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Intel P35 Motherboards - Five In The Pit (Page 3)

By: Cameron Johnson from Aug 9, 2007 @ 23:00 CDT
Manufacturer: none

Foxconn P35A

First off we have the Foxconn P35A motherboard. Normally we would have the board and package setups on different pages, but to save some space we have gone with a more compact setup this time and put everything on one page per board. Foxconn's package is pretty plain on the front, a few interesting graphics but nothing much.

The back of the box contains a lot of marketing info. However, one of the biggest things we like to see is missing here, that being a full colour photo of the board. So if you were to see this box on the shelf at your local computer retailer, you're not going to have a good idea on what the board looks like until it's out of the box.

Foxconn's manuals that are provided are split in two. There is a small pamphlet style manual used for quick install, this giving you the location on the motherboard's onboard headers as well as front panel access headers for the onboard LEDs and switches. The second and more hearty manual gives full details on the board's features.

The accessories that Foxconn provides are pretty sparse. You get two SATA data cables as well as two power converters for Molex-to-SATA HDD use. For the USB side of things, you get a 4-port rear PCI expansion slot cover and a single IDE cable. You also get a Rear I/O shield.

Now it's onto the board. Foxconn has come up with a full ATX motherboard using 6-layer design. The colour scheme is a dark blue base with yellow, blue and white slots along with green and blue headers.

The layout of the board is pretty clean for a mid-range board. The 24-pin ATX power, IDE and FDD ports are located on the right hand side of the board behind the four memory slots. The 4/8 pin power port is located on the top left of the board behind the PS/2 ports, just above the large heatsink which cools the mosfets.

Foxconn has given a good layout of the CPU area, if you want to use large aftermarket heatsinks or water cooling you're not going to have a problem here. The CPU is powered by a 4-phase voltage regulation system. The mosfets are cooled by a single large alloy heatsink on the voltage regulators.

The rear I/O panel contains quite a few ports. You get the legacy PS/2 ports, LPT and serial port. Six stereo audio ports and one RCA S/PDIF-out connector takes care of the audio thanks to the HD audio integrated on the Intel ICH9. External storage options are through the USB as well as a single e.SATA port on the back of the board. A high speed Gigabit Ethernet port is also resident here.

Lastly we get down to the expansion slots and additional controllers that are placed on the board. Being based on the P35 chipset you have the ability to run Crossfire graphics cards. The blue PCI-Express x16 slot runs at full speed on the board, and the black one runs at x4 speeds, this is a disadvantage of the P35 Crossfire setup unfortunately. A single PCI-Express x1 slot and three PCI slots are what gives you the expansion options on the board.

Since the ICH9 does not have any ATA channels the JMicron PCI Express x1 controller chip gives you the single IDE port on the board as well as controlling the e.SATA port on the back of the board. This port runs in AHCI mode and you are unable to change this.

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