iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Foxconn WinFast MCP61VM2MA-RS2H and Foxconn WinFast MCP61SM2MA-ERS2H — Motherboards Based on Junior Modifications of NVIDIA GeForce 6100 (Socket AM2) Integrated Chipset

February 16, 2007

  • NVIDIA GeForce 6100 chipset (a single bridge GeForce 6100 + nForce 400 (MCP61VM2MA-RS2H) and GeForce 6100 + nForce 405 (MCP61SM2MA-ERS2H))

Chipset manufacturers, as well as CPU manufacturers, just love dividing the market into segments, which are getting narrower in time, and offering different modifications of the same product for each segment. We have an impression that a user will soon be suggested to take into account the color of his/her PC case or what browser he/she uses, "because these are very important nuances, taken into account in our products!" However, at the sight of so many chipsets, motherboard manufacturers do not think about the color of a browser. They ponder whether they will have to create individual designs for each modification. There is nothing unnatural about it for motherboards on expensive chipsets. But it's much more convenient to have a minimal number of modifications in the economic segment to be manufactured on a mass scale. On the other hand, we can understand chip makers wanting to save on inexpensive chipsets. It makes it inexpedient to produce low-end pin-compatible models with sterling chips and some functions locked on the logical level.

But in case of GeForce 6100 + nForce 400 and GeForce 6100 + nForce 405 chipsets, NVIDIA did not niggle and used the same dies, even though the junior model supports only two PCI Express lanes, while the top model — 10 lanes. We can easily see it on the photo. They are certainly compatible in connections as well, which allowed Foxconn to use the same design for motherboards on both chipsets.

Foxconn WinFast MCP61VM2MA-RS2H

Foxconn WinFast MCP61SM2MA-ERS2H

On the whole, this design is praiseworthy. The only drawback is memory slot latches blocked by a video card. As you can see on the photo, the model on GeForce 6100 + nForce 400 is equipped with a graphics port, even though the chipset officially lacks it. Foxconn engineers got the most out of the existing two PCI Express lanes, having installed two ports. One of them indeed accepts any video card, and seems to work as any sterling PCI Express x16. If you enable the corresponding BIOS option, integrated video can work together with discrete video, so we get an opportunity to connect three monitors. We are going to evaluate how "defective" this radical reduction of PCI Express lanes is from the point of view of gaming performance.

What concerns heat dissipation, the cut-down nForce 6100 is up to the mark. It's definitely an absolute champion in this parameter on the market of desktop chipsets. I have an impression that motherboard manufacturers can do without heatsinks for these models. However, we'd like to see the heatsinks to be sure that such a motherboard will be stable even in a tight PC case working under load for a long time. What's really topical for top GeForce 6100 and 6150 models in nasty conditions, it won't fail due to systematic overheating.

The 3-phase switching voltage regulator of the processor incorporates three field-effect transistors per channel, five 3300 uF capacitors from OST and four 1500 uF capacitors from United-Chemicon. Memory voltage regulator is reinforced with L elements. It uses OST capacitors.

According to the official web site, motherboards come in two bundles. Along with our samples, there exist their full counterparts - RS2HV and ERS2HV. The letter V stands for the official certificate of compatibility with Windows Vista Premium. Nevertheless, we hasn't found out what will stop Vista from running on a computer with a motherboard without V. We successfully installed this operating system. What concerns the letter E, it stands for a FireWire controller in a Foxconn motherboard. Motherboard dimensions — 245×245 mm (microATX), nine-screw mount, all corners are firmly fixed.

System monitoring (ITE IT8716F-S, according to BIOS Setup)

  • CPU core and VTT voltage, +3.3, +5, +12 V, +5 V Standby and battery
  • RPM of 2 fans
  • CPU and board temperatures (by the corresponding embedded sensors)
  • Smart Fan — automatic rotational speed control for a CPU cooler. There are three parameters available for adjustment — minimal temperature that corresponds to minimal fan speed; maximal temperature, when fan speed reaches its maximum; and frequency growth ratio per each degree within the range specified by the previous two parameters. This scheme is typical of Foxconn. But unfortunately, we failed to get any fan response (it did not matter whether 3-pin or 4-pin fans) to Smart Fan with the current version of BIOS on this motherboard. We also failed to reduce the rotational speed of CPU and system fans using Tiger One, which comes shipped with this motherboard. This utility has an option to control fan speed (0-100%). We can only hope that this bug will be fixed in the next BIOS versions.

Onboard ports, sockets, and connectors

  • Processor socket (Socket AM2, officially supports all AMD Athlon 64/X2/FX/Sempron processors for this socket)
  • 2 x DDR2 SDRAM DIMM (up to 4 GB DDR2-400/533/667/800, dual-channel mode)
  • 1 x PCIEx16 for a video card (in x1 mode (MCP61VM2MA-RS2H) or x8 mode (MCP61SM2MA-ERS2H))
  • 1 x PCIEx1
  • 2 x PCI
  • Power connectors: standard ATX 2.2 (24 pins) and 4-pin ATX12V to power a processor
  • 1 x FDD
  • 1 x IDE (Parallel ATA) for two ATA133 devices - chipset-based
  • 2 x SATA-II (Serial ATA II) for two SATA300 devices, chipset-based, connected drives can form RAID 0 and 1
  • 2 connectors for brackets with 4 additional USB ports
  • Connector for the bracket with an additional FireWire port (IEEE1394a)
  • 1 x CD/DVD audio connector
  • Connectors for analog audio ins and outs on the front panel
  • S/PDIF-Out connector
  • COM-port connector
  • 1 x standard IrDA connector
  • Connector for a chassis intrusion sensor
  • 2 x fan headers with rpm control.

Back panel (left to right, blockwise)

Foxconn WinFast MCP61VM2MA-RS2H

Click the image to open the rear view of this motherboard
  • PS/2 mouse and keyboard
  • 1 x COM, 1 x LPT, 1 x VGA
  • 2 x USB
  • 2 x USB and 1 x RJ-45 (Fast Ethernet)
  • 3 x Analog Audio (Line-in, Line-out, Mic-in).

Foxconn WinFast MCP61SM2MA-ERS2H

Click the image to open the rear view of this motherboard
  • PS/2 mouse and keyboard
  • 1 x COM, 1 x LPT, 1 x VGA
  • 2 x USB, 1 x FireWire 400 (6-pin)
  • 2 x USB and 1 x RJ-45 (Fast Ethernet)
  • 3 x Analog Audio (Line-in, Line-out, Mic-in).

Package Contents

  • Package: a small box of the unified WinFast-series design
  • Documentation: a poster with illustrated specifications of the motherboard and installation instructions, a detailed manual in English is available on the web site
  • Cables: 1 x SATA, power converter for two SATA devices, 1 x ATA66
  • Rear I/O shield
  • CD with drivers and proprietary Foxconn utilities.

The set of proprietary utilities includes: Tiger One for system monitoring (it alerts a user when monitored parameters go beyond the admissible limits), overclocking (similar to BIOS tools), and Fox LiveUpdate for automatic BIOS updates (it can also check for updates on the official web site). The bundle also includes Norton Internet Security 2006.

Integrated Controllers

  • Audio, based on the chipset support for HD Audio and Realtek ALC861, 7.1 audio support (the motherboard is equipped with a 5.1-ch output), with front line-in/out, CD-In, and S/PDIF-Out jacks
  • Network: Fast Ethernet, 10/100 Mbps, based on Realtek RTL8201CL
  • FireWire, supporting two FireWire 400 ports (IEEE1394a) based on VIA VT6308P (available only in Foxconn WinFast MCP61SM2MA-ERS2H).

The integrated audio quality was tested in 16bit, 44 kHz using the RightMark Audio Analyzer 5.5 test application and the ESI Juli@ sound card:

Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB: +0.14, -1.27 Average
Noise level, dB (A): -85.6 Good
Dynamic range, dB (A): 85.4 Good
THD, %: 0.024 Good
Intermodulation distortion + Noise, %: 0.031 Good
Channel crosstalk, dB: -87.2 Excellent
IMD at 10 kHz, %: 0.377 Average

General performance: Good. The inexpensive HDA codec from Realtek does not produce good impressions. According to our objective tests, it's no better than an average AC’97 codec. To all appearances, it's not installed very well, as we have already met this codec in motherboards, where it demonstrated a tad higher results. Hence the natural decision to use the 6-channel output instead of the 8-ch one. You will hardly want to build a good audio system with this integrated solution. As both motherboards demonstrated similar results with deviations within the measurement error, we publish only results of the MCP61VM2MA-RS2H.

Proprietary technologies and peculiarities

  • SuperBoot — PC boot acceleration: the current system parameters are stored to be used at startup in order to skip device initialization and self-diagnostics and proceed right to the OS loader; when the system configuration is changed (or at any boot up error) the system automatically performs POST and stores the new parameters
  • SuperRecovery creates a backup in the hidden area of the hard drive and restores this data, when necessary
  • SuperLogo — editing the BIOS startup logo
  • SuperBIOS-protect — BIOS protection from unauthorized flashing.


Jumpers and switches Clear CMOS jumper  
Award BIOS v6.00PG Allows to disable specific CPU functions -  
Memory timings + 1T/2T Memory Timing, CAS Latency, RAS to CAS Delay, RAS to RAS Delay, Row Precharge Time, Min RAS Active Time, Write Recovery Time, Precharge Time, Row Cycle Time, Write Recovery Time
Memory frequency selection + Auto, 400, 533, 667, 800 MHz (you actually specify a multiplier to the HTT frequency)
HT bus setup + multiplier (×1—×5 at integer steps) and capacity (8 bit or 16 bit)
Peripheral bus frequency control + PCI-E = 100—150 MHz
PCI IRQ manual assignment +  
FSB frequency setup + 200 — 450 MHz at 1 MHz steps
CPU multiplier + from ×4, at integer steps
CPU core voltage control + -0.0500—+0.325 V at 0.025 V steps
Memory voltage control + 1.80—2.50 V at 0.05 V steps
HT (VTT) bus voltage control + 1.20—1.50 V at 0.05 V steps
Chipset voltage control + interface circuits: 1.20—1.50 V at 0.05 V steps
core: -0.050—+0.325 V at 0.025 V steps

We used BIOS P23 dated 29.11.06, the latest release version. The mentioned BIOS parameters are available in this version, but the viability of non-standard settings hasn't been tested.

Variety of overclocking functions in BIOS seems complete. As these are almost the cheapest motherboards from Foxconn, they do not belong to the group of products for enthusiasts, we can only conjecture the reasons why engineers decided to offer so many functions. Anyway, test results are somewhat disappointing. It's evidently not enough to open these options in BIOS, which are usually locked in inexpensive motherboards.


In order to evaluate motherboard and its BIOS, we overclock our testbed processor to a maximum stable level. We use all features of the motherboard in this test, including rasing CPU voltage and adjusting multipliers and frequencies of system and peripheral buses, if necessary (but if, for example, reducing Hyper-Transport frequency does not improve overclocking, we leave the default multiplier). Memory is set to the standard frequency for a given memory module (multiplier correction), if a manufacturer does not publish any ways to improve memory overclocking. Otherwise, we analyze their efficiency as well. In order to evaluate stability of the overclocked system, we load Windows XP and run WinRAR performance test for 10 minutes (Tools — Benchmark and hardware test). As overclocking potential is an individual property of a given motherboard sample to some degree, we don't set the task to determine overclocking potential to within a single MHz. In practice, we are to find out whether CPU overclocking will be limited by a motherboard as well as to evaluate its behavior in non-standard modes, including automatic restoration of a correct frequency after a failed overclocking attempt, etc.

  Clock, MHz FSB Clock, MHz Core voltage (according to system monitoring in BIOS), V HT bus frequency (multiplier), MHz
Athlon 64 X2 4000+ (2.0 GHz) 2700 270 1.45 810 (×3)

The result is not bad at all, though it does not break any records (our processor can do better with increased voltage; but in this case, the motherboard was a limiting factor, to be more exact the motherboards — they demonstrated identical results). The impression was spoilt by operating instability. Having reset parameters, we made another overclocking attempt on one of the motherboards, but we failed to achieve such high results, even though we tried to raise voltage at the chipset, HT bus, and changed other settings (nothing of the sort was done for the first successful attempt). Aware of this peculiarity, we tested the second motherboard more thoroughly and repeated overclocking three times. Two times out of three we managed to reach maximum frequency, but then the motherboard just stopped responding to the increased frequency - it restored the default frequency each time we rebooted the computer! By the way, the emergency frequency reset procedure is not ideal. Once you increase the frequency, the motherboard after emergency reset will fail to overclock until you clear CMOS with a jumper (just like we have mentioned, it just doesn't respond to setting an increased frequency).


Testbed configurations:

  • CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+
  • Memory: 2 x Kingston KHX7200D2K2/1G (DDR2-800, 5-5-5-15-2T)
  • HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 (SATA, 7200 rpm)
  • Video card: ATI Radeon X1900XTX, 512 MB GDDR3
  • Power supply unit: Chieftec CFT-560-A12C
  • OS: Windows XP SP2

We decided to compare our motherboards with the ECS GeForce6100SM-M on NVIDIA GeForce 6100 + nForce 405. Its performance is on the level with motherboards on GeForce 6100 + nForce 410, including games, even though only 8 PCI Express lanes are allocated for the graphics port.

Test integrated video
ECS GeForce6100SM-M Foxconn MCP61VM2MA-RS2H Foxconn MCP61SM2MA-ERS2H
Archiving with 7-Zip, min:sec 6:43 6:52 6:48
MPEG4 (XviD) encoding, min:sec 6:07 6:08 6:07
Unreal Tournament 2004 (Low@640×480), fps 40.0 39.7 40.3
Unreal Tournament 2004 (High@1024×768), fps 17.3 19.8 20.1
FarCry (Medium@800×600), fps 28.9 28.5 29.4
DOOM III (Medium@800×600), fps 12.9 12.9 13.1

Test discrete video
ECS GeForce6100SM-M Foxconn MCP61VM2MA-RS2H Foxconn MCP61SM2MA-ERS2H
Archiving with 7-Zip, min:sec 6:39 6:58 6:48
MPEG4 (XviD) encoding, min:sec 6:06 6:13 6:08
Unreal Tournament 2004 (Low@640×480), fps 59.3 58.9 59.3
Unreal Tournament 2004 (High@1024×768), fps 56.3 55.8 56.1
FarCry (Medium@800×600), fps 118.1 114.1 117.9
DOOM III (Medium@800×600), fps 129.0 114.7 127.4

Performance analysis of motherboards is rarely interesting these days. And the cases when we are interested in the tests with an external video card are unique. In this case, the integrated video core on the motherboards under review evidently operates at the standard frequency. Performance drop in non-graphical tests caused by additional load on the memory controller from the video core is minimal. On the whole, except for the results of Foxconn WinFast MCP61VM2MA-RS2H in external video card mode, the results leave no room for comments. In the latter case, the difference just must be - that's where the video card "sits" on a single PCI Express lane. It must be insufficient for modern video cards? In practice, the results are not that simple — the inexplicable lag in "serious" applications (the only explanation is that the motherboard does not allow to select an external video card as the only video output device; to make it "primary", you have to reassign video output in Windows). What concerns games, only DOOM III results are worse.

We've carried out additional tests with a less powerful video card and in heavier modes. As is well known, peak load on a graphical interface during a game appears when textures are uploaded for frame rendering. Thus, chances for a lag are higher for a video card with less memory in case of registering average as well as minimal fps.

Test ATI Radeon X1900XTX 512 MB ATI Radeon X800XL 256 MB
Foxconn MCP61VM2MA-RS2H Foxconn MCP61SM2MA-ERS2H Foxconn MCP61VM2MA-RS2H Foxconn MCP61SM2MA-ERS2H
F.E.A.R. (Max@1024×768), average fps 75 78 42 44
F.E.A.R. (Max@1024×768), minimal fps 35 37 20 22
FarCry (Highest@1600×1200), average fps 113 116 77 116
FarCry (Highest@1600×1200), minimal fps 59 65 48 62
DOOM III (High@1024×768), fps 107 123 89 103
DOOM III (Highest@1600×1200), fps 76 88 42 58

A video card with less memory indeed "helps" detect the advantage of a fast interface, especially in high resolutions. But it only concerns rather simple games from the point of view of modern GPUs. But the current tendency implies increasingly complex shader computations, which may turn even the most powerful processors (which determine the resulting fps level) into a bottleneck in high resolutions. On the contrary, video memory is getting cheaper and it's not difficult to install sufficient memory so that a GPU does not need system memory. It's all the more expedient, considering that video memory size in system requirements of games is often a determining factor. Lots of users go to shop for a video card "supporting DirectX 9.0 and equipped with 256 MB of memory".

To all appearances, actuality of enlarging graphics bus throughput is not growing in time. It even goes down (at least for systems with a single video card). And from the practical (users')point of view, the probable upgrade to PCI Express 2.0 in the nearest future is no more justified than the upgrade from AGP x8 to PCI Express x16. It does not mean, of course, that assembling a gaming computer now, you should consider motherboards with a cut-down graphics bus (fortunately, the choice and prices of motherboards with sterling PCI Express x16 are more than acceptable). But if a user of this motherboard decides to buy a decent video card with a state-of-the-art GPU and sufficient memory, it will be able to play decent games.


Proceeding with our analysis of motherboards on "twice" integrated chipsets GeForce 6100 + nForce 400 and GeForce 6100 + nForce 405, we found out that despite the obvious positioning of such motherboards for the market of inexpensive office computers, they can also be used for inexpensive home PCs. Considering the high efficiency (minimal heat dissipation), such motherboards look well in compact PC cases for low-noise systems, entry-level media centers.

What concerns motherboards from Foxconn, being good in design and implementation, they are still less attractive than competing products as a fault of irritating BIOS bugs. They appear only when you try to get most of your BIOS settings. Besides, BIOS updates come out on a regular basis, so at least Smart Fan will be fixed. What concerns overclocking, successful attempts are rare for motherboards of this class. It makes sense for Foxconn to grow in this direction, if the company wants to use overclocking options as a competitive advantage. Otherwise, it would be better to limit the choice of settings to fully functional ones.

Foxconn WinFast MCP61VM2MA-RS2H on the manufacturer's web site

Foxconn WinFast MCP61SM2MA-ERS2H on the manufacturer's web site

The motherboards are kindly provided by the manufacturer

Dmitry Laptev (lpt@ixbt.com)
February 16, 2007

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