iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Foxconn 915M03-G-8EKRS2 Mainboard
Based on Intel 915G

We are reviewing Foxconn mainboards for the first time (Alas? No, why. We are just stating the fact...), but this does not mean that they somehow differ from all other mainboards of this class. This class is called "typical Middle-End at an acceptable price". Unless (considering the main specialization of the manufacturer) we can count on the high quality connectors :). The mainboard is rather functional for its format, perhaps its only drawback is the scarcity of PATA connectors (only one actually), but this limitation is imposed by the chipset as well as by the form factor.

PCB layout is usual and... inconvenient – the form factor dictates its terms. Access to jumpers may be hampered when the mainboard is in a case, their description is provided on the PCB. The 3-phase switching voltage regulator of the processor incorporates three 1800 uF capacitors and eight 560 uF capacitors. The PCB also contains voltage regulators for the PCI-E x16 bus (2x1000 uF) and for memory (4x1000 uF).

The mainboard lacks the AUX-In and WOM connectors, which are provided by the PCB layout. Mainboard dimensions – 245x245 mm ("wide" mATX, eight-screw mount, the fore-left PCB edge may sag). The ITE IT8712F-A chip is used to monitor:

  • CPU and memory voltage, +3.3 and +/-12 V, VBAT
  • RPM of 2 fans
  • CPU temperature (by the embedded CPU sensor)
  • board temperature (by the on-board sensor)

Onboard ports, sockets, and connectors

  • Processor socket (Socket 775)
  • 4 x DDR2 SDRAM DIMM (differ by color, grouped in pairs)
  • 1 x PCI-E x16 (with a latch)
  • 2 x PCI-E x1
  • 1 x PCI (32bit, 33MHz)
  • Power connectors: standard EPS12V (24 pins) and 4-pin connector for 12 V
  • 1 x FDD
  • 1 x IDE (Parallel ATA) – in the chipset
  • 4 x SATA (Serial ATA) – all in the chipset
  • 2 connectors for brackets with additional USB (2.0) ports
  • Connector for the bracket with an additional FireWire port
  • 1 x CD/DVD audio connector
  • 1 x standard IrDA connector
  • Connector for a case open sensor
  • WOL connector (Wake-On-LAN)
  • TPM connector (Trusted Platform Module)
  • Headers for additional Audio-Outs and S/PDIF
  • 2 x fan connectors (both with RPM control)

Back panel (left to right, blockwise)

  • PS/2 mouse and keyboard
  • 1 x LPT, 1 x COM, 1 x VGA (D-Sub)
  • 2 x USB and FireWire
  • 2 x USB and 1 x RJ-45 (Gigabit Ethernet)
  • 3 x Audio (Mic-In, Line-In, Front)
  • 3 x Audio (Center/Sub, Rear, Side)

Package Contents

  • Standard design box
  • Documentation (in English):
    • user's guide
    • SATA RAID setup guide
    • poster with short instructions how to install and setup the mainboard

  • Cables:
    • ATA66/100/133
    • 1 x FDD
    • 1 x SerialATA (with a SATA power converter)

  • Rear panel bracket
  • Floppy with SATA RAID drivers
  • CD with software:
    • mainboard drivers
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader
    • Norton Internet Security 2004
    • Foxconn SuperUtilities
    • DirectX 9.0b

One can note the SATA power converter (useful accessory for the owners of power units without Serial ATA power connectors) and Norton Internet Security 2004 – fairly good personal firewall (the latest version). Foxconn SuperUtilites is a set of utilities, which functionality can be easily guessed from their titles: SuperBoot, SuperBIOS-Protect, SuperStep (overclocking), SuperLogo, SuperUpdate.

Integrated Controllers

  • Avance Logic ALC880 HD Audio Codec supporting 7.1 surround sound audio, with front line-in/out and S/PDIF jacks
  • Network controller based on the Realtek RTL8110S-32 chip supporting 10Base-T/100Base-TX/1000Base-T
  • FireWire based on the VIA VT6307 chip supporting two FireWire ports

It's interesting to see the FireWire support in the mainboard of the mATX format, which is traditionally associated with inexpensive budget solutions.

The integrated audio quality was tested in 16bit, 44 kHz using the RightMark Audio Analyzer 5.1 test application and the Terratec DMX 6fire sound card:

FR passband ripple (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB:
+0.14, -0.16
Very good
Noise level , dB (A):
Very good
Dynamic range, dB (A):
Very good
THD, %:
Very good
Intermodulation distortions, %:
Very good
Channel crosstalk, dB:

General performance: Very good (details).


Jumpers and switches Clear CMOS jumper  
Flash recovery jumper (to block Boot Block BIOS flashing)
In Award BIOS v6.00PGMemory timings+CAS Latency, RAS to CAS Delay, RAS Precharge, Precharge Delay
Memory frequency selection+Auto, DDR2-400, DDR2-533
AGP bus setup+ 
PCI bus setup +  
PCI bus setup- 
PCI frequency divider setup - 
PCI IRQ manual assignment+ 
FSB frequency setup+ 100-350 MHz at 1 MHz steps
CPU multiplier+ x4-x50
CPU core voltage control+Default, -0.0375 - +0.1 V to voltage nominal at 0.125 V steps
Memory voltage control - 
Chipset voltage control - 
PCI-E bus voltage control - 

We used BIOS dated 29.05.2004, the latest available BIOS version at the time of our tests.

Preliminary test results

We'll provide one of the diagrams from the future review. Foxconn 915M03-G-8EKRS2 results are represented by the "i915G/DDR2-533" bar:


Dmitry Majorov (destrax@ixbt.com)
9 August, 2004

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