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 945G7MA
The Foxconn 945G7MA
The Foxconn 945G7MA is a micro ATX board based on the Intel 945G chipset. What makes this board stand out is the integrated graphics solution. Using Intel's Graphic's Media Accelator 950 Graphics core, the G7MA on the surface seems to be an extremely solid solution for those putting together a media PC, or those who aren't big gamers. A list of games supported can be found here. Though the list of supported games is pretty extensive, and the games I tried do work, even at the lowest resolution possible 640x480, the games were almost unplayable.
While the Intel 82845G Graphics controller may not be a great solution for gaming, it is more than adequate for everyday uses such as web browsing, word processing, and even watching your favorite DVD.
Let's look at the specs of the Intel 950 Graphics core.
|Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 950 Graphics Core||
|High Performance 3D||
|Advanced Display Capability||
|Stunning Video Playback||
Though the Integrated graphics are by no means high end. I wanted to give you an idea of what they are capable of, so I decided to run a few benchmarks at low settings (640x480). Though the results are nothing to brag about, they show the Intel 950 core to be a decent alternative for those who simply need a work or small entertainment copmuter.
Both Doom 3 and Far Cry are on Intel's list of unsupported games, both were "unplayable" but both also ran with better than expected results. The Futuremark benchmarks also ran quite slow, but again without issue.
Moving on to the board itself, the 945G7MA is a very attractive board, looking almost identical to its bigger brother , the 945P7AA, only much smaller overall. the layout appears very clean and well thought out, my first impression was extremely positive.
The area aroud the CPU socket is a tad cramped, but I had no problem installing my Thermalright XP-90C for testing, in fact, with the board layout as it is, the XP-90C did a fabulous job blowing air over the boards NB chipset cooler and mosfets.
The 945G7AA, like all 945 boards supports up to 4GB of DDR2 memory utilizing all four memory slots. Using all four slots might lead to some cooling issues, but I had no problems installing or using two 512 MB sticks of Wintec DDR2 memory for testing. Notice how close Foxconn put the 24pin power connector. I thought this might create issues for the memory, but I tried my memory kit in both sets of slots without any problems.
Foxconn placed the Master IDE and floppy disk controller next to the 24 pin power connector. I am of the opinion that connectors like these should be placed parallel to the board when placed along the edge, it allows for better cable management as well as lessens the risk of a connector being broken off.
Though there only a single IDE port, the 945G7MA supports 1 ATA/100 , 1 x ATA/133 as well as 4 four SATA/300. I would have liked to have seen a pair of Pata ports, but with most HDD now using Sata, it shouldn't creat much of an issue
Besides featuring Intel's Extreme graphics solution, the 945G7MA also includes a single x16 PCI-E slot for today's high end graphics cards, a sin gle x1 PCI-E slot, as well as a pair of 32 bit PCI slots. The more O look at this board, the more I think it is the perfect solution for those needing a casual system (A media center PC, a system for a non gaming family member, for house guests, etc).
Like both other boards, the 945G7MA also uses aluminum cooling strips imbedded into the boards PCB for cooling.
The rear I/O ports a standard fare, a single 10/100 RJ45 Ethernet port, 4 USB 2.0 connectors, audio jacks for the 7.1 sound system, and the VGA connectors are worth mentioning.
All in all this board seems very promising. I liked the nice clean layout, and everything the 945 chipset promises plus integrated video. Lets move on to the BIOS, then some benchmarking to see how these boards handle a beating.
Next Page - The BIOS
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