iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Foxconn A88GM Deluxe Motherboard

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  • CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 810
  • RAM: 2 x 2GB Apacer DDR3-1333 CL9 9-9-9-24-1T for Socket AM3 boards; 2 x 2GB GoodRAM PRO DDR2-1066 CL5 5-5-5-15-2T for Socket AM2+ boards
  • HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (SATA, 7200rpm)
  • Graphics card: ATI Radeon HD 4850, 512 MB GDDR3
  • PSU: AcBel ATX-550CA-AB8FB
  • OS: Windows Vista SP1 64-bit, Catalyst 9.2, latest chipset drivers


  • 7-Zip 4.65 x64
  • WinRAR 3.80
  • XviD 1.2.1
  • x264 r1129 x64
  • FarCry 2 (Ranch Medium)
  • Crysis (DX10, HOCbenchmark, VGA test, built-in demo)
  • Devil May Cry 4 (built-in benchmark)
  • World in Conlict (built-in benchmark)

To assess performance we measure time required to archive a 297MB set of 277 files of various types and convert a 636MB MPEG2 video using XviD and x264. We also measure frames per second in game demos. In FarCry 2 we run tests in 4 modes: low, medium, high and very high quality. The first three modes imply the aforesaid quality level, 1280x720 resolution, DX9 rendering, High Performance. The last mode implies: 1680x1050 resolution, Very High setting for both graphics and system, DX10 rendering. In Crysis we also use 4 modes at 1024x768 and 1280x1024 and run tests at Low and High quality in each mode. In Devil May Cry 4 we run two tests: 1280x720 (High DX9) and 1680x1050 (Super High DX10). In World in Conlict we run test in 4 modes: 1280x720 Low, 1280x720 Medium, 1680x1050 High, 1680x1050 Very High.

It's obvious which modes should be used with integrated graphics and which, with discrete graphics. Note that if a motherboard has no integrated graphics, performance tests are only used to check for serious layout or BIOS flaws and can be reduced to minimum. Vice versa, performance tests are indicative for motherboards with integrated graphics. And if a certain motherboard review lacks certain details, we might add respective test results to make up for it.

To assess capabilities of a motherboard and its BIOS, we overclock test CPUs (which ones depends on board's market segment) to a stable maximum with the help of Zalman CNPS9700 AM2 and Cooler Master Hyper Z600 coolers. At that we use all motherboard features, like CPU core voltage adjustments and, if needed, bus multiplier and clock adjustments (Hyper-Transport, CPU NB, etc.) For RAM we select a clock rate typical for this class of modules by adjusting its multiplier, or clock rate needed to maximize CPU core clock rate. The stability of an overclocked machine is assessed in Windows Vista with the help of AMD OverDrive stability test (all tests are run for 5 minutes). Note that since overclocking potential somewhat varies from one board to another, we are not focused on finding board's exact overclocking potential accurate to 1MHz. We just try to find out if a board hampers in CPU overclocking (due to insufficient voltage stabilizer power, etc.) and see how it performs in atypical modes, including automatic BIOS recovery in cases of overclocking issues (not requiring CMOS reset) and such.

Power consumption is assessed in the light-load mode (with text editor running) and in the heavy-load mode (FarCry 2, high quality, 1280x720). Processor's standard power-saving features are enabled. Also if a board has proprietary power-saving features, we examine their efficiency separately.

BIOS overclocking settings Availability Notes
Memory timings +  
Memory frequency + DDR3-800 to DDR3-1600
HT bus frequency (multiplier) +  
CPU reference frequency + 190 to 400 MHz
Graphics core frequency + 500 to 2000 MHz
Core unlocking -  
CPU multiplier + Cores and CPU NB
CPU voltage + +20 to 600 mV (cores and CPU NB)
Memory voltage + +25 to 400 mV
Chipset voltage + +100 to 300 mV (Northbridge)
+25 to 400 mV (HT bus)

The BIOS adjustment ranges of CPU voltage, as well as some other parameters, depend on the given processor. We publish the results of our AMD Phenom II X4 810. We used BIOS P02 released on May 21, 2010.

Obviously, A88GM Deluxe isn't meant for overclockers, due to a simple VRM at the very least. However, it offers almost all necessary options, except for CPU NB voltage. This limits processor overclocking, because you'll have to use smaller multipliers for that part. Since saving user profiles is not supported, and the defaults cannot be loaded in case of excessive overclocking, you should increase clock rates gradually. Otherwise you'll have to reset CMOS with a jumper and set everything anew.

CPU AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition 2.8 GHz AMD Phenom II X4 810 2.6 GHz
CPU frequency, MHz 3700 2860
CPU reference frequency (multiplier), MHz 200 (x18.5) 220 (x13)
Core/CPU NB voltage (according to BIOS), V 1.47/1.10 1.30/1.10
CPU NB frequency (multiplier), MHz 2200 (x11) 2200 (x10)
HT bus frequency (multiplier), MHz 2000 (x10) 1980 (x9)
Memory frequency DDR3-1333 DDR3-1073
Notes Increase core and CPU NB multipliers Increase reference frequency, reduce CPU NB and HT bus multipliers

When we were overclocking our standard processor, the reference frequency was limited by 220 MHz by the chipset's graphics core. This happens with only a minority of motherboards and is essentially a manufacturer's fault. The limit went up to 260 MHz with a discrete graphics card. While not a recod, that was a nice result.

As for the unlocked processor, it overclocked very nicely. The VRM heatsink temperature was reasonable, but it was cooled down by the CPU fan.

Performance and efficiency

We compared A88GM Deluxe with the previously reviewed Foxconn A9DA-S on the AMD 890GX chipset. Let's see how it differs from the junior counterpart.

Radeon HD 4850 Foxconn A9DA-S Foxconn A88GM Deluxe
Archiving with 7-Zip, min:sec 2:19 2:20
Archiving with WinRAR, min:sec 1:17 1:17
HDPlay (DXVA Off/On), CPU load 26%/3% 26%/3%
FarCry 2 (Very High@1680x1050), fps 60 62
World in Conflict (Very High@1680x1050), fps 29 29

Int. graphics Foxconn A9DA-S Foxconn A88GM Deluxe
Archiving with 7-Zip, min:sec 2:19 2:21
Archiving with WinRAR, min:sec 1:16 1:17
HDPlay (DXVA Off/On), CPU load 29%/3% 30%/4%
Crysis (Low@1024x768), fps 36 29
World in Conflict (Low@1680x1050), fps 32 24
FarCry 2 (Low@1280x720), fps 35 29

Obviously, there couldn't be any difference with a discrete graphics card. As for the integrated graphics, 890GX was naturally more powerful in terms of games. In all other aspects, high-bitrate HD video decoding included, there was no difference.

Enclosure power consumption

We measured power consumption with the wattmeter built into the PSU.

AMD Phenom II X4 810 + Radeon HD 4850 Foxconn A9DA-S Foxconn A88GM Deluxe
Text editing, Cool'n'Quiet On, W 61 105
Text editing, Cool'n'Quiet Off, W 78 105
Far Cry 2, W 155-191 146-206

AMD Phenom II X4 810 + chipset graphics Foxconn A9DA-S Foxconn A88GM Deluxe
Text editing, Cool'n'Quiet On, W 10 34
Text editing, Cool'n'Quiet Off, W 22 39
Far Cry 2, W 59-83 68-80

The results of the power consumption test were bewildering. It seemed the power-saving features just didn't work. Hardly a design imperfection, it was most likely a BIOS bug that should be fixed.


A88GM Deluxe is a decent motherboard that doesn't save on features, like many other microATX products do. On the upside, it has good power circuitry for its class, thought-out BIOS fan controls, eSATA, and horizontal SATA connectors. On the downside, it doesn't overclock well with the integrated graphics, and the power-saving features are not efficient. Both drawbacks will probably be fixed in newer BIOS versions.

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Page 2: Overclocking, power consumption, efficiency

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