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Foxconn Renaissance

X58 Roundup: Seven $200-300 Core i7 Boards
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Features and Layout

The Renaissance motherboard is packed with advanced features with which Foxconn hopes to build value for its customers. For example, it’s the only board in its price class to use an audio riser card for reduced noise, the only board in today’s comparison to provide Serial Attached SCSI, and one of only two in this price class to support up to four PCI Express graphics cards.

Electronic pathway switches cost money, but that didn’t prevent Foxconn from using them on two slots to provide graphics cards with either x16/x16 or x8/x8/x8/x8 transfer modes. For multi-graphics users, Foxconn really stands out.

On the other hand, slot spacing prevents the Renaissance from being taken seriously as a quad-CrossFire or 3-way SLI product, since high-performance cards normally require two slots of space. Instead, this might be an ideal low-end workstation board, or the perfect solution for a high-end multitasking system. It still supports 2-way SLI using double-slot cards of course, but a builder might feel somewhat silly for covering the up the extra graphics card slots.

With so much attention paid to the features list, we can’t quite figure out why Foxconn didn’t use an open-ended x4 slot in the middle. Using the left-over PCIe 2.0 pathways of the X58 northbridge, the slot would have made an ideal place to put a fifth graphics card in a wild multi-display configuration. It still supports hot performance cards, but the closed end also prevents PCIe x8 RAID controllers from fitting.

Windows Vista users who don’t have a problem with the slightly odd slot placement will find the remaining connectors almost perfectly placed. Our only caveat for them is to choose a case that can accept forward-facing SATA ports, since a few have drive cages in the way.

The reason we limited our last comment to a specific OS is that XP users will find no floppy header for loading AHCI or RAID drivers. This can still be accomplished by slipstreaming drivers onto the OS CD or by purchasing a USB floppy drive.

The Port 80 diagnostics display is surrounded by a CLR_CMOS, Power and Reset buttons, two SATA-compatible SAS ports, and the PCIe x1 SAS controller. As with any x1 device, total bandwidth is limited by the interface to 2.5 Gb/s.

Foxconn Renaissance (Initial Revision)

Northbridge

Intel X58 Express

Southbridge

Intel ICH10R

Voltage Regulator

Six Phases

BIOS

080015 (2/18/2009)

133.3 MHz Base Clock

133.3 (+0.0%)

Clock Generator

ICS 9LPRS139AKLF

Connectors and Interfaces

Onboard

4 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (Pathways Shared in Pairs)

 

1 x PCIe 2.0 x4

 

1 x PCI

 

1 x Foxconn Audio Riser (Proprietary)

 

2 x USB 2.0 (2 ports per connector).

 

1 x IEEE-1394 FireWire

 

1 x Ultra ATA (2 drives)

 

6 x Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s

 

2 x SAS 3.0Gb/s

 

1 x Fan 4-pin (CPU)

 

3 x Fan 3-pins (Chassis, Power)

 

1 x Power button

 

1 x Reset button

 

1 x Clear CMOS button

 

1 x Port-80 Diagnostics Display

IO panel

1 x PS2 (keyboard)

 

8 x USB 2.0

 

2 x Digital Audio Out (Optical, Coaxial)

 

1 x RJ45 Ethernet

 

1 x IEEE-1394 FireWire

 

2 x External SATA (eSATA) 3.0Gb/s

Mass Storage Controllers

Intel ICH10R

6 x SATA 3.0Gb/s (RAID 0, 1, 5, 10)

JMicron JMB363 PCIe

1 x Ultra ATA-133 (2-drives)

 

2 x External SATA (eSATA) 3.0 Gb/s

Marvell 88SE6320 PCIe

2 x SAS 3.0Gb/s (RAID 0, 1)

Network

Broadcom BCM5706 PCIe

Dual Gigabit LAN with Teaming

Audio

Foxconn Harp Riser Card
(Realtek ALC889 HD Audio Codec)

Eight-Channel (7.1 Surround) Output
Supports DTS Connect, Dolby Digital Live

IEEE-1394 FireWire

Texas Instruments TSB43AB22A

2 x FireWire 400 (1x Internal, 1x I/O Panel)


Limited by its PCIe x1 interface to a combined bandwidth of 2.5 Gb/s, the JMicron JMB363 provides the Renaissance with two eSATA ports and an internal Ultra ATA-133 connector.

A PCIe x1 chipset link doesn’t impose such limits on Broadcom’s BCM5706 controller, simply because it has only one Gigabit network port.

One of the more interesting Renaissance features is its Harp riser card.  Using the same hardware as the Sonar X-Fi of Foxconn’s pricier BloodRage motherboard, the Harp doesn’t include Creative’s audio software.  Its ALC889 codec does support other advanced features such as 8+2 channel multi-streaming. Two competing technologies, DTS Connect and Dolby Digital Live, allow on-the-fly compression of live multi-channel audio to a single digital output.

Check prices for Foxconn's Renaissance

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  • 1 Hide
    dragonsprayer , March 19, 2009 7:44 AM
    hey guys good info - its 4am i should not be posting with one eye closed to see the screen!
    Warpedsystems has tested a least half of these, my Evga failed out of the box, i would normally let that slide but with all the 680i and 780i issues and failures over the years - beware. So i can not speak of the evga - i will say the 780i FTW is kick butt mobo!

    Asus is asus and 90% or so of my stuff i ship, i switched to the new P6t from the deluxe and have had some issues - i am sitll working on the P6T tonight as i type. Opps- my jr tech set the blk to 180 and over clocked the QPI to max - i think he smoked the mobo ran amd cpu = its first in 5 years if so?

    Some did not make it? no gigabyte? gigabyte is really pushing on asus for number one - really! Ya, all the evga fans are what? I can say how many evga mobos break and fail: pci-e slot fail, pressure around the cpu mounting failure, lock ups - evga lock ups are just accepted as part of life! We all know that evga error code!

    I have to say the gigabyte and the higher end asus deluxe version sure seem a lot more reliable for 4ghz systems - again - we only took 1 evga and it locked up and i said "that is it the last time" - the FTW 780i gives me faith evga will come around on x58.

    what ever you do - do not oc the blk and QPI - poof!

    nice stuff THG!
  • 0 Hide
    Crashman , March 19, 2009 10:42 AM
    dragonsprayerhey guys good info - its 4am i should not be posting with one eye closed to see the screen!Warpedsystems has tested a least half of these, my Evga failed out of the box, i would normally let that slide but with all the 680i and 780i issues and failures over the years - beware. So i can not speak of the evga - i will say the 780i FTW is kick butt mobo!Asus is asus and 90% or so of my stuff i ship, i switched to the new P6t from the deluxe and have had some issues - i am sitll working on the P6T tonight as i type. Opps- my jr tech set the blk to 180 and over clocked the QPI to max - i think he smoked the mobo ran amd cpu = its first in 5 years if so?Some did not make it? no gigabyte? gigabyte is really pushing on asus for number one - really! Ya, all the evga fans are what? I can say how many evga mobos break and fail: pci-e slot fail, pressure around the cpu mounting failure, lock ups - evga lock ups are just accepted as part of life! We all know that evga error code!I have to say the gigabyte and the higher end asus deluxe version sure seem a lot more reliable for 4ghz systems - again - we only took 1 evga and it locked up and i said "that is it the last time" - the FTW 780i gives me faith evga will come around on x58.what ever you do - do not oc the blk and QPI - poof!nice stuff THG!


    One of the companies forgot to send a board and didn't respond in time to the reminder...see the introduction of the article. What makes you think that company wasn't Gigabyte?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 19, 2009 12:10 PM
    Which ASUS board was actually tested - the plain "P6T" or "P6T SE?" There are subtle differences, like JMB322 in P6T but not in P6T SE. Also, some difference in e.g. back panel IO and advertised overclocking capabilities.
    Judging from the feature list, the board was plain P6T, but all pictures seem to be of P6T SE.
  • 2 Hide
    Crashman , March 19, 2009 12:39 PM
    RipaWhich ASUS board was actually tested - the plain "P6T" or "P6T SE?" There are subtle differences, like JMB322 in P6T but not in P6T SE. Also, some difference in e.g. back panel IO and advertised overclocking capabilities.Judging from the feature list, the board was plain P6T, but all pictures seem to be of P6T SE.


    http://media.bestofmicro.com/7/3/192063/original/asus_p6t_kit.jpg
  • 0 Hide
    wicko , March 19, 2009 1:23 PM
    Sadly, none of the good mobos in this review are sub 300$ in Canada.. what a damn ripoff.
  • 0 Hide
    hardwarekid9756 , March 19, 2009 1:29 PM
    Could you expound on "Catastrophic Failure?" I'd be interested to know what all went wrong in the fray. I've been using an ASRock Mobo recently, and noticed it full-out sucked at Overclocking when compared to my MSI board, so I'd like to know what exactly caused the thing to bomb out.
  • -8 Hide
    salavat23 , March 19, 2009 2:33 PM
    No Gigabyte.

    Sorry, but you can't make a good review without including one of the top manufacturers of X58 motherboards.
  • 0 Hide
    msdx_bizkit , March 19, 2009 2:35 PM
    Gigabyte EX58-UD3R and MSI X58 Pro are the cheapest X58 motherboards out there at the moment. (~250$ CAD - NCIX) Could you guys give me your input on those two particuliar boards?

    I am not the extreme overclocking kinda guy. In fact, I still am running on default settings on my Core 2 Duo E6750. I don't plan to overclock over 3,2Ghz on my new 920, if I ever do overclock.

    Neither boards support SLI, but I'd be interrested in a dual Radeon 4870 1GB Crossfire config.

    Thanks in advance
  • 0 Hide
    daft , March 19, 2009 3:14 PM
    i was just wondering if the "more on this topic" could be omitted in future articles, i like to skip to the conclusion in the mornings and its annoying to hit more on this topic and get a little window than to go to the conclusion
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , March 19, 2009 3:32 PM
    where is my GIGABYTE 1366 EX58-UD4P? supports crossfire and it's cheap
  • 5 Hide
    Crashman , March 19, 2009 3:33 PM
    salavat23No Gigabyte. Sorry, but you can't make a good review without including one of the top manufacturers of X58 motherboards.


    Tell that to Gigabyte.
  • 6 Hide
    theloser , March 19, 2009 5:13 PM
    salavat23No Gigabyte. Sorry, but you can't make a good review without including one of the top manufacturers of X58 motherboards.


    No salavat23. Sorry but you can't make a good reader without reading the introduction.
  • 0 Hide
    hellwig , March 19, 2009 5:37 PM
    What happens when 4 PCIe x16 slots share two sets of x16 lanes? I mean, if I plug an x1 card into a secondary slot, is it going to reduce my graphics card in the primary slot down to x8 lanes? So in other words, if I have two GPUs in the two primary slots, and I want to plug in a x1 PCIe TV Tuner, its going to reduce one of the GPUs down to x8? Seems to me they should have made one of those PCI slots a x1 PCIe.
  • 0 Hide
    MotorMouth , March 19, 2009 6:47 PM
    msdx_bizkitGigabyte EX58-UD3R and MSI X58 Pro are the cheapest X58 motherboards out there at the moment. (~250$ CAD - NCIX) Could you guys give me your input on those two particuliar boards?I am not the extreme overclocking kinda guy. In fact, I still am running on default settings on my Core 2 Duo E6750. I don't plan to overclock over 3,2Ghz on my new 920, if I ever do overclock.Neither boards support SLI, but I'd be interrested in a dual Radeon 4870 1GB Crossfire config.Thanks in advance


    I have the P6T and love it. 3.8 GHz using DDR3 1333 RAM. All I need to do is change these settings:

    Ai Overclock Tuner: Manual
    CPU Ratio: Auto
    Intel Speed Step: Disable
    Bclk: 190
    DRAM: DDR3- 1523
    DRAM: Bus 1.66

    That's all that you need to do to get 3.8 GHz out of it. Works like a charm.

  • 0 Hide
    nevadarain72 , March 19, 2009 7:36 PM
    hardwarekid9756Could you expound on "Catastrophic Failure?" I'd be interested to know what all went wrong in the fray. I've been using an ASRock Mobo recently, and noticed it full-out sucked at Overclocking when compared to my MSI board, so I'd like to know what exactly caused the thing to bomb out.


    Agreed. While manufacturers not meeting the deadline is somewhat annoying, I'd really like to know which brand, and especially which motherboard model had the spectacular failure. I'm about to buy components for a Core i7 build, and knowing which one had issues would add some piece of mind to the decision.

    Tom's guys, can you help us readers out on on this?
  • 0 Hide
    harlequin6791 , March 19, 2009 8:38 PM
    I find it very interesting that review after review on just about every other site are GLEAMING about the Asrock X58. Everyone has been pleasantly surprised by the fact a budget board maker could make one of the top overclockers on their tests. This was a consistent theme it seemed.

    I'm curious what's the difference between their reviews and the ones here?
  • 0 Hide
    harlequin6791 , March 19, 2009 8:47 PM
    I'm hoping Toms just got a bad batch of boards because mine is waiting at home for it's new case to arrive.

    As for the reviews here you go..

    http://www.motherboards.org/reviews/motherboards/1861_16.html
    http://www.thinkcomputers.org/index.php?x=reviews&id=943&page=11
    http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/1761/13/asrock_x58_supercomputer_motherboard/index.html

    I guess my concern is who is right??
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , March 19, 2009 10:49 PM
    harlequin6791I find it very interesting that review after review on just about every other site are GLEAMING about the Asrock X58. Everyone has been pleasantly surprised by the fact a budget board maker could make one of the top overclockers on their tests. This was a consistent theme it seemed.I'm curious what's the difference between their reviews and the ones here?


    From my discussions with Thomas, it seemed that this board was solid until you started overclocking it, after which we had two different boards burn up. Thomas can clarify, though.
  • 0 Hide
    ART-T , March 19, 2009 11:12 PM
    Tom's; I know there are more MB manufacturer's out there. I don't expect you (or anyone) to do all of them. It may be that I am about to mention 1 of the 3 you said died. But what about the Intel board DX58SO.

    I would really love to know where the Intel board stacks up in this.
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