iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Foxconn A7DA-S Motherboard

A nearly perfect implementation of the AMD 790GX chipset.

November 27, 2008

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Testbed configurations:

  • CPU: AMD Phenom X4 9550
  • Memory: 2 x Corsair CM2X1024-6400C4 (2 GB, DDR2-800, 5-5-5-15-2T)
  • HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (SATA, 7200 rpm)
  • Graphics card: ATI Radeon HD3870, 512 MB GDDR4
  • Power supply unit: AcBel ATX-550CA-AB8FB
  • OS: Windows XP SP2.

We decided to compare the motherboard under review with ECS A790GXM-A on the same chipset, which graphics core operates at the same frequency by default (700 MHz) and uses DDR2-800 memory (of the same size -- 128 MB).

Test Int. graphics Discrete graphics
ECS A790GXM-A Foxconn A7DA-S ECS A790GXM-A Foxconn A7DA-S
Archiving with WinRAR, min:sec 1:38 1:38 1:38 1:38
MPEG4 (XviD) encoding, min:sec 4:44 4:45 4:44 4:43
Unreal Tournament 2004 (Medium@800x600), fps 54.2 55.6 59.3 59.2
Unreal Tournament 2004 (High@1024x768), fps 48.6 49.4 58.6 59.1
Unreal Tournament 2004 (Highest@1600x1200), fps 28.5 29.8 59.0 58.4
FarCry (Medium@800x600), fps 102.4 105.9 136.1 135.0
FarCry (High@1024x768), fps 72.6 76.2 125.8 125.9
FarCry (Highest@1600x1200), fps 33.2 35.0 125.8 125.4
DOOM III (Medium@800x600), fps 66.9 71.2 161.7 162.4
DOOM III (High@1024x768), fps 47.8 50.8 159.9 161.3
DOOM III (Highest@1600x1200), fps 22.8 24.5 158.3 156.6

Computing tests show parity. Both motherboards apparently use identical BIOS versions (AGESA) from AMD. Gaming tests reveal advantage of the Foxconn board owing to its faster memory (DDR3-1333).

Power consumption (entire system unit)

Phenom X4 9550 (Cool'n'Quiet OFF) Int. graphics Discrete graphics
ECS A790GXM-A Foxconn A7DA-S ECS A790GXM-A Foxconn A7DA-S
Text editing, W 45 54 72 61
Playing FarCry, W 77-98 78-95 108-137 102-126

Foxconn motherboard is apparently more efficient under load. To be more exact, maximum efficiency of power converters on this board falls to a higher power consumption range. So this motherboard is more economic with a graphics card installed. On the other hand, more robust power supply systems work for nothing in the idle mode with integrated graphics enabled, so the motherboard consumes more power in this mode than ECS A790GXM-A. Differences in power consumption may be affected not only by circuitry, but also by peculiarities of chipset/PCI Express power management programmed in BIOS. The effect of a given motherboard model on power consumption nuances is generally much greater than people often think. Nevertheless, we'd like to stress the word 'nuances' -- computer still remains one of the most economic home appliances. So you should consider differences in power consumption only as a third-rate factor to choose between models, which other parameters are equal.


This motherboard produces a strong positive impression both in terms of functionality and technical level. In fact, Foxconn hasn't had any problems with product quality for a long time already. But BIOS versions and some minor features often indicated that the company used to be manufacturing third-party designs for other brands. Now we can say that it's a very interesting motherboard (we have just started to review motherboards on this chipset, but we already have all grounds to assume that this board is on a par with products from major brands). If there's enough of these boards in stock and its price is at least similar as that of competing products (to say nothing of lower), it will certainly become very popular. And in our turn we decided to award this product for its original design.

The motherboard provided by the manufacturer,
ATI Radeon HD 3870 graphics card provided by PowerColor.

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