iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Foxconn A7VA Motherboard

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Products based on chipsets with integrated graphics are getting increasingly popular in the Mid-End segment. There is nothing surprising about it -- such a motherboard with good functionality, including a couple of video outputs, and standard expansion capacity (owing to the full-size design), and even overclockable, costs less than $100.

Such motherboards are usually based on GeForce 8200, cheap single-bridge chipset (and thus cheap PCB layout). However, you can also come across models with AMD 780G, which features a more attractive integrated graphics core (these products appeal to users, who don't want to install a graphics card at all or intend to install it later). Today we are going to examine a rare (if not unique) combination of full-size layout and AMD 780V, officially addressed to office computers, cheaper than 780G, but equipped with a graphics core, which is only a little slower than 780G. Some functions are cut down (you can read the review of these chipsets), but they can still compete with motherboards based on GeForce 8200. And most importantly, this product supplements the list of inexpensive full-size motherboards. It's no secret that you often choose a motherboard not by global chipset characteristics, but by availability of certain slots and connectors in a necessary combination.

This motherboard has a successful classic design -- it can accommodate a graphics card of any dimensions without hampering other devices or blocking 3 x PCI. Owners of PCI devices must be pleased, because this board does not have any connectors behind the outermost PCI slot (for brackets with USB, etc).

The cooling system includes a heat sink on the Northbridge, which is too large for this warm chipset. MOSFETs in the voltage regulator of a processor are also covered by a heat sink with a thermal pad between them to provide excellent contact.

The 5-phase switching voltage regulator of the processor incorporates three field-effect transistors per channel in four channels responsible for supplying power to processor cores. The fifth core, responsible for a memory controller and HT bus, incorporates two transistors. The power circuit also contains nine 820 uF solid-state capacitors and four 1000 uF electrolytic capacitors (from Mitsubishi). There are no empty seats on this motherboard. Foxconn also offers another model on the same chipset (A7VA-S) with a reinforced cooling system (the heat sink on the chipset is connected to the heat sink on the voltage regulator with a heat pipe). And the voltage regulator uses only solid-state capacitors (the list of supported processors is the same, though, that is models with TDP below 125 W). Motherboard dimensions -- 305x245 mm (standard ATX), nine-screw mount, all corners are firmly fixed.

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Article navigation:

Page 1: Introduction, design

Page 2: Interfaces, package, controllers

Page 3: BIOS, performance, conclusions

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