Due to the early beta nature of the board, we didn't get a retail package or any indication of what would be included in the package. But this isn't a major concern as we are only doing a beta evaluation of the board and the G45 Intel chipset.
Foxconns Concerto board comes on a black/brown 6-layer PCB measuring the full 30x24cm ATX format. The layout that Foxconn has gone for is extremely impressive; the 24-pin ATX power connector along with the single IDE port controlled by the secondary SATA/PATA controller chip gets placed behind the two DDR2 and two DDR3 memory slots that the board is equipped with on the right hand top edge of the board. One thing that is interesting to see is the lack of a FDD connector. This board has none at all and it looks like we are finally seeing the end of those nasty and slow 3.5" floppies. The 4/8 pin power connector is at the top of the board, just above the four DIMM sockets, keeping all of the large cables on one side of the board. This is a very impressive layout to say the least.
The six SATA ports controlled by the ICH10R Southbridge are located on the lower right hand edge of the board, stacked two upon two and rotated on the vertical; this keeping the cables free from any of the onboard slots or devices. Just below this are three momentary switches; one for Power On, one for Reset and one to clear the CMOS. Along the bottom edge of the board we have three extra USB2.0 connectors, a single FireWire connector, HD Front audio and a VFD connector which Foxconn has told us will support its new Vacuum Fluorescent Display which is a new control box for the board. We haven't been supplied with this yet, however we hope to re-visit this board when it becomes a full release.
Moving along, we now come to the CPU area. Foxconn has gone for a very impressive cooling system for the voltage regulation system. What's more, they have still managed to keep the clutter around the CPU to a minimum. Our OCZ Vanquisher heatsink was a bit troublesome to install, but no scraped or damaged knuckles on this board. The CPU itself is fed voltage through a 6-phase solid state voltage regulation system. Foxconn hasn't introduced any power saving hardware or software yet, but hopefully they will follow suit with some form of green power designs.
Pressing on, we now come to the rear I/O ports on the board and this is where we get some interesting designs. Foxconn has added into this board for the onboard graphics system a DVI-I port along with a HDMI interface. Since the G45s IGP is capable of running these outputs, it's good to see them actually being used. Keeping with the digital storage and media design, two eSATA ports controlled by the same chip that runs the onboard IDE port are also placed on the rear I/O, below the single rear accessible FireWire port.
Last on the list is the expansion slots and the additional chipsets that make this board what it is. First off, you may have noticed that this board comes with two PCI Express x16 slots, but don't get your hopes up on a split Crossfire system. G45 doesn't come with the official twin x8 slot configuration, so Foxconn has gone with the older 16/4 configuration that allowed P35 and P965 chipsets to get Crossfire. The top most PCI-E x16 slot runs off the G45's 16 lanes; the second slot runs off four of the six lanes provided by the ICH10R Southbridge. Two PCIe x1 slots makes up the last of the PCI-E slots and two PCI legacy slots make up the final 2x2x2 configuration.
To add FireWire support to the board, Foxconn has chosen a VIA PCI based FireWire controller chip along with a JMicron PCI-E x1 SATA/PATA chip for the IDE and eSATA ports. This gives the board its final configuration.
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