By the end of 2004 Intel took another step to increase performance of its processors. It launched a new Pentium 4 XE (Extreme Edition) 3.46 GHz supporting 266 MHz FSB (physical, which corresponds to 1066 MHz in terms of throughput). There followed a new Intel 925XE chipset supporting the new processor, which in its turn is a redesigned i925X. The only difference between them is that the 925XE supports 1066 MHz FSB and processors with 64-bit extensions, which Intel calls EM64T technology (de facto it's practically the same as the previous x86-64, which is now called AMD64). The new chipset does not officially support DDR2 667, but you can set this value in BIOS settings, if your motherboard allows memory frequency control. That's why, this memory type may be supported unofficially (which is often the case with chipsets, not only with Intel ones).
Foxconn has been cooperating with Intel for a long time, being a large manufacturer of motherboards for other brands. That's why in the light of new trends, when the company started to promote its own brand, it's not surprising that it wants to offer a motherboard based on the top chipset from its key partner. The new Foxconn motherboard is a pleasant surprise even when you just open the package. You will be impressed by the abundance of cables included into the bundle, all necessary drivers for integrated SATA controllers (there are three of them, by the way), which in its turn makes an impression of a complete well thought-out bundle.
PCB layout is rather good, though there may be problems, if you try to use all connectors (eight SATA and two IDE) in the bottom left part of the board. Access to jumpers is not hampered, when the motherboard is installed into a PC case. Short description of their functions is provided on the PCB. The 3-phase switching CPU voltage regulator uses three 1800 uF capacitors. And the memory voltage regulator uses five 1000 uF capacitors, four 470 uF capacitors, and several ones of a lesser capacitance.
The motherboard is notable for a Silicon Image SataLink SATA controller, which supports command queues, and fairly good quality of the integrated audio (Realtek HD ALC880). Foxconn 925XE7AA differs from its predecessor Foxconn 925A01-8EKRS (based on the i925X chipset) not only by the core logic, but also by three IDE connectors instead of only one (1 x IDE is actually not enough for a motherboard of this class). Motherboard dimensions – 305x245 mm (full-sized ATX, ten-screw mount, all motherboard edges are firmly fixed). The ITE IT8712F-A chip is used to monitor:
Onboard ports, sockets, and connectors:
Back panel (left to right, blockwise):
General performance: Good (Details).
We used BIOS dated 24.10.2004, the latest available BIOS version at the time of our tests.
Foxconn 925XE demonstrates good test results, which is quite expectable from a high end motherboard. We liked very much the irreproachable stable operation and the lack of any glitches. Differences between the results demonstrated by Foxconn and MSI 925XE Neo Platinum are insignificant, so it's hard to say for sure which motherboard is faster. And a couple of seconds must not play a pivotal role when choosing one of these motherboards.
Foxconn 925XE7AA-8EKRS2 is well equipped: besides the Silicon Image controller supporting four SATA ports, there is also an ITE controller for Ultra ATA/133, two gigabit Ethernet controllers from Broadcom. Also note three PCIE x1 ports and a FireWire controller. Foxconn has launched a reliable, high-quality product, which can satisfy the most demanding requirements. But these satisfied requirements come at a cost.
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