Game on with Asus, DFI and Foxconn Mobos


The benchmark results do not reveal significant differences between the gaming motherboards from Asus, DFI and Foxconn, while the feature sets are similar, though not identical. Price-wise, all of them are in the sub-$300 sphere, which is more than most people typically spend on a processor. So, which one do we recommend? Compare Prices on X38 Motherboards

The race is close, as all three products come with features designed specifically with gamers in mind, and it's difficult to favor one feature over another. All of the boards, for example, come with power/reset/CMOS clear buttons, yet their placement and design differ. Asus is ready to accept a liquid cooling solution for Northbridge cooling, but dropped the PS/2 keyboard connector. DFI extends its heat pipe design with the addition of a screw-on heat sink to improve efficiency and offers eight internal SATA/300 ports, but it lacks a BIOS live update feature. Foxconn's motherboard only has a conventional heat pipe, but it offers eSATA and its settings are easily recoverable if your overclocking ambitions crash your system. Only DFI required that we reset the CMOS, and that only happened once.

A look at the overclocking results shows that Asus reached the highest FSB speed of 500 MHz without sophisticated cooling or long-winded fine tuning. DFI is close behind at 490 MHz and Foxconn maxes out at 450 MHz. These results mean that these motherboards allow you to overclock most processors to their maximum limit, but an extra margin never hurts, either. Foxconn offers the lowest overall price and has the lowest system power consumption.

However, Asus' offering is the one that manages to convince a bit more, as it comes with the small LCD Poster display to report BIOS post codes, two additional radial fans for liquid cooling and the broadest software package. The Asus board's design hosts16 PCI Express lanes that are spread evenly across two PCI Express slots for a decent dual-graphics Crossfire setup. If we were to spend $300 on a motherboard, we would opt for Asus' ware at this time.