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Foxconn makes a good Nforce 590 SLI AM2 board

First INQpression Foxconn C51XEM2AA proven memory overclocker
Wed Oct 18 2006, 15:27
FOXCONN is throwing a lot of cash to make itself a successful company in the graphics and motherboard market. These guys simply want to get to the hearts of gamers and they are already doing a nice job on the motherboard side. They still have to catch up on graphic cards, mainly because it is very hard to even find even a review of a Foxconn card, not even to mention the retail or etail stuff.

The Foxconn C51XEM2AA is an Nvidia reference board that it co-developed put its sticker on the board and packed it in retail box. That's how this board was born.

Nvidia's top of the notch AM2 chipset uses two north bridges. First one called Nforce 590 SLI SPP provides PCIe 16X. The second Northbridge acts as a south bridge and is branded as Nforce 590 SLI MCP - Media Communication Processor. The south bridge chip provides an additional PCIe 16X slot, two times Gigabit LAN, HDA Azalia audio, 10 USB 2.0, five PCI slots, 4x1PCIe, two IDE hard drive controllers and finally six SATA II ports. It is a nice chipset and we already tested a few boards using it.

The board supports Enhanced Performance Profile (EPP) and one of the memory specialists from one of the overclocking companies recommends this board for the memory overclocking. Corsair has the special EPP memory but OCZ also has some horses to race, they both perform well in this board.

The package is really well designed but the name of the product is too complicated to be remembered. Foxconn has to work on that. The package includes a single bracket with four USB ports - nice touch, and a single bracket with two extra FireWire ports, six SATA cables, one round IDE cable, and one round floppy cable all in black. It also has three Molex to SATA power cables with each able to power two SATA drivers.

alt='foxc1'

As we said the board supports all AM2 AMD CPUs, has four DDR2 memory slots that supports up to 8GB of memory. We recommend to get at least DDR 2 at 800 MHz or faster for better performance. Memory naturally works in dual channel mode so you have to plug two modules to get the juice out of it. The CPU socket is surrounded with digital moss fets and we can still count eleven traditional capacitors. They won't stand in a way of any cooler we tried. A single IDE connector is still on the board and let's not forget about just don't want to die, a floppy.

The Northbridge is passively cooled while the Southbridge has a nice Nvidia branded sticker and an active cooler. The board comes with two PCIe 16X slots and in between these there are two more connectors, one PCIe 1 X and one PCIe 4X. The board also has two PCI slots just enough for a decent sound blaster card and possible even PhysX card.

alt='foxc'

There is a 12 V Molex connector next to the last PCIe. We did plug it while testing. The board comes with a diagnostic LED display that can tell you what possibly went wrong with the board or some other component. This is something that Abit and Epox have been using for a while. The board has reset and power buttons on board so the reviewers don't need to bother how to boot a machine on a desk. Let's not forget about six SATA two ports divided in two groups. You can also plug some additional USB ports as there is a header.

The back panel has good old PS2 connectors, small Firewire 800 something that you don't see that often on a board, big Firewire 400 port, six USB 2.0, two 1 Gbit LAN cards, one optical out and 5.1 analogue outs. We really miss e-SATA on this list but that's just it. Audio supports Dolby Digital Live via Realtek's ALC882 HD Audio CODEC. This is always good news as 5.1 will work via optical and that it comes with a board for free.

We compared this board with Abit Fatal1ty motherboard that we tested here.

Benchmarketing
We used :
Foxconn C51XE M2aa Nforce 590 SLI motherboard
Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X Nforce 590 SLI motherboard Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH 500/1200 MHz
Athlon FX 62 2800 MHz 90 nanometre Windsor core
2x1024 MB DDR2 Corsair CM2X1024-6400C3 memory
Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 400GB SATA NCQ hard drive
Thermaltake Mini Typhoon Athlon 64/X2/FX cooler and Intel CPU's
Silverstone Strider ST60F, 600W ATX 2.0 SATA

Doom 3
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
127.3
126.4
126.1
116.0
Foxconn C51XEM2AA - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
128.4
127.8
127.4
116.9
? ? ? ? ?
Doom 3 High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 8X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
126.1
119.5
103.3
71.9
Foxconn C51XEM2AA - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
127.3
120.0
103.6
71.4
? ? ? ? ?
Far Cry High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 8X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
102.79
101.35
100.27
76.80
Foxconn C51XEM2AA - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
95.36
95.34
94.42
76.68
? ? ? ? ?
Quake 4
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
174.9
167.9
166.2
153.2
Foxconn C51XEM2AA - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
172.3
166.4
166.5
152.5
? ? ? ? ?
Quake 4 High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 8X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
167.1
158.8
149.6
121.0
Foxconn C51XEM2AA - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
166.8
158.5
148.5
120.4
? ? ? ? ?
FEAR
1024x768
1280x960
1600x1200
2048x1536
Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
144
133
111
77
Foxconn C51XEM2AA - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
138
129
108
78
? ? ? ? ?
FEAR High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 16X
1024x768
1280x960
1600x1200
2048x1536
Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
125
97
70
45
Foxconn C51XEM2AA - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
121
97
70
45
? ? ? ? ?
Serious Sam 2
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
153.4
151.2
149.9
127.5
Foxconn C51XEM2AA - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
153.8
152.3
151.4
128.0
? ? ? ? ?
Serious Sam 2 High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 16X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
152.4
141.4
122.8
91.5
Foxconn C51XEM2AA - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
153.9
142.0
123.3
91.6
? ? ? ? ?
Half life 2 FSAA 4X + Aniso 16X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
81.18
70.13
66.73
58.52
Foxconn C51XEM2AA - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
81.31
69.08
65.77
58.13
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 03
3DMark 03
Game2
Game3
Game3
Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
30023
261.6
213.0
181.9
Foxconn C51XEM2AA - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
30096
262.0
213.1
181.6
? ? ? ? ?
CPU Test
CPU Score ?
CPU Test 1 ?
CPU Test 2
Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
1421
155.7
25.7
?
Foxconn C51XEM2AA - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
1437
157.6
25.9
30.8
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 03
Single Texturinng
Multi Textur.
Vertex Shader
Pixel Shader 2.0
Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
8246.1
22445.7
88.7
411.1
Foxconn C51XEM2AA - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
8246.9
22441.2
88.7
410.4
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 05
3DMark 05
Game1
Game2
Game2
Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
13664
52.3
42.1
73.9
Foxconn C51XEM2AA - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
13667
52.7
41.9
73.9
? ? ? ? ?
CPU Test
CPU Score ?
CPU Test 1 ?
CPU Test 2
Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
7477
3.2
7.8
64.8
Foxconn C51XEM2AA - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
7317
3.1
7.6
30.8
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 05
Single Texturinng
Multi Textur.
Pixel Shader

VS/VS
complex

Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
9468.9
22765.0
638.9
130.0/95.0
Foxconn C51XEM2AA - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
9474.0
22776.5
638.0
129.9/95.0
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 06
3DMark 06
? ?
Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
8080
? ? ?
Foxconn C51XEM2AA - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
8062
? ? ?
? ? ? ? ?
SM2.0 Test
Score
GT1
GT2


Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
3628
28.971
31.503
?
Foxconn C51XEM2AA - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
3629
28.935
31.541
? ? ? ? ?
HDR/SM3.0 Test
Score
HDR1
HDR2


Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
3475
30.841
38.661
?
Foxconn C51XEM2AA - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
3462
30.846
38.389
? ? ? ? ?
CPU Test
Score
CPU1
CPU2


Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
2140
0.681
1.075
?
Foxconn C51XEM2AA - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
2133
0.669
1.087
? ? ? ? ?

PC Mark 2005

CPU
Memory
HDD
Total
Abit Fatal1ty AN9 32X - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
5737
5177
5307
6358
Foxconn C51XEM2AA - Leadtek PX7950GX2 TDH
5731
5217
5252
6357

In motherboard testing there is never a big difference between two boards with the same chipsets. The Doom 3 proves it but Foxconn C51 board manages to and up, up to one frame faster than the Abit one.

Foxconn also wins in Doom 3 with FSAA and Aniso by up to a single frame but loses at 20x15 by half of a frame.

Far Cry High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 8X shows a great difference. Abit Fatal1ty is six to seven frames faster in first three resolutions and almost the same at 20x15. Quake 4 runs 0 point seven frames to two point six frames faster on Fatal1ty board but at 16x12 Foxconn runs 0.3 frames faster. The difference is much smaller in first two resolutions in Quake 4 FSAA and Aniso on just a 0.3 advantage for Fatal1ty board, a single frame difference at 16x12 and 0.6 at 20x15.

In first three resolutions Fatal1ty wins in FEAR sometimes by as much as six frames. Still at 20x15 it wins by a single frame. Except at 10x7 where Fatality wins at the three top resolutions both boards scores identical.

Foxconn is up to 1.5 frames faster in Serious Sam 2 with and without effects. It just suits the board but Abit wins two from right tests but just marginally.

Except at 10x7 Foxconn board is slightly slower in Half Life 2 with effects on. Foxconn wins in 3Dmark03 but just for a lousy 73 points, and it runs a CPU just slightly faster under it. It wins 3Dmark05 by three points only, we have to call them tight but this time CPU scores better on Abit by 160 marks.

3Dmark06 runs eighteen frames faster on Abit Fatat1ty AN9 32X board and the CPU is seven marks higher than on Foxconn.

PCmark05 is almost identical and Abit wins by a single point. CPU is six points slower on Foxconn HDD is slightly slower but the memory runs sixty points faster. We told you think is the memory overclocker board but we will have to prove it one of these days.

In Short
Foxconn came a long way from its first motherboards. It took a winning combination, Nvidia proven reference design and made a board out of it. It offers a bunch of memory settings and it is the board for AMD memory overclockers. We don't know what happen with FEAR performance and why the board is so behind Abit one but all together we are satisfied with the performance of the board.

We would like to see E-SATA port on the board as these external E-SATA drives are getting popular. Apart of that we are happy with the board as matter a fact we are using it as our reference testing platform for graphic card and CPU testing.

Foxconn did a good job with this board but we guess a new BIOS can fix the sometimes fishy games performance and make some games even faster. In many games and tests Foxconn was the fastest but it can always get even faster. You can always make it better. ?

Reviewed and tested by Sanjin Rados and Fuad Abazovic

 

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