Seven $260-$320 X79 Express Motherboards, Reviewed

Foxconn Quantumian-1

Spelled by Foxconn both with and without the hyphen, Quantumian-1 is a member of its recent re-focus on the enthusiast market. Therefore, we're naturally expecting advanced overclocking settings. Before we get to this platform's UEFI, though, let's have a look at its other enthusiast-oriented featues.

We find, for example, two Ethernet controllers, dual eSATA ports, and an additional pair of SATA 6Gb/s connectors. None of those features are remarkable in the enthusiast segment, but they do add a value kick to this $270 board.

Foxconn also presents four x16-length PCIe slots, which are spaced in such a way as to prevent most folks from considering a four-way SLI arrangement. The upper black x16 slot uses eight lanes from a Sandy Bridge-E-based CPU, while the lower black slot, when it's active, takes eight lanes from the lower red slot. Two-way CrossFire and SLI (admittedly more common than any four-way config) receive a cooling benefit from the extra space between the two red slots.

Foxconn places a row of voltage detection points along the Quantumian-1’s front edge specifically to please hardcore overclockers (along with base clock control buttons and a Port 80 diagnostics display). They all reside above the top graphics card to ease access in a completely configured system. Power and reset buttons are more remote, near the front of the board’s lower edge.

Except for the odd spacing of its eight-lane center slot, we have no other qualms about the Quantumian-1’s layout. The internal USB 3.0 header is located far above the top graphics card, the front-panel audio jack is moved around an inch forward of its traditional bottom-rear-corner location for easier cable reach, and the forward-facing SATA ports are perfectly matched to modern cases that have space between the motherboard tray and hard drive cage. The CD audio header is an odd find on modern boards, but it does nothing to detract from this platform's good overall design.

Eight SATA cables, two-way, and three-way SLI bridges complete a relatively sparse Quantiumian-1 installation kit.

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41 comments
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  • Crashman
    Update: C2 CPU is now here!
    4
  • jprahman
    So when will we see results with a C2?
    1
  • Crashman
    jprahmanSo when will we see results with a C2?
    It's going to take around a month to prepare another roundup...so I guess good news comes with bad news, sorry.
    3
  • amuffin
    :o foxconn boards are pretty good.
    1
  • Crashman
    amuffinfoxconn boards are pretty good.
    They've been making decent enthusiast boards on-and-off for a while.
    2
  • morne
    Quick coment on looks only (I know its specs that count not looks but oh well)
    ASRock X79 Extreme6/GB - very nice all black looks better than gigabytes atempt
    Asus P9X79 Pro - new baby blue they use on all the boards... not for me
    ECS X79R-AX - looks like my old pentium 2 board with the white slots
    Foxconn Quantumian-1 - i like i like gives a feeling of the ROG ASUS boards
    Gigabyte X79-UD3 - rip of from the ASRock X79 Extreme6/GB (lol) plus the southbridge heatsink looks old fasion and ugly.
    Intel DX79SI - now this board for me looks good actualy more than good looks the best :) must be the scull lol
    MSI X79A-GD65 8D - also very nice love the blue + Black.

    If you have one of the boards and i insulted it, wasnt the intention, just my view of the board>
    -1
  • stingstang
    My only question is.. Why do you guys need 6 freaking $1050 processors? Good golly gosh!
    3
  • ubercake
    Great descriptive article.

    One thing I'm not sure of is the acceptance and actual usage of eSATA. While practical at some level, is anyone actually using this MB feature or is this one of those things the MB producers can skip out on like parallel and serial ports? I'm not sure enthusiasts are all that into using their eSATA ports?

    Personally, I think this is one of those money saving opportunities MB producers should consider.
    0
  • geekapproved
    After the X58 anal pounding, you would be a moron to buy a X79. It's life is predicted to be even shorter than X58.
    0
  • morne
    Actualy i agree with you ubercake, i have never used my E-sata, and with usb 3.0 out doubt anyone still uses E-sata if they have before.
    1
  • jaquith
    CrashmanUpdate: C2 CPU is now here!

    Here -- where? You guy's may have gotten an early release, but how's that been working far? The official re-release is January 20th to retail. The reason I state this is because the track record has been less than stellar and in some cases often a 'miss-match' the the retail versions; thereby (WE) get ambiguous impressions and folks buying habits are incorrectly forged.

    From the results I've seen, read so far, a ±2FPS~±3FPS can all fall within the margins of error; run the tests 3-4 times.

    Then the reasons for 'choices' as 'best', IMO best must have 8xDIMM, 3-WAY, decent audio, good OC'ing, and adequate plus fast SATA ports. Asus P9X79 Pro and Intel Intel DX79SI, while I appreciate a budget 4-WAY Gigabyte GA-X79-UD3 no one wanting 4-WAY is going to choose it.

    - my 2 cents.
    0
  • jaquith
    Oppsy, I meant ASUS P9X79 Pro and ASRock X79 Extreme9.
    0
  • heroictofu
    Personally I'd go for the Intel for long term stability if their track record is anything to go buy.
    -2
  • josejones
    How much better are these new X79 mobos over say the 990's? Are the X79's really that much better and worth all the money? Is there a comparison between them around?

    When will AMD be coming out with mobos with PCIe 3 support?

    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/296572-30-where-mobos-promised
    0
  • g-unit1111
    heroictofuPersonally I'd go for the Intel for long term stability if their track record is anything to go buy.


    My D975XBX board is still holding strong after like 6+ years of owning it. It's currently sitting in my HTPC.

    I'd definitely go for the Intel for that reason alone, but I've been really impressed with Gigabyte and the way my Z68 system turned out.
    0
  • nforce4max
    I think this platform is just to expensive for the result in most tasks even for most users/gamers, and workers for the exception of those that actually need this for a server/workstation. A standard i7 2600k or a cheaper i5 2500k is just fine and good enough for most use even a overclocked i7 920 still has enough to get the job done.
    1
  • jaquith
    josejonesHow much better are these new X79 mobos over say the 990's? Are the X79's really that much better and worth all the money? Is there a comparison between them around?When will AMD be coming out with mobos with PCIe 3 support? http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/ [...] s-promised

    1. Not much better, I decided not to mothball my 980X and instead to only replace my GPU's with GTX 600 series when available and then with 3GB vRAM.
    2. Not much with clock-to-clock comparison; e.g. 4.5GHz to 4.5GHz. Sure the SB/SB-E is slightly faster but in most resolutions none of them really impede or bottleneck.
    3. (link) well it seems I was right PCIe 2.x versus PCIe 3.x -> http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-reviews/49646-amd-radeon-hd-7970-3gb-review-21.html the GPU's cannot saturate x8 PCIe 2.x so it will be quite a while if not years before PCIe 3.x gains ground to make it useful.
    1
  • a4mula
    Nice article, though I think it lacked a few things that would have made it spectacular. I would have loved to see pci-e 3.0 actually being compared to pci-e 2.0 using the 7970 at 5760x1080. I think it'd show that pci-e 2.0 does indeed suffer from bottlenecks at multi-monitor resolutions. I would have also loved to see the ECS 4-way SAS controller tested using 4x ssds. I understand that this functionality isn't guaranteed, but as someone that's considering a LSI RAID card it would have been great to see how this onboard solution fared.
    Nice review though and I understand how both of these things were outside the scope of what was being done.
    0
  • ubercake
    geekapprovedAfter the X58 anal pounding, you would be a moron to buy a X79. It's life is predicted to be even shorter than X58.

    I see what you're saying, but during BF3 my good trusty ole i7-960 and my two GTX580s are all hitting 100% at times (until BF4) running on ultra with AA and AA transparency cranked. I'm getting over 100fps at 1080p. I'd say that's a good equipment pairing considering I'm going on year three. If that's what an anal pounding is all about... Thank you sir may I have another!?
    -1
  • Crashman
    ubercakeGreat descriptive article. One thing I'm not sure of is the acceptance and actual usage of eSATA. While practical at some level, is anyone actually using this MB feature or is this one of those things the MB producers can skip out on like parallel and serial ports? I'm not sure enthusiasts are all that into using their eSATA ports?Personally, I think this is one of those money saving opportunities MB producers should consider.
    I agree, but a few people don't and they do occasionally scream.
    morneActualy i agree with you ubercake, i have never used my E-sata, and with usb 3.0 out doubt anyone still uses E-sata if they have before.
    That's why I agreed :)
    josejonesHow much better are these new X79 mobos over say the 990's? Are the X79's really that much better and worth all the money?
    Buy an AMD board for AMD processors, an Intel board for Intel processors, and then relax.
    1