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Foxconn C51XEM2AA-8EKRS2H

Tom's Socket AM2 Motherboard Summer Slam
By

Foxconn offers a no-nonsense board with good features and an unnecessarily gargantuan name.

slide show: Foxconn C51XEM2A

Interfaces

Foxconn has included has two PCIe x16 slots for video accelerators, one PCIe x4 slot, one x1 PCIe slot and two standard PCI slots for expansion cards. For USB and Firewire connectivity we have the six integrated USB ports, and two headers to support for four more USB ports.

A single Firewire (IEEE1394) port is on the motherboard and a header for a second port is available on the board as well. The bundle includes three add-on brackets: One with four USB ports, one with a Firewire port and one with a com port.

Ethernet connections on the back panel are no surprise: the standard two gigabit network ports, of course using the nForce5 GbE controller. The nForce 590 MCP controls six primary ports for SATA/300 devices, and a single IDE connector. Foxconn's solution has no external eSATA connector.

Audio

The 7.1 audio is controlled by the Realtek ALC882 audio processor. There are five mini jacks on the panel as well as a SPDIF coax and a single optical out. Headers are available for 5x2 pin front audio, CD-in and SPDIF in and out.

Cooling

The Northbridge has a simple heat sink, but the Southbridge is actively cooled with a fan. The board has the least amount of fan headers in our roundup: only two fan headers in total, one for the CPU cooler and one extra. This is an area that the Foxconn could definitely improve on as one fan header seems pretty chincy.

Bundle

Fox LiveUpdate Application

The LiveUpdate software is supposed to keep the board's drivers and BIOS up to date. While it seems to work, the newest BIOS, which we downloaded from www.foxconnchannel.com, wasn't available with live updates when we tried it.

Nvidia NTune

Instead of developing proprietary tuning software, Foxconn was smart enough to use what was already there: NVIDIA's nForce overclocking and tuning utility, nTune.

Notes

This Foxconn board also has a power and reset button right on the PCB, similar to the Asus and Biostar boards. Once again, we applaud this simple but useful addition that makes a PC enthusiast's life just a little bit easier.

The PCIe locks are located under the graphics card slots, not beside them, and therefore are a bit harder to get to than other solutions. This isn't a huge issue, but with certain graphics cards it may be a bit more difficult to unmount them.

slide show: Foxconn C51XEM2A

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