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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [09.16.06]
Manufactured by: Foxconn


Board Layout

I usually anticipate a rather poor layout from Foxconn boards, going all the way back to the first board we reviewed over 2 years ago. Let's see if things have changed:

Things are off to a good start; realizing people still use plenty of PCI components, 3 legacy PCI slots are included. The lesser-used PCI-E x1 slot is situated above the x16 slot. At this point I can also mention that there are thankfully no USB or FireWire headers mixed in along the expansion ports here.

Foxconn cleverly placed all of the internal headers along the bottom corner of the board. And finally - a colour-coded front panel header! And it's clearly labeled! w00t!

Also, the SATA headers are all in a row, with no wacky orientations we've seen on other boards with a lot of SATA headers. You can also see that the CMOS chip is replacable, which is good in case it ever gets fried in an overclocking session.

ATX header placement is great, right along the outer edge of the board, with the tab facing in. It may be hard to locate the EPS12V header in the above photo, since it is poorly located. Look to the left of the CPU socket, behind the Northbridge cooler. I would have liked to see it along the top edge of the board, to prevent having to route 8 cables across the CPU cooler, potentially impeding airflow.

There is plenty of room between the DIMM slots and the graphics slot, allowing installation of memory modules even with a long video card installed.

The CPU socket itself is surrounded by two tall electrolytic capacitors, making the installation of larger heatsinks dificult or impossible.

One minor thing to note here is that the IDE header is installed upside-down. The tab faces toward the inside of the board, so your IDE cable will be awkwardly folded once installed.

As I had mentioned already, you only get 4 USB headers on the rear panel. 6 should be a minimum these days with chipsets supporting up to 10 ports. To make matters worse, Foxconn doesn't include a SINGLE USB bracket in the box, so you're screwed if you want to use more than 4 USB devices right away, unless you have a compatible USB bracket laying around.

Next Page: (The BIOS; Fox One; Overclocking)