iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Foxconn A9DA-S Motherboard

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Foxconn A9DA-S is based on the AMD 890GX chipset (AMD 890GX Northbridge + SB850 Southbridge). It has 6 SATA 6Gbps ports (RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5). Additional controllers are listed below.

  • Integrated audio based on the 8-channel Realtek ALC888 HDA codec. Optical S/PDIF Out on the backpanel.
  • Gigabit Ethernet based on Atheros 8131E-AL1E (PCIe x1).
  • FireWire based on VIA VT6308S (PCI) supporting 2 IEEE 1394a ports (one on the bracket, one on the backpanel).
  • System monitoring based on ITE IT8721F. The BIOS can automatically control one CPU and two system fans (4-pin only). You can set temperature thresholds, at which fans should stop or work at the slowest speed. This may come in handy, if you're building a quiet PC.

We assessed the integrated audio solution in the 16-bit/44kHz mode using RightMark Audio Analyzer 6.2.3 and an ESI Juli@ sound card.

Frequency response (40Hz to 15kHz), dB: +0.01, -0.05 Excellent
Noise level, dB(A) -87.9 Good
Dynamic range, dB(A) 88.0 Good
THD, % 0.0041 Very good
THD + noise, dB(A) -81.8 Good
IMD + noise, % 0.011 Very good
Channel crosstalk, dB -90.9 Excellent
IMD at 10 kHz, % 0.012 Very good

Overall grade: Very good. The results are typical for this popular codec.



  • 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 HD4850, 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 + 190MHz to 400MHz
Graphics core frequency + 500MHz to 2000MHz
SidePort frequency + DDR3-400 to DDR3-1333
CPU multiplier + Cores and CPU NB
CPU core voltage + +20mV to +600mV (cores and CPU NB)
Memory voltage + +25mV to +400mV
Chipset voltage + +40mV to +280mV (Northbridge)
+25mV to +400mV (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 P05 released on 05/05/2010.

We can't say that options are perfectly organized, but there's everything you may need, and no artificial overclocking limiters. Nevertheless, Foxconn A9DA-S isn't an overclockers dream. It should show actual values, but that feature is kind of erratic, so you have to remember what frequency is multiplied by what multiplier. It cannot save user profiles as well. And since the emergency recovery of default values doesn't work, you should overclock the motherboard gradually, or you'll have to use the Clear CMOS jumper and set the values manually again.

CPU Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition 2.8 GHz Phenom II X4 810 2.6 GHz
CPU frequency, MHz 3400 3380
CPU reference frequency (multiplier), MHz 200 (x17) 260 (x13)
Core/CPU NB voltage (according to BIOS), V 1.34/1.10 1.32/1.20
CPU NB frequency (multiplier), MHz 2200 (x11) 2340 (x9)
HT bus frequency (multiplier), MHz 2000 (x10) 2080 (x8)
Memory frequency, MHz DDR3-1333 DDR3-1040
Notes Increase core and CPU NB multipliers Increase reference frequency, reduce CPU NB and HT bus multipliers

The results are below the average for this chipset. Not to mention the performance these CPUs may achieve with overclocker motherboards. Perhaps, newer BIOS versions will improve things, but right now this isn't an overclocker product.

Performance and efficiency

We compared Foxconn A9DA-S with the previously tested ECS A890GXM-A based on the same chipset.

ATI Radeon HD 4850 Foxconn A9DA-S ECS A890GXM-A
Archiving with 7-Zip, min:sec 2:19 2:20
Archiving with WinRAR, min:sec 1:17 1:15
HDPlay (DXVA Off/On), CPU load 26%/3% 26%/3%
Far Cry 2 (Very High @ 1680x1050), fps 60 55
World in Conflict (Very High @ 1680x1050), fps 29 30

Int. graphics Foxconn A9DA-S ECS A890GXM-A
Archiving with 7-Zip, min:sec 2:19 2:19
Archiving with WinRAR, min:sec 1:16 1:17
HDPlay (DXVA Off/On), CPU load 29%/3% 29%/3%
Crysis (Low @ 1024x768), fps 36 36
World in Conflict (Low @ 1680x1050), fps 32 32
FarCry 2 (Low @ 1280x720), fps 35 34

Enclosure power consumption

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

AMD Phenom II X4 810 + ATI Radeon HD 4850 Foxconn A9DA-S ECS A890GXM-A
Text editing, Cool'n'Quiet On, W 61 71
Text editing, Cool'n'Quiet Off, W 78 95
Far Cry 2, W 155-191 148-184

AMD Phenom II X4 810 + int. graphics Foxconn A9DA-S ECS A890GXM-A
Text editing, Cool'n'Quiet On, W 10 13
Text editing, Cool'n'Quiet Off, W 22 28
Far Cry 2, W 59-83 64-84

Performance is almost the same, but Foxconn A9DA-S is a bit more efficient, especially in the idle mode.


Foxconn A9DA-S is a very good product for PC builders, because it 1) is up-to-date and 2) doesn't have any extras, so it should be affordable. But it will have a hard time competing with other retail solutions on the same chipset, many of which have better features. Under these conditions, price becomes the decisive factor.

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