IntroductionThis is the first of what we hope are many Foxconn motherboards to make their way into the TweakTown labs.While Foxconn are right up the top being one of the biggest computer manufactures in the world, a lot of people haven't heard about them as their segment has always been about OEM and ODM - take a look at just about any motherboard though and you'll likely see some type of Foxconn connector or adapter.This year saw Foxconn come out of the fox hole and show their face in the channel retail business and let people know that they are able to make more then just OEM motherboards and connectors.We have with us here today one of the latest motherboards from Foxconn with the very tongue twisting name of the Foxconn 6150K8MA-8EKRS. Not the easiest motherboard model to remember off the top of your head but does let us know straight away that it utilizes the nVidia C51 chipset utilizing the onboard 6150 graphics controller along with it being for the K8 or Athlon 64/FX/X2 line up. Foxconn might want to re-think their naming convention as it's not really a practical naming scheme - can you imagine going into a computer store and trying to memorize the model number? No, we didn't think so.The motherboard is only little and not packed to the brim with fancy cables and funky colors. The feeling we get with this board is that it is aimed for that ever growing home theater segment. Let's have a quick once over on the motherboard and find out how we tested it and what we thought about it.
Specifications of the Foxconn 6150K8MA-8EKRSProcessor AMD Athlon 64/Athlon 64 FX/Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core, Socket 939 (939-pin), 1600/2000MT/sChipset NVIDIA GeForce 6150 GPU + nForce 430 MCPMemory Dual channel, unbuffered, 2.5V DDR266/333/400, (4) 184-pin DIMM sockets, max 4GBGraphics Integrated NVIDIA high-performance graphics controller (fast core) plus PCIe x16 slotPureVideo CE-quality video processorSupports up to 128MB shared system memory - virtualized up to 256MBExpansion Slots 1 x PCI Express x16, 3 x PCIIDE/ATA Support 2 x ATA/133 + 4 x SATA/300 (w/ RAID)Supports RAID 0, 1, 0+1, and 5Audio Integrated, 7.1 channel AC97 (Realtek)LAN Integrated Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000) MAC + PHY (Marvell)IEEE-1394 2; 1 x 6-pin in rear I/O area + 1 front via internal header; 1394a (TI)USB Up to 8; 4 in rear I/O area + 2 internal 2-port headers; ver. 2.0Rear I/O Ports 1 x PS/2 keyboard1 x PS/2 mouse1 x RJ45 (LAN)4 x USB 2.01 x line-in/line-out/mic (audio)1 x parallel (SPP/ECP/EPP)1 x COM (16550-compatible UART)1 x VGA (integrated video)Additional line-outs for 7.1 channel audio1 x IEEE-1394TV-out via cable/bracketInternal Connectors/Headers 1 x floppy disk driveFront audio header2 x USB 2-port headers, ver. 2.0BIOS 4Mb flash EEPROM w/ LAN boot, PnP, ACPI, WfM, DMI 2.0,Special Features Wake-on-LAN (WOL), suspend-to-RAM (STR, S3), suspend-to-disk (STD, S4), SuperUtilities - SuperBoot, SuperBIOS-Protect, SuperRecovery, SuperSpeed, SuperStep, SuperLogo, and SuperUpdate; NVIDIA ActiveArmor, Firewall, MediaShield, and nTuneOverclocking Features Adjustable bus speedsAdjustable memory timingAdjustable voltages (may be Vcore only)Form FactormicroATX, 9.6'' x 9.6'' or smaller - see User's Manual
Package and Contents
The Package and ContentsUnder the recently purchased Winfast name that Foxconn now own, we have what they call their motherboard line up. This can be seen extremely easily on the box, as you can see below. Apart from this and the model number, there isn't a lot of information on the front of the box.
Turning the box over we can see listed some of the "Super Technology" that is used throughout the motherboard. Because the box is quite simple they can use the same board throughout a large motherboard line up, without having to design and manufacture new boxes for every motherboard, which means Foxconn help keep the price down.
Opening up the box we don't have a lot included - since the motherboard was quite an early sample the driver CD included is on your standard run of the mill blank CD. Apart from this we have an IDE cable, floppy cable, SATA cable, IO plate and molex to SATA power connector. Just the basics but enough to get you started.
The motherboard also features onboard video and this particular model offers TV Out. Below is the adapter that plugs into your motherboard and offers S-Video TV out functionality thanks to the power of the HTPC based nVidia chipset.
The motherboard package is quite light but with Foxconn's focus being on cheap yet good quality motherboards, we can't expect bucket loads of extras that we probably won't use anyway.
The MotherboardAs you can see, we have a very square board here which follows the micro ATX standard. Coming in at only 9.6" x 9.6", it is ideal for people who have smaller cases and would be perfect for a little home theater systems which doesn't take up too much space in your living room.
As you may have noticed from the extended specifications on the second page, the Foxconn motherboard we are looking at today is a 939 compatible board and supports Athlon 64/X2 and FX all out of the box.
Foxconn have opted for a passive heatsink to cool the motherboard which is great news for people wanting to make a silent machine. The passive heatsink was used in our overclocking tests with no additional cooling and performed exceptionally well under stress.
Moving to the lower part of the board we can see that the Foxconn 6150 motherboard utilizes a single PCI Express 16x slot for our graphics card along with three PCI legacy slots. While there are no smaller PCI E slots, it's not really a big deal as this slot still isn't really used at the moment.
Moving to the other corner of the board we can see our Phoenix BIOS chip, four SATA ports, reset jumper along with the ports for a USB header.
Moving to the higher end of the motherboard we have our power connector, floppy disc connector and two IDE connectors.
Below we can see our RAM slots which are color coded so you know which slots you need to insert your two memory modules into to utilize the dual channel technology.
Moving to the side of the board we can see just exactly what we have on the IO side of things. Our normal PS2, USB ports are here along with a firewire port, standard VGA port, gigabit network port and audio jacks for 6 channel sound.
The overall design of the board is quite nice and they have done well to pack so much onto such a small board. Without delaying any longer lets have a look at just how the board performs.
Benchmarks - Test System Setup and Sandra
Test System SetupProcessor(s): AMD Athlon X2 3800+ Video Card: XFX GeForce 6200 Turbo Cache (Supplied by Bronet)Memory: 2 X 1GB Crucial Ballistix DDR-500 (Supplied by Crucial)Hard Disk(s): WD Raptor 74GB 10,000 RPM SATA (Supplied by Western Digital)Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP1Drivers: nVidia ForceWare 81.95 and DX9cAs we mentioned in our introduction, we think it is safe to say this motherboard is more aimed at the home theater segment with features like onboard video, TV out and micro ATX form factor.We are going to have a look at the performance of the motherboard along with the performance of the onboard video. We will then strap in an XFX 6200 Turbo Cache and see how the two compare against each other.While the board might be aimed for a home theater sector there is nothing wrong with wanting to overclock the processor just a little bit and we must say we were extremely happy to find that we reached a very rock solid front side bus of 240MHz which is a 20% performance increase. This bought our Athlon X2 3800+ from 2GHz to 2.4GHz - not bad at all for a company which has only just entered the retail market.SiSoft SandraVersion and / or Patch Used: 2005Developer Homepage:http://www.sisoftware.co.ukProduct Homepage:http://sisoftware.jaggedonline.com/index.php?location=home&a=TTA&lang=enBuy It Here
SiSoft Sandra (System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is a synthetic Windows benchmark that features different tests used to evaluate different PC subsystems.
CPU performance between using the onboard graphics and making use of the PCI Express slot is nothing. When we look at memory performance though we can see that moving away from the onboard solution gives us a slightly increase in memory performance.
PCMark is a multipurpose benchmark, suited for benchmarking all kinds of PCs, from laptops to workstations, as well as across multiple Windows operating systems. This easy-to-use benchmark makes professional strength benchmarking software available even to novice users. PCMark consists of a series of tests that represent common tasks in home and office programs. PCMark also covers many additional areas outside the scope of other MadOnion.com benchmarks.
We see a similar picture here when compared to SiSoft Sandra, CPU performance between using and not using the onboard graphics is almost identical with the memory performance being slightly better when moving to the PCI Express solution.
By combining full DX8 and partial DX9 support with completely new tests and graphics over the previous version, 3DMark03 continues the legacy of being the industry standard 3D benchmark.Please Note: Due to recent events with the 3DMark03 series, we are adding results purely for those who are still in favor of 3DMark03. These results should not be taken too seriously and are only added for interest sakes.
We can see that for an extra $50 the performance of the XFX 6200TC is a fair bit greater when compared to the onboard solution.
3DMark05 is the latest version in the popular 3DMark "Gamers Benchmark" series. It includes a complete set of DX9 benchmarks which tests Shader Model 2.0 and higher.For more information on the 3DMark05 benchmark, we recommend you read our preview here.
We can see in our synthetic tests that the performance with the onboard graphics is on the lower end of the scale. Let's have a look at a few real-world games.
Doom 3 is the latest game to hit our test lab and is one of the most intensive games to dates. With our own custom time demo we are able to give a realistic rating on what kind of FPS you will be achieving.For more information on benchmarking Doom 3 we recommend you check out our extensive article regarding it here.
We adjusted the settings from our normal Ultra quality to Low as it is better suited for this kind of low end graphics.While the 6200TC does offer a playable average we can see that the onboard graphics is a little to slow to offer a decent frame rate. We would have to move down to 640 x 480 and we don't think this would give a huge increase but it might help us take it over a 30FPS average.
Quake 4 is one of the latest new games to be added to our benchmark suite. It is based off the popular Doom 3 engine and as a result uses many of the features seen in Doom. However, Quake 4 graphics are more intensive than Doom 3 and should put more strain on different parts of the system.
Quake 4 being just as intensive, it is doesn't offer a playable framerate at the lower resolution with or without the onboard solution. You really would need a higher end graphic card.
There is no denying that Far Cry is currently one of the most graphic intensive games on the market, utilizing PS2.0 technology (the latest versions support Shader Model 3.0 with DX9c) and offering an exceptional visual experience there is no denying that even some of the faster graphics cards struggle.
Far Cry performance is also very low for the onboard video when gaming at 800 x 600. We can see that this kind of onboard graphics isn't suited for a gamer but the good news is that playable games at a lower resolution are only $50 away. With the XFX 6200TC the board performs well.
Benchmarks - CPU Overclocking
CPU OverclockingEven with the power of the AMD Athlon X2 and Intel Extreme Edition processors, we still find ourselves hitting a CPU limitation in a lot of our benchmarks. That is, the graphics cards have more performance to give but the processor is letting the team down.By overclocking the processor we can see what kind of a performance increase we get. When something isn't CPU limited the performance increase isn't all that major but when we do have a CPU bottleneck, every MHz extra we can get can show us an excellent jump in performance.The Athlon X2 3800+ was increased from 2GHz to 2.4GHz with a slight increase in the front side bus utilizing the stock X2 heatsink fan.
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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.
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