onto the motherboard to help you, but nothing is as simple as having a colour-coded header.

Finally, we have the goodies we're used to seeing on enthusiast-oriented boards; onboard power and reset switches, and a diagnostic numeric display. It's easy to see why NVIDIA chose Foxconn to do their reference board for the 590 SLI; the chipset is targeted to high end gamers and enthusiasts, so your reference board should be too!

At the top half of the board, you can see that there is plenty of room around the CPU for even the largest heatsinks. The 24 pin ATX header is well placed (with the tab facing the edge of the board, which I prefer for some reason), but the 8 pin 12v AUX connector is not. Instead, it is located way on the other side of the board, right next to the rear panel. This will almost surely cause interruption in airflow between the video card and CPU when installed in a case.

Speaking of the rear panel, here it is, free of any printer or serial ports! Instead, we get... nothing... Honestly there's not much you could put there, but I have seen other boards put a heatsink there, attached to the chipset via heatpipes. This would have been preferred over the small fan that will most likely wear down and begin to make noise after a while.

One thing I LOVE about this board is that it has 6 USB connectors on the rear panel itself. The more that can be fitted on the rear panel, the better, in my opinion. Actually now that I think of it, Foxconn probably could have put all 10 ports on the rear panel....


The other components bundled with the C51 are:

  • A single bracket containing all four external USB ports. A nice improvement from using up 2 brackets!
  • A single bracket containing 2 extra FireWire ports
  • 6 SATA cables; one side at a 90 degree angle, which should aid in cabling. These ones have end-caps tethered to the cables, which doesn't make much sense to me, and adds clutter.
  • 1 round IDE cable
  • 1 round floppy cable
  • 3 headers which convert 4 pin molex connectors to 2 SATA power connectors, allowing full support of up to 6 SATA hard drives

With the exception of the SATA power cables, all the cabling is black, which will give an installed system a uniform, slick look. Definitely a departure from cables of all colours, and nothing flashy like you'd see from DFI.

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