Legit Motherboard Reviews
Foxconn Intel i945/i955 Dual Core Motherboards
|Product:||Foxconn 955X7AA-8EKRS2, 945P7AA-8EKRS2, & 945G7MA-8EKRS2 Motherboards|
|Date:||Thu, Aug 04, 2005 - 12:00 AM|
|Written By:||Rich Caporali|
The Foxconn 945P7AA
The 945P7AA is another very good looking board , this time using a navy blue PCB, with metallic green chipset coolers. My first impression was a simple yet very clean layout.
Based on the 945P and ICH7R chipsets, the 945P7AA is compatible with a wide vairety of processors, from Intel's 5XX series and 6XX series, to the newest kids on the block, the Pentium D 8XX (Note that the 945 chipsets do not officially support the Pentium D 840EE).
As far as the CPU area, I had no problems mounting a Thermalright XP-90C. Even with Intel's newest processors featuring a bevy of thermal improvements, these Prescott based CPUs are still the hottest thing going, so cooling will be an issue.
Care should be taken in any case, as the capacitors around the CPU area are pretty big. Some passive cooling on the mosfets would have been a nice touch, but given this is a 945 board, that isn't a huge issue.
Moving down to the PCI/PCI-E slot area, the 945P7AA has a single x16 graphics slot, along with a pair of x1 slots and three 32 bit PCI slots, more than adequate for any configuration. I had no issue installing a large X850 XT or a smaller RX600 video card, both fit perfectly and had no influence on other internal components.
The 945P7AA utilizes a maximum of 4GBs of dual channel, unbuffered, 240 pin DDR2 memory. The main difference between Foxconn's 945 and 955 boards is that the 945 does not support ECC-RAM, along with a few other minor memory optimization which I will say are extremely similar to the the differences between the 865 and 875 chipsets and Intel's "PAT" technolgy. How this might affect performance we'll cover more during our memory benchmarking.
The placement of the floppy connector was a problem for me. If you are going to place the connectors along the edge of the board, why not rotate them parallel to the board to reduce clutter? I'd have rather seen it placed with the other IDE coonectors down lower on the board.
Four SATA II ports powered by the ICH7R Southbridge support SATA/300, while an ITE8212 controller drives two ATA 133 IDE ports capable of RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and JBOD. There was also a single ATA 100 port and Floppy port as well.
Also located here is the Primary IDE connector and a pair of USB 2.0 connectors.
The 945P7AA uses passive cooling on both the Northbridge and Southbridge chipsets. The Northbridge cooler is arranged in such a way to take advantage of the CPU fan, giving the chipset an almost active cooling solution. Some users might be surprised at the heat generated by the Southbridge, I'm glad to see Foxconn and others include at least some passive cooling.. with most cases including cooling fans in the lower section for HDD cooling, the Southbridge should be fine with at least some moderate air flow.
Turning over the 945P7AA, you'll notice some solder strips inbedded in the PCB, something first introduced by ABIT last year in both their motherboard and Video cards. What effect this has on board cooling is unclear, but anything a board maker does which can provide some benefit is fine by me.
Finally, moving on to the rear I/O ports, nothing spectacular here, with a very normal assorrtment of connectors. You'll surely notice the 945P7AA features only a single ethernet connector, and no optical audio connectors, not a major surprise as this board is geared more toward those on a budget.
Overall, I thought the 945P7AA has a nice layout. My issues were few, better placement of the FDD connector, and maybe an additional fan header or two would have been a nice addition, but other than that, the P7AA has a nice clean layout, and is definitely a very good looking board.
Looking at it rationally, is this really a budget board? Other than a few bells and whistles, the 945P board is a nice alternative to the more expensive 955P board. the 945P7AA features Intel's Azalea High Definition sound, and Dual Broadcom integrated Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000) controllers. Coupled with the ability to use the same processors as its bigger brother the 955X7AA, the 945P7AA starts to look like a pretty good bargain.
Next Page - The Foxconn 945G7MA
Page 1 - Introduction
Page 2 - The Foxconn 955X7AA
Page 3 - The Foxconn 945P7AA
Page 4 - The Foxconn 945G7MA
Page 5 - The BIOS
Page 6 - Test Setups
Page 7 - CPU Testing
Page 8 - Memory Testing
Page 9 - Graphics/Game Testing
Page 10 - Final Thoughts