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Foxconn NF4SLI7AA-8EKRS2 Motherboard Review

Foxconn NF4SLI7AA-8EKRS2 Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Based around the versatile nVIDIA nForce4 SLI Intel Edition, the Foxconn NF4SLI7AA-8EKRS2 supports Socket 775 Pentium 4/D/XE and Celeron D processors.
 88% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Foxconn Sep 28 2005   C. Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Foxconn NF4SLI7AA-8EKRS2

Intel's processor and chipset divisions are not playing nicely together. Socket 775 processors and motherboards have been out for just over a year, and we have witnessed Intel release a whole plethora of supporting chipsets emerge. For example, first there was the Intel 925X, followed closely by the Intel 925XE chipset which added 1066 MHz FSB support... and then came the Intel 955X which added dual core support. In the upcoming quarter, Intel will release yet another chipset, the Intel 975X,which adds nVIDIA SLI and ATi CrossFire dual videocard compatibility. By that time it will be the fourth high end chipset to be released in little over 12 months time!

Hardcore gamers or power users contemplating purchasing a new Intel system right now should really only consider a motherboard based on the nVIDIA nForce4 SLI Intel Edition chipset. Seriously. The Nvidia chipset not only supports more features than Intel's best current core logic offerings, it is also very fast and more future proof. The downside is that motherboards based on the nForce4 SLI Intel Edition chipset are pricey, but in the same range as 955X motherboards so which do you think is a better value? ;-)

The Foxconn Winfast motherboards that have passed through the PCStats test labs recently have gotten plenty of attention from us. There's just something about 'new motherboard smell'... a very user friendly motherboard component layout, excellent user's manual and solid performance that's hard to beat.

Based around the versatile nVIDIA nForce4 SLI Intel Edition chipset, the Foxconn NF4SLI7AA-8EKRS2 motherboard which is the focus of this review boasts support for Socket 775 Pentium 4/D/XE and Celeron D processors running on a 533/800 and 1066 MHz Front Side Bus (FSB).

Its four 240 pin DDR-2 RAM slots accommodate up to 4GB of (unbuffered, non ECC) DDR2-667 memory (DDR2-800 unofficially supported). Integrated peripherals include a two port Silicon Image SiI3132 Serial ATA II/RAID controller (in addition to the the native four port nVIDIA MCP04 Serial ATA II controller), IEEE 1394b Firewire, dual Gigabit network cards (NICs) and 7.1-channel audio.

Foxconn NF4SLI7AA-8EKRS2 Motherboard


Quick Installation Guide Users Manual, Driver CD, HDD Driver Diskettes, Two Ultra/133 IDE Rounded Cables, Two Serial ATA cables, One Rounded Floppy Cable, Two Molex Y Serial ATA Power Cables,IEEE 1394b bracket, USB Bracket, I/O Shield, SLI Bridge

The Foxconn NF4SLI7AA-8EKRS2 is pretty well equipped, but should you need something like a TV card or 802.11g wireless NIC which is not included, expansion is possible care of two PCI Express x1 (three if you do not run SLI, the PCI Express x16 acts as another PCI-E x1 slot) slots as well as two traditional 32-bit PCI slots. The second PCI Express x16 slot is available to users who want to employ two nVIDIA Scalable Link Interface (SLI) compatible videocards. Retail price on this pupply is about $197 CDN ($169 US).

The overall layout of components on the NF4SLI7AA-8EKRS2 motherboard is excellent, and the PCB itself is very well labeled. All headers and ports on the motherboard have labels close by, so even novice users should not have much difficulty installing this motherboard for the first time.

Since we've all got years of IT drudgery under our belts here at PCSTATS in rebuilding machines, let me just focus in on the two 3.5" floppy disks which come with this package. These are the SiI3132 and NVRAID hard drive driver diskettes for that "press F6 to install third party RAID drivers" point in the installation of WindowsXP we all know and "love." I wish more manufacturers would follow Foxconn's lead here; most companies did supply motherboards with driver diskettes in the past, but for some reason stopped in the last couple years. They are a life saver when doing a fresh install - especially if there isn't a PC nearby to create you own diskettes from the motherboard installation CD!

The nForce4 SLI Intel Edition chipset and MCP04 Southbridge are notorious for running hot, so heat is dealt with rather effectively in this instance. The nForce chipset is cooled with a rather large active aluminum heatsink and the Southbridge had a decent sized passive aluminum heatsink on it. Both heatsinks are removable should you want to replace them with a third-party solution. We'd recommend you measure things out before splurging on something else.

The user's manual and quick install guide that come with the Foxconn NF4SLI7AA-8EKRS2 motherboard are well written and detailed, but easy enough for novice users to read and understand. The chapter overviews are very helpful when browsing the manual and will save users time when searching for something specific. The quick installation guide covers a lot of information and in several different languages.

All nForce4 SLI Intel Edition Intel based motherboards use a HyperTransport between the two chipsets. The link that connects things up on the Foxconn NF4SLI7AA-8EKRS2 motherboard runs at 1600 MHz, and offers a 1.6GB/s 16 bit up/down connection which is more than what Intel's latest offerings provide.

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Contents of Article: Foxconn NF4SLI7AA-8EKRS2
 Pg 1.  — Foxconn NF4SLI7AA-8EKRS2 Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  More details about the Foxconn NF4SLI7AA-8EKRS2 motherboard
 Pg 3.  The Foxconn BIOS
 Pg 4.  Benchmarks: SYSmark2004
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: Winstone 2004, Winbench 99
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra, Super Pi
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: PCMark04, PCMark05
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: 3DMark2001, 3DMark05
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: Comanche 4, X2: The Threat
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: UT2003, UT2004
 Pg 11.  Benchmarks: Doom 3 and Conclusions

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