Core 2 Duo processor has allowed Intel to reclaim its position as top dog in the
microprocessor market. While there have been a whole slew of high end and
mainstream motherboards released, in order for the processor to really succeed
more entry level motherboards are needed.
Consumers should find a good deal of value in boards like
the Foxconn P9657AA-8KS2H. With a retail price of $118 CDN
($106 US, £55GBP), the motherboard is certainly inexpensive yet comes with all
the basic requirements checked off. It has Gigabit networking, 7.1 channel High
Definition Azalia audio, PCI Express x16 for graphics cards, a nice collection
of SATA jacks and yes even an IDE channel.
Expansion is addressed via a PCI Express x4 and x1 slot, and three 32 bit PCI
slots. The amount of gear included in the box is pretty under-whelming, a USB
bracket or two would have gone a long way here.
itself was very easy to work with and we particularly like how Foxconn drops in
a eSATA port on the rear I/O. eSATA has many advantages over technologies like
IEEE 1394a/b and USB 2.0 (such as high bandwidth, low CPU usage).
The Foxconn system installation guide is clear and informative, but takes the
place of a full manual which we're not totally happy with.
Overall I think it is safe to say that the Foxconn
P9657AA-8KS2H motherboard performed very well for a P965 Express platform in the
benchmarks. We did witness a small blip in Super Pi and PCMark05, but that
didn't translate into poor office or 3D performance results.
If you want to build a lean powerful workstation computer, the Foxconn
P9657AA-8KS2H keeps up with the likes of the Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 pretty well and completely trounces
the socket AM2 AMD platform.
In 3D tests, the Foxconn P9657AA-8KS2H kept up with all
P965 Express motherboards tested, and this really just goes to show you that
when identical Intel chipsets and processors are concerned the platforms have
nearly identical performance curves. The same can be said for Socket AM2 AMD
The Intel Core 2 Duo processor really is the star of this show, and for a
little over a hundred bucks the Foxconn P9657AA-8KS2H is a great mainstream
motherboard. It might be light in terms of the big feature list in the sky, but
it doesn't lack in performance at all.
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